Israeli censors lift Jenin film ban

Israel’s Supreme Court has overturned an official ban on the screening of Jenin, Jenin, a documentary depicting the West Bank massacre.

Israel was the only nation in the world to ban Jenin, Jenin
Israel was the only nation in the world to ban Jenin, Jenin

Israelis will be able to watch the grisly events that took place for about two weeks in April 2002 in Palestinian director and co-producer Muhammad Bakri’s film, which picked up international accolades.

Bakri, who also holds Israeli citizenship, won a court battle on Tuesday after the court argued that Film Ratings Board’s decision was an “exaggerated attack on freedom of expression”. 

The censorship board slapped a ban on the film last December, claiming it “distorted presentation of events in the guise of democratic truth which could mislead the public”.

Jenin, Jenin was the first film to be censored in 15 years.

The censorship board had acted on the grounds that the documentary presented a “biased version” of the events.

But the court, acting on a petition of Bakri, ruled that it did “not lie within the competence of the censorship committee to determine what is true and what is false.”

Human rights groups said at least 52 Palestinians were killed in the rampage, among them women, children and elderly.

Palestinians initially feared hundreds had been massacred after an Israeli bull-dozer demolished 300 homes, many with the occupants still inside.

The UN ordered a team of inspectors to go and investigate, but Ariel Sharon caused international outrage when he refused to let the team go in to Jenin. 

Chilling recounts

For 54 minutes, viewers are gripped by the harrowing stories retold by survivors of the massacre. Without the use of a narrator, the film pieces together the events of the massacre through the survivors’ stories. 

“Where is God,” an elderly man implores as he surveys the camp, razed to the ground.

Sharon refused to allow a UNinvestigations team enter Jenin

Sharon refused to allow a UN
investigations team enter Jenin

A Palestinian girl, no older than 12, simultaneously captivates and shocks audiences with her intensity and lack of emotion.

A young mute survivor carries viewers through the different sections of the film, gesturing wildly as his haunted eyes dart excitedly about, re-enacting the Israeli atrocities he witnessed.

The film quotes residents saying that Israeli soldiers had committed war crimes.

Tel Aviv’s main arts cinema, Cinemateque, announced shortly after the court’s decision that it would show the film on 8 December.

Speaking to Israeli army radio following the court ruling, Bakri said: “I hope the film will be broadcast on Israeli television so that the public can determine whether it is false or not.” 

The film is also dedicated to its producer, Iyad al-Samudi, who was killed by Israeli soldiers after the shooting of the documentary was completed. He was returning home during an Israeli invasion of the area.

Jenin, Jenin won best film award at the 2002 Carthage International Film Festival and was widely screened across the world.

Source : News Agencies

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