- Associated Press - Monday, February 25, 2013

BILIN, WEST BANK (AP) - This wasn’t your typical Oscar viewing party.

In the West Bank village whose struggle to regain land taken by Israel was portrayed in an Oscar-nominated documentary, activists huddled around a campfire before dawn Monday to watch the ceremony.

For added symbolism, they pinned the screen to a tent just meters (yards) away from Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, which cut off the village of Bilin from much of its land.

Some smoked water pipes, huddled in sleeping bags or warmed their hands over the fire as actors in gowns and tuxedos performed on a stage half-way around the world.

The documentary, “5 Broken Cameras,” did not win, and some said they were disappointed. But protest organizer Abdullah Abu Rahma says the Oscar nomination gave Bilin’s struggle a big push.

The village has been the scene of weekly protests against the barrier, which were documented in the film. Palestinians charge that the barrier, which cuts into the West Bank, is a land grab. Israel says it’s needed to keep Palestinian attackers out.

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