An Israeli court has banned the showing of a documentary film on the deadly 2002 clashes between armed Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
The Lod District Court issued its ruling on Monday, concluding a libel suit brought against prominent director Mohammed Bakri by Israeli soldier Nissim Magnaji, whose participation in Operation Israel’s Defensive Shield is portrayed in the film released in 2002 .
Magnaji filed a lawsuit after being accused in the movie “Jenin, Jenin” of stealing money from an elderly Palestinian, an allegation he denied.
Monday’s decision said Meghnagi had been “sent to defend his country and found himself accused of a crime he did not commit.”
He ordered Bakri to pay Magnaji 175,000 shekels ($ 55,000) in damages as well as 50,000 shekels in court costs.
The court also said it found that some of the depictions of the film – which describes the events that unfolded for about two weeks in April 2002 – are false.
At least 52 Palestinians, including women, children and the elderly, have been killed in the rampage in a refugee camp, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigation.
Some 23 Israeli soldiers were killed at the time.
Palestinians initially feared hundreds of people had been slaughtered after an Israeli bulldozer demolished 300 homes, many with the occupiers still inside.
HRW’s investigation accused Israel of serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings, disproportionate use of force, arbitrary arrests and denial of access to medical care.
The film was banned in Israel after some screenings when it was initially released in 2002, but the Supreme Court later overturned the ban.
1/2 Mohammed Bakri (director of the haunting documentary Jenin Jenin, which documents the aftermath of the brutal Israeli army massacre in Jenin refugee camp in 2002) has been relentlessly harassed and persecuted by the Israeli government for 17 years (since manufacture pic.twitter.com/91o7EFK7f1
– Jennine (@lilearthquakess) January 12, 2021
Israel has just banned this documentary on the brutal destruction of the Jenin refugee camp in 2002.
They would really hate it if you were watching it or streaming it.https://t.co/hatk4lPj7A
Bakri, a Palestinian of Israeli nationality, told AFP news agency that the decision was “unfair” and that the judge acted on instructions “from above.”
“I intend to appeal the verdict because it is unfair, it castrates my truth,” Bakri told the Walla News website.
“I won’t apologize for what I did … [the film] has been fiercely attacked by the Israeli media, ”he told the New Arab.
For 54 minutes, the film depicts the stories told by survivors of the massacre.
Without the use of a narrator, he recreates the events of the massacre through the stories of the survivors.
Bakri said he did not expect a better court ruling in light of the current “political reality” in Israel, referring to the rise of the “far right”.
His lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, called the decision a “political decision” aimed at “silencing any voice that differs from the Israeli narrative.”
Palestinian Culture Minister Atef Abu Seif denounced the court’s decision, saying in a statement that the decision was an attempt to combat the Palestinian narrative and cover up the “racist and fascist” practices of the “occupation”.
In addition to banning any screening of the film in Israel, the court issued an order to confiscate all 24 copies of the film.
There is no ban on the film on YouTube.
– A man in the sun ? (@AManInTheSun) January 12, 2021
Mohammad Bakri’s film Jenin Jenin was banned in Israel today by a court, so don’t watch it or try to find it online because, for example, it’s not allowed.
– Nadine Nashef (@nanninenashef) January 12, 2021