After Palestinian Pressure |

NBC Denies Plans to Shoot TV Series in East Jerusalem

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Palestinian pressure has caused American media and entertainment company NBCUniversal to announce that it will not shoot a new suspense series in the City of David National Park and Silwan.

The series, “Dig,” will be produced by the Israel-based Keshet Media Group and co-written by Gideon Raff of Homeland fame.

Some six weeks ago, Keshet and the municipality of Jerusalem announced that the series, which will deal with an FBI agent investigating the murder of a female archeologist, would be set in Jerusalem. The press release stated that “the project would be shot in the City of David and present the exciting history of the Old City.” The Israeli-American project is supported by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.

Following the announcement, PLO Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi called on NBC not to shoot the series in the City of David. “Such a production will legitimize the annexation of Jerusalem and the destruction of the authenticity and character of the occupied city,” Ashrawi told the Ma’an Palestinian news agency.

The City of David National Park is immensely popular with visitors, but its management by Elad, a group that encourages Jewish settlement in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, makes it highly controversial. Silwan residents claim that Elad is using the National Park archaeological excavations as a means of promoting Jewish settlement and eradicating the Arab and Islamic narratives from the history of the site.

Following the Palestinian protests, NBCUniversal’s executive vice president for communications Cory Shields wrote to the PLO General Delegation to the U.S. saying that “There was no plan made to film the series in the City of David National Park or in the village of Silwan, furthermore, location scouting and planning will not begin until February 2014, and any decisions regarding possible production sites will be made with respect for all concerned parties.”

Visitors walking past an archaelogical excavation at the City of David in Silwan, Jerusalem.Credit: Emil Salman