Oscar organisers said on Tuesday they have not yet decided how to designate a film about suicide bombers in the West Bank but denied they were being pressed by Israel to say the movie came from the Palestinian Authority rather than Palestine.
John Pavlik, a spokesman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said no decision has yet been made on how to designate the film "Paradise Now" even though the March 5 Oscars were only about three weeks away.
But he added that neither the Israeli government nor American Jewish groups had been in contact with Academy officials over how to label "Paradise Now," one of five movies nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar.
The issue of whether to designate the film as coming from Palestine or the Palestinian Authority has vexed Israeli officials and U.S. Jewish groups who maintain that since there is no Palestinian state, the designation of "Palestine" does not exist.
An Israeli diplomat on Sunday told Reuters in Jerusalem that Israel and U.S. Jewish groups were lobbying the Academy not to present "Paradise Now" as coming from "Palestine."
'The label would be inaccurate'
Pavlik said the Academy had received no communication either from the Israeli government, its Los Angeles consulate or from U.S. groups on how to designate the film.
"Some individuals have discussed the question with the president of the Academy," he said.
When Oscar nominations were announced on Jan 31, the film was described as being submitted by the Palestinian Authority. But the film is listed as coming from Palestine on the Academy's web site.
The Israeli diplomat said he expected the film to be described as coming from the "Palestinian Authority" during the awards ceremony.
"Both the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles and several concerned Jewish groups pointed out that no one, not even the Palestinians themselves, have declared the formal creation of 'Palestine' yet, and thus the label would be inaccurate," the diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Palestinians seeking independence in the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel captured in a 1967 war, won limited self-rule under interim accords that formed the Palestinian Authority.