Ha’aretz: Richard Gere calls settlements ‘absurd provocation,’ occupation ‘indefensible’

Ha’aretz: Richard Gere calls settlements ‘absurd provocation,’ occupation ‘indefensible’

Ha’aretz reports:

Richard Gere says his decision to travel to Jerusalem … for the Israeli premiere of his new film, ‘Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,’ wasn’t easy. …

Over the course of a full month, Gere says he debated whether “it would be a good thing” for him to make the trip. With Israel swerving even further to the right in the Trump era, and an increasing tendency by the progressive left to embrace the tactic of boycott to protest Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, many of Gere’s friends and colleagues in both the Israeli and U.S. human-rights communities told him they feared a movie star’s presence in Israel “would be co-opted by a dark government.” …

Like on his previous visits, Gere has been meeting with a variety of organizations working toward Palestinian-Israeli coexistence and reconciliation. In the past, he tended to focus on the positive and hold back when it came to criticizing the Israeli government’s policies. Not this time.

“Obviously this occupation is destroying everyone,” he says. “There’s no defense of this occupation. Settlements are such an absurd provocation and, certainly in the international sense, completely illegal – and they are certainly not part of the program of someone who wants a genuine peace process.” He pauses before adding, “Just to be clear about this: I denounce violence on all sides of this. And, of course, Israelis should feel secure. But Palestinians should not feel desperate.”

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