The screening and distribution of the controversial film, Jenin, Jenin, was prohibited by the Lod District Court on Tuesday and its Israeli-Arab actor-director Mohammad Baqri ordered to pay NIS175,000 ($55,000) in damages to IDF Lt.-Col Nissim Meganji for defamation. The controversial film claimed to document the 2002 IDF operation in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin, for liquidating the cells that orchestrated the Second Intifada, an all-out Palestinian terrorist war that targeted Israeli civilians for two years. Two former attempts to ban the film were dismissed by the High Court.
In 2003, Israel’s Film Review Council banned the movie in Israel for slanted propaganda. In 2007, five former IDF soldiers sued Bakri for defaming their role in the operation, but the court ruled that they could not be identified as individuals. The Lod court found Lt.-Col Maganji to be clearly identified as taking part in the film and depicted as performing the wholly fictitious act of stealing the property of an old, helpless Palestinian. “This was the product of the defendant’s imagination,” Judge Halit Silash said. “Bakri failed to present any evidence that supported his false claims of plots and his slanderous allegations.
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi welcomed the Lod court’s ruling as an overdue message of support for the soldiers serving the country, past and present.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz; echoed this sentiment and held up IDF troops for their extreme efforts to avoid harming innocent civilians as part of their military ethic.