Court Rules Palestinian Filmmaker Must Pay Damages To Israeli Soldier Who Took Part in Massacre

By Miko Peled, Mintpress,
15 January 2021. In a particularly draconian decision, an Israeli court has
ruled that the documentary film “Jenin,
” will be banned from screening in Israel. Additionally, all
copies of the film must be collected and destroyed. The court went even further
and ordered producer, director, and actor Mohammad Bakri, the man behind the
film which documents the Israeli assault on the Jenin refugee camp, must pay
damages to an Israeli officer who participated in the massacre and appears in
the film for about five seconds. 

Israel’s military invasion of
the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin and the slaughter which followed took
place in March of 2002. The army entered the camp with tanks, special forces,
commando units, and several reservist brigades. The camp was bombarded from the
air and from the ground. Several hundred Palestinian fighters fought
heroically, armed with nothing but semiautomatic rifles and rudimentary
guerrilla warfare skills. Twenty-five Israeli soldiers lost their lives in the
camp and countless Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed.


Silencing the survivors’ point of view

Jenin, Jenin
includes testimony from people of all ages who lived through the Israeli
assault on the camp. There is no question that hearing the descriptions and
experiences of the survivors of that awful trauma is heart-wrenching. But Bakri
himself never makes any direct accusations in the film. He shows footage of
Israeli soldiers, tanks, and armored personnel carriers, and of Palestinians
being arrested, but at no point in the movie is an actual accusation made and
it is clear that the only perspectives offered in the film are from those who
live in the camp.

Protests erupted in Israel as soon as the movie was
shown. Bakri was called a Nazi and slandered by the press and the public for
daring to show what Palestinians had experienced at the hands of the Israeli
soldiers who entered the camp. Soldiers who had participated in what is known
as “The Battle of Jenin” demanded that Israeli authorities censor the movie and
not allow theaters to show it, and they eventually got their way.