From San Francisco State to Columbia University, "Palestinian film festivals" are becoming one of the major propaganda venues for those seeking to dismantle Israel.
The most widely seen of these films is "Jenin, Jenin," shot by an Israeli-Arab actor named Mohammed Bakri. "Jenin, Jenin" purports to be a documentary on the aftermath of the Jenin battle between the Israel Defense Forces and PLO terrorists that took place in `Jenin in 2002. The film has become standard fare at such screenings. There's one major problem: the film is a fraud.
A common misrepresentation used by the Palestinians is that Jenin is a "refugee camp." It is, in fact, a city. And its casbah has been a hiding and breeding ground for terrorists whose goal is to murder Israelis. Even the Palestine Authority Police was afraid to enter it.
Besides various armed individual terrorists, such as members of Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and Hamas, the area housed many of the bomb making factories where suicide bombers obtained their lethal cargos. In April, 2002 one suicide bomber from Jenin blew up a hotel in Netanya where Israelis were celebrating Passover, killing 29 Israelis -- including many Holocaust survivors -- and maiming many more. Up to that point, the West Bank and Jenin were not occupied and Israel had withdrawn all troops as a demonstration of goodwill. Following this incident, the IDF went into Jenin to close down the bomb factories.
But to an uninformed audience (the kind the Palestinians prefer), Jenin would appear to be a place where simple Arabs live, some even in tents. The film instructs viewers that these noble "natives" are besieged by Jews, who want to deprive them of their homeland. The Passover Massacre isn't mentioned at all, just that the Jews won't let the Arabs live in peace, and for some unknown reason attacked them. It should be noted the word "Jew" is used consistently throughout this film, rather than "Israeli" or the euphemism "Zionist." The reason is that the word "Jew" will elicit a more violent response from the rest of the Arab world where this film is screened -- thus earning Bakri a fortune.
The film opens with a shot of an elderly Arab man in a hospital with a bandaged hand and foot. He claims the Israeli soldiers held out his hand then shot it. When he protested, they shot him in the foot. The old man, however, is lying. He was treated by an IDF doctor in Jenin, and the old man's wounds were not bullet wounds, nor were they caused by activities in any way related to the battle. They weren't even inflicted by Israeli soldiers. It is, in short, a staged scene. The entire film consists of Palestinians claiming events and atrocities that did not occur.
For example, multiple claims are made of F-16's attacking the city and of killing thousands of people. But no F-16's or jet fighter aircraft attacked Jenin. In fact, the Israeli government, eager to avoid civilian casualties, insisted that the IDF use young infantry soldiers in house-to-house fighting instead -- to avoid the risk of bombing the city by air. This is a job one F-16 could have done. Instead, young men risked their lives to destroy the bomb factories. The result? Twenty-three Israeli boys died in close hand-to-hand combat.
Another "eyewitness" describes the carnage as worse than Vietnam. Hardly. Despite claims that there was "not a single person in the camp who did not suffer," aerial photographs show the combat zone where the bomb factories were destroyed as roughly the size of a football field -- a very small section of Jenin.
Another interview subject is a ten-year-old girl who tells the filmmakers she wants to "go home,” but the "Jews won't let her." She is referring to a once Palestinian area inside Israel's 1948 borders. Obviously, she was not alive in 1948 (nor, most likely, were her parents). In what sense was a village two generations removed her "home"?
But the tour de force performance is done by Dr. Abu Rali of the hospital in Jenin. Interviewed on camera, he claims the Israelis "attacked the hospital and completely destroyed its west wing with F-16's." As mentioned, no F-16's were used to attack Jenin. But of even more interest is the fact that the hospital in Jenin has no west wing, nor was any part of the hospital building attacked or destroyed during the battle; Bakri's film shows no such damage post-battle.
The good doctor further accuses the Israelis of cutting off water and electricity to the hospital when the IDF brought water in for the hospital and even set up a portable generator to assure the hospital had electricity. What he doesn't say on film is that he rejected the blood supplies the IDF brought in from Israel on the grounds that he refused to mix "Jewish blood" with "Arab blood." The Israelis to solve the impasse actually had to import blood from Jordan to supply the hospital.
Numerous "eyewitnesses" then tell tales of women being raped, of parents being stripped naked and summarily executed, and then having their children executed. They say that Israeli soldiers went into kitchens and urinated into cooking pots (a terrible insult in the Arab world); another claims the Israelis "did not leave one building standing." (A mere 99.9 percent of the city of Jenin remained.)
Of course, attacking President Bush and America is de rigueur. One "witness" states that President Bush, through Israel, has killed "hundreds of millions of Arabs." Other than such first person accounts, the only other actual battle footage in the film shows Israeli tanks guarding captured terrorists at the close of the battle. Another Palestinian then claims, minutes after the footage ends, that his people were all run over and crushed by the tanks, "killing thousands."
The Palestinian Authority's official death toll from the Jenin battle was 56, of whom 48 were armed combatants. In their own media, the Palestinians claim the battle was a great example of their bravery against the Jews. But in the Western world, they suffered a massacre.
This film makes its way around the Arab world inciting hatred against Jews and Israel. Rather than promoting peace, it merely serves to intensify the conflict. That is the real goal of "Jenin, Jenin": to slander Israel in the eyes of the international community, to isolate and weaken her, and ultimately to destroy the Jewish minority in the Middle East. To that end, the film is now being widely circulated on American campuses. And by inflaming its uneducated viewers, it may one day succeed in achieving its goal.