Israeli Knesset rejects request to screen 'Jenin, Jenin'
The official speaker of the Israeli Knesset Reuven Rivlin rejected a request by Ahmed Tibi's to screen the controversial movie "Jenin, Jenin" in the Knesset auditorium, fearing lawsuits and Knesset members' sensibilities, despite a recent court order removing the ban on the film after the director was granted an Israeli citizenship, the Israeli Haaretz daily reported.
The High Court of Justice unanimously upheld an appeal by actor-director Mohammed Bakri against a decision last year by the Israel Film Board to ban his documentary "Jenin, Jenin," a 50-minute film of Palestinian eyewitness accounts of the fighting in the West Bank refugee camp in April, 2002.
"I honor [Rivlin's] decision, but I don't accept it, and it's not the end of the story," said
Tibi. "For 50 years, the Israeli Zionist narrative was supported by conceptual
underpinnings." But Rivlin said he was concerned that families of soldiers who fought in Jenin might sue the Knesset for slander, and that he wanted to respect the sensitivities of Knesset members who opposed the movie.
The High Court decision sparked outrage on the political right. Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said the court "totally ignored the special situation of Israel fighting for its life and the need to give public backing and support to fighters who lost their lives in Jenin."
The film board, also known as the film censorship board, said it had decided to prohibit the film because it presents a "distorted" view of the Israeli incursion into Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield. According to the board, the movie could potentially mislead the public under the guise of "documentary truth."
The movie has brought rise to many controversial views with many feeling that it falsely demonstrates fictional events as truth. The movie was portrayed as propaganda that represents a biased view of the group with whom Israel finds itself at war.
Israeli media say the movie upholds Palestinian claims that Israeli soldiers carried out atrocities during the battle in Jenin. The Israeli public would find the movie extremely offensive and "may mistakenly think that Israeli soldiers are intentionally, systematically carrying out war crimes.
But charging that the film contains lies is not enough to ban it, the three-justice panel said in their ruling, adding that the film board is not empowered to decide what is and is not an untruth, that it does not have a "monopoly on truth" and that the board does not have the authority to make rulings on ideological grounds.
The Tel Aviv Cinemateque has now set December 8 for the first full screening of the controversial film. But relatives of some of the soldiers killed in the bitter fighting announced plans to appeal the court decision
The Israel's censorship board banned the movie produced by Bakry last year claiming that it fabricates truths and exaggerates the Israeli treatment of the occupied Palestinian people. Bakry had received a fax from the Israeli Ministry of Information forcing him not to debut his film in any cinema in Israel’s occupied territories (West Bank and Gaza).
Bakry presented his documentary film that portrays the actual events at the Jenin Massacres in Rome and in a number of European cities. The film is to be screened in Lebanon in the very near future. Bakry had expressed his “disapproval towards Israel saying the rights of people to speak out and express themselves are being repressed so that the truth may never come out. He added that the suffering of his people must be exposed to the outside world so the villain may be prosecuted and punished,” adding "I am going to court against the censor, and I hope that democracy will win this test." -Albawaba.com
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)