Friday, August 6, 2010

Reuters goes to Hollywood

On the occasion of the reopening of a cinema in Jenin, Reuters creates a few special effects for its audience.  Characterizing it as a former "outlaw city", correspondent Mohammed Assadi portrays Jenin along the lines of a locale one might visit in a spaghetti western:
The big screen is back in Jenin after a 23-year intermission, marking a fresh start for the West Bank city that was a bastion of armed militias at the peak of the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation...
Competing militia groups swaggered around Jenin in their bandoliers during the hardcore days of the second intifada (uprising) that began in 2000. The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat used to call it "Jeningrad".
As Assadi's Hollywood production is rated PG (Palestinian Gratuity), the correspondent edits out any depiction of the bloody atrocities perpetrated by Palestinians who were based in the city alternatively known as the "Martyr's Capital" -- and the 124 Israeli victims of those atrocities:
[Wikipedia] By Israel's count, at least 28 suicide bombers were dispatched from the Jenin camp from 2000–2003 during the Second Intifada.[11] One of the key planners for several of the attacks was Mahmoud Tawalbe, who worked in a record store while also heading the local PIJ cell.[3] Israeli army weekly Bamahane attributes at least 31 militant attacks, totaling 124 victims, to Jenin during the same period, more than any other city in the West Bank.[13]
Prior to the undertaking of the Israeli operation the IDF Spokesman attributed 23 suicide bombings and 6 attempted bombings to Palestinians from Jenin.[14] Major attacks and suicide bombings linked by Israel to Palestinian militant groups in Jenin included the Matza restaurant suicide bombing.[4] The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs attributed attacks to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Fatah.[4]
Assadi does however, direct an appeal to pity on behalf of the Palestinians by focusing his camera lens on the subject of the movie that evening:
Mothballed in the grim atmosphere of 1987, Jenin Cinema was finally reopened on Thursday evening with a screening of "Heart of Jenin", a wrenching documentary that spurred its renovation.

The film tells the story of Ismail Khatib, whose son was shot dead in 2005 by Israeli troops who mistook his toy gun for a real one. The traumatised father, in an unusual gesture of forgiveness, donated the boy's organs to Israeli patients.
A tragedy yes, but one that perhaps could have been avoided if the Palestinians had not declared war on Israel in 2000 and media organizations like Reuters had not fueled that war with sympathetic and lighthearted portrayals of cold-blooded killers.

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