April 2002. Jenin refugee camp, The West Bank. Israeli army units try to take over the camp from Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah militants. As the Israelis advance into the camp, they realize their arrival had been anticipated. In every corner in the camp, explosive devices and booby-traps were set. Palestinian snipers hiding in the houses hit the Israelis almost upon arrival.
Nine days after the beginning of what looked like a swift, almost ordinary operation, 23 Israeli soldiers are dead, more than 50 Palestinian militants and civilians are dead, with massive destruction of houses and civilian structures in the center of the camp.
What happened in Jenin? The Israelis claim it is proof of the humanitarian guidelines they followed. An air strike would have been an easy solution for Israel, but many more Palestinians would have died if airplanes had attacked the camp. The Palestinians see Jenin as an icon of heroism. In the history of Palestinian resistance, the battle of Jenin is somewhat of a 'Massada', heroically fighting until the last bullet, until all are dead.
Battle of Jenin brings for the first time testimonials of the people who fought the battle, from both sides: Israeli reserve soldiers and Palestinian militants describe the preparation to the battle and the horrible fighting that followed. The movie includes extraordinary footage filmed weeks before the beginning of the battle. It makes a very simple point: both sides knew the outcome, and willingly sent people to die in Jenin.
The UN declared that there was no massacre in Jenin, accepting the Israeli claims. But the real story is not about cruelty or barbarism. It is about stupidity and carelessness, and about the sheer arrogance of politicians from both sides, sending their people to die in a battle that bears no significance, no importance whatsoever.
Footage was taken in Jenin refuge camp in January 2002 and May 2002, shortly after the fighting ended.
Highlight Films is seeking co-production with other producers in order to complete the production of Battle of Jenin.
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