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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 22:21 GMT
Israel court lifts Jenin film ban
Israeli tanks in Jenin, April 2002
Part of the camp was reduced to rubble
A controversial documentary about the Israeli army's invasion of the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank can now be shown in Israel, a court has ruled.

Israel's film board had banned Jenin, Jenin on the grounds that it presented a distorted version of events, but the Supreme Court rejected this argument.

"The fact that the film includes lies is not enough to justify a ban," said Justice Dalia Dorner in her verdict.

Fighting in the camp in April 2002 left many Palestinians and Israelis dead.

With the fighting grabbing headlines across the world, Arab Israeli actor Mohammed Bakri produced his film which was promptly banned by Israel as propaganda.

This court decision says that the honour, good names and memories of Israeli soldiers, people who wanted to protect us, is worthless
Haggai Tal
brother of soldier killed in Jenin
Responding to an appeal by Mr Bakri, the Supreme Court has now ruled that the film board's decision "infringes on freedom of expression above and beyond what is necessary".

Mr Bakri welcomed the verdict, saying he hoped his film would show Israelis the Palestinian point of view and "help end occupation and bring about peace".

The eight-day military operation in Jenin followed a suicide bomb attack on the Israeli town of Netanya which killed 28 Israelis celebrating Passover.

Soldiers fought pitched battles with militants and parts of the sprawling camp were reduced to rubble. The final known death toll was 52 Palestinian militants and civilians and 23 Israeli soldiers.

'Dishonoured'

Mohammed Bakri
Bakri believes his film may help the peace process
The film was shown three times in Israel before the ban kicked in and critics say it is heavily partisan, featuring only interviews with local Palestinians who accuse Israeli soldiers of killing innocent civilians.

Relatives of the soldiers killed said on Tuesday that their loved ones' reputation would be blackened by the showing of the film.

"This court decision says that the honour, good names and memories of Israeli soldiers, people who wanted to protect us, is worthless," said Haggai Tal, whose brother Roi was killed.

"The film is a lie."

In February, five Israeli veterans of Jenin began an action to sue Mr Bakri, saying he had libellously portrayed them and their comrades as war criminals in the film.


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