Bakri: 'Dark Forces Want to Break Me'

Tomer Zarchin
Jack Khoury
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Tomer Zarchin
Jack Khoury

Actor and director Mohammed Bakri yesterday called Attorney General Menachem Mazuz's deliberations on whether to indict him a matter of "the dogs barking and the convoy moving on."

Haaretz reported yesterday that bereaved families and soldiers who fought in Operation Defensive Shield in April 2002 want Mazuz to indict Bakri for libel over his film "Jenin, Jenin," which accuses the Israel Defense Forces troops of committing atrocities during the operation.

"Dark forces that want to break me...," Bakri said yesterday. "Such things do not pressure me."

The Hadash Knesset faction yesterday said the attorney general's efforts amounted to continued persecution of Bakri, for covering what it labeled as "war crimes" in the Jenin refugee camp in 2002. Hadash said its support for Bakri stems from a belief in freedom of expression and democracy.

In contrast, Eva Meislish, the mother of Shmuel-Dan Meislish, who was killed in the battle in the Jenin refugee camp, said yesterday that she believed Bakri should be indicted. The families of the soldiers who died are "the salt of the earth," she said. "Suddenly somebody comes along, gets money and starts sullying the names of our fighters who were killed, the names of those who remained alive and their families. It is important to me that Bakri pay for his lies."

The doctor of the brigade that fought in Jenin, David Tzangan, also supported Bakri's indictment, noting that the brigade had fought with "the highest imaginable morality to save Israeli citizens from suicide bombers in the streets."

The court determined that Bakri lied, Tzangan said, adding, "We did not murder and we did not rape and we did not steal and we did not destroy a hospital or shoot the elderly in the legs."