11 January 2021: The District Court of Lod in Israel has banned the documentary film Jenin, Jenin by Palestinian filmmaker Mohammad Bakri. The court ordered seizing all copies and payment of damages to an Israeli soldier allegedly defamed in the documentary, reported Skeyes Media.
The documentary is about confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in April 2002 in the West Bank city of Jenin.
According to France24, in November 2016, Israeli soldier Lt. Col. (res.) Nissim Magnagi filed a lawsuit against Bakri and demanded 2.6 million Israeli new sheqalim (around 630,000 euros) in damages and cancellation of the film’s airing.
The court has ordered Bakri to pay 175,000 Israeli new sheqalim (around 44,000 euros) to Magnagi and 50,000 Israeli new sheqalim (around 13,000 euros) in legal expenses.
According to the Times of Israel, in the ruling, Judge Halit Silash stated that Bakri “[…] consciously chose not to conduct an examination, even minimal, even preliminary, of the allegations and facts expressed in the same interviews.”
The filmmaker said that he would appeal the sentence.
During the clashes, Jenin was declared a closed military area and the access to the outside world was cut off. Although human rights organisations documented Israel’s confrontations with Palestinian civilians during the operation, discourses that challenge the official narrative of the Israeli authorities are systemically restricted. The documentary, Jenin, Jenin‘s ban, is an example of silencing these alternative narratives which go against the status quo propagated by Israel.