The European Film Academy (EFA) has invited Israeli and Palestinian film-makers to submit their films for the European Film Awards.

The invitation is part of moves by EFA to open up to Mediterranean countries "which have natural and historic cinema relations with Europe," said EFA chairman Humbert Balsan.

Israeli director Amos Gitai said: "In our region of continuous tragic conflict, every gesture of creating a stage of co-operation and dialogue will serve as a model." Palestinian film-maker George Ibrahim called the decision "a great push and support for Palestinian artists."