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Israel bans ‘Jenin, Jenin’ film, orders payment of damages to Israel soldier

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The Lod District Court in Israel on Monday banned the screening of a documentary about Israel’s brutal 2002 campaign in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

‘Jenin, Jenin’ can no longer be aired in Israel after an Israeli soldier who was depicted in the footage stealing from an elderly Palestinian filed a lawsuit against the film.

The judge said Israeli soldier Nissim Magnaji had been “sent to defend his country and found himself accused of a crime he did not commit”. The court ordered director Mohammed Bakri to pay damages to Magnaji of 175,000 shekels ($55,000) as well as 50,000 shekels ($15,936) of court expenses.

In her ruling, judge Halit Silash went on to say some of the representation in the video was untrue.

Bakri, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, told the AFP news agency the decision was “unfair” and that the judge had acted on instructions “from above”.

“I intend to appeal the verdict because it is unfair, it is neutering my truth,” Bakri told the Walla News website.

READ: Israel seeks ban on film documenting its crimes in Jenin

Objecting to the court’s ruling, the chairman of the Balad faction in the Joint List party, Member of the Israeli Knesset Mtanes Shehadeh, was quoted by the Times of Israel saying: “It’s not the film that should be shelved, but the occupation and its crimes.”

The documentary shows footage and eyewitness accounts of the massacre committed by the Israeli occupation forces in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin in 2002. At least 52 Palestinians, including women, children, and the elderly, were killed in the rampage that unfolded over a two-week period in a refugee camp, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigation.

Some 23 Israeli soldiers were killed at the time.

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Israel

Icon Marwan Barghouti to run for Palestinian presidency

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The prominent Palestinian Fatah group’s leader Marwan al-Barghouti, who is serving a life-term sentence in Israeli jails, will run for the Palestinian presidency in July, sources in the Fatah group told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, Anadolu reports.

Member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council Hatem Abdel-Qader said al-Barghouti is “intending to run for the Palestinian Authority presidential elections”.

Abdel-Qader told Anadolu Agency that the nomination of al-Barghouti is normal and a “healthy phenomenon” for the electoral race.

“We are with the legitimacy, but when going to the ballots, it is the right of the Palestinian people to give their opinion and elect whom they found suitable.”

Al-Barghouthi was detained in 2002 by the Israeli forces and is currently serving a life-term sentence over charges of “directing armed groups that killed and injured Israelis during the Second Palestinian Uprising (intifada)”.

Abdel-Qader said he “supports Al-Barghouti to run on behalf of the Fatah group if he is approved by the group in a democratic way.”

However, he added that it “would be difficult to get a person in such conditions approved by the Fatah group,” referring to him as languishing behind bars for decades.

READ: As Abbas seeks a safe exit, who’s waiting in the wings?

Two other sources who are close to al-Barghouti confirmed to Anadolu Agency on condition that he intends to run for the presidential elections.

They, however, said a final decision is yet to be taken in the coming weeks.

The Fatah group has yet to comment on al-Barghouti’s intention to run for the presidency as it already announced that President Mahmoud Abbas is the group’s candidate for the elections.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian NGO, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, released results of an opinion poll on Wednesday that the Palestinians prefer al-Barghouti over Abbas to become the president.

Palestinians are set to hold parliamentary, presidential, and National Council elections under a decree signed earlier this month by President Abbas.

The parliamentary elections will be held on May 22, presidential elections on July 31, and the National Council elections on Aug. 31.

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Israel

Israel demolishes mosque in occupied West Bank

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Israeli forces have demolished a mosque under construction in Umm Qusah to the south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, Anadolu has reported. The mosque was torn down along with several other structures earlier today.

According to Muhammad Yatimin, the director of a local school near the mosque, the Israeli authorities cited the lack of necessary building licences as the reason for the demolition. “A freshwater well used by a school was also destroyed,” he pointed out.

Palestinians are rarely granted building permits by the Israeli occupation authorities, especially in occupied East Jerusalem. The Israelis charge Palestinians an extortionate amount, which is unaffordable for most people. The system creates a loophole for Israel to annex more land and leave Palestinians in limbo by preventing them from developing their infrastructure.

The Israelis also bulldozed a livestock structure in Khamis Al-Jahalin along with two similar facilities in Bir Al-Maskoub in occupied East Jerusalem. Under international law, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are occupied territories and all Jewish settlements are illegal.

All of the structures demolished today were located in an area of the occupied West Bank classified as Area C, which is subject to full Israeli control under the 1995 Oslo II Accord, signed in Taba, Egypt.

Israel’s ongoing demolition of Palestinian homes and illegal settlement construction, which have both accelerated following the UAE’s decision to normalise relations with the occupying state, have become a major source of concern.

READ: Caught between covid and settlers: How a West Bank school is struggling to survive

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BDS

Methodist Church to discuss ways to increase divestment of Israel

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Methodist Church leaders are today discussing a move intended to increase economic action against Israel, the Jewish Chronicle has reported. The church is said to have growing concerns over Jewish only illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and is seeking new ways to support its longstanding policy to divest from companies that profit from the occupation.

A report discussed by the Methodist Council says the humanitarian situation of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank has “worsened considerably” and describes conditions in Gaza as “inhumane”, the JC said.

A report by the church said that “the expanding settlement population… increases the likelihood that companies operating across Israel will have exposure to activity in Israeli settlements.” Members are anxious the church may be holding stakes in companies that benefit from the occupation.

In 2019 the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) – to which the South African President Nelson Mandela belonged – joined the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Announcing its support for the boycott of Israel the two million strong church noted “Israel’s ongoing ill-treatment and oppression of Palestinian people, and the historic prophetic role played by the church and international community in fighting Apartheid, and any form of discrimination and injustice.”

MCSA is part of a growing number of faith groups to back the BDS movement. US faith groups published a statement in support of the right to boycott, asserting that the BDS campaign is protected by the First Amendment.

READ: ‘Israel’ is a short story

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