IDF troops sue filmmaker over war-crimes charge

Five Israeli Defense Force soldiers are suing a Palestinian filmmaker for allegedly falsifying information in a documentary claiming Israeli forces committed genocide in a refugee camp, while a French producer is screening a film using video footage to dispute the Palestinian claims.

The five IDF soldiers were seen in still footage in “Jenin, Jenin,” a documentary by Mohammed Bakri that alleges Israel committed genocide in the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002, killing a “large number” of civilians, mutilating Palestinian bodies, randomly executing and bombing women, children and the mentally and physically impaired, and leveling the entire refugee camp, including a wing of the local hospital.

The documentary doesn’t show footage of the alleged atrocities, but in some scenes, faces of the soldiers now suing Bakri were superimposed over “eyewitness testimony,” and it was indicated they had committed “war crimes.”

Similar claims of a massacre were made in 2002 by the Palestinian leadership, which spoke of upwards of 500 civilians killed and thousands wounded, but it was later determined 56 Palestinians, mostly gunmen, were killed, and 23 Israeli soldiers died in the battle.

Media accounts, documentary evidence and investigations by several international humanitarian organizations quickly proved there was no massacre.

But a film by Pierre Rehov, “The Road To Jenin,” seems to disprove many of Bakri’s claims, and has been cited in the lawsuit against the Palestinian filmmaker.

One charge by Bakri is that Israel fired 11 missiles at a Jenin hospital, leveling the facility while patients were inside, and later wouldn’t allow emergency personnel to access the area. Hospital manager Dr. Mustafa Abo Gali tells Bakri’s audience, “The whole of the west wing was destroyed. Fighter planes launched their missiles every three minutes.”

But in “The Road to Jenin,” Rehov also interviews Gali, who shows the filmmaker the extent of the damage – a small hole on the outside of a building, with the entire west wing intact. Rehov also provides aerial images of the hospital on the last day of the Jenin incursion showing all sections of the hospital standing normally.

Rehov is screening his film, “The Road to Jenin,” Jan. 9, 10 and 11 at the Pierre Rehov Film Festival in New York.

Read the full article here.

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