Writer and author who lives in Paris. Her key article on Al Dura “Myth, Fact and the al-Dura Affair” appeared in the September 2005 edition of Commentary.
Recently she gave an extensive interview on Al Durah to Jerry Gordon:
This extended AP footage ties together the scenes captured in other clips analyzed here. In this footage, we hear what sound like exchanges of fire. Indeed, this AP segment is entitled “Gaza: Gun Battle”. But do we have reason to believe this footage contains newsworthy images of conflict or confirmation that most of the scenes here were staged for the camera?
- It is quite rare to see someone caught on film at exact the moment they are hit by a bullet. In fact if one is presented with film capturing the very moment someone is shot that is an almost certain indication that the individual was being filmed for some other reason. If you see the same scene of the exact moment a person was shot filmed by a number of cameramen from different camera angles you have reason to wonder whether there is stage direction involved.
- At second 0:17 this clip captures a dramatic scene at the precise moment that someone is allegedly shot in the leg near a security jeep that has made several passes past the barrel. Notice that the ambulance is being summoned by a fellow in a white shirt on the left-hand side of the screen a split second before before the “wounded” man clutches his leg and falls to the ground. The ambulance actually arrives within seconds – yet another extraordinary “coincidence.”
- Note the lack of blood and the conspicuous stage direction of the fellow in the blue shirt and orange bandana. From this angle it appears possible that the “wounded” man was hit by a rubber bullet (although that would not necessitate ambulance evacuation) but this, too seems unlikely when we examine the scenario further. See the brief analysis of this same scene as it is captured by different cameramen shooting from different angles in the clip that follows this one.
- At minute 1:12 We see the Al Durahs behind the barrel by the wall along with others but they do not seem to be under fire from the direction of the Israeli position. The only fire we see is emanating from the Palestinians. In fact, while the firing is proceeding at minute 1:45 we again see Abu Rachma standing erect completely unsheltered with his tripod in the middle of the road in full view of the the Israeli position. This undermines the story of being caught in a rain of bullets that made it impossible to move from their position.
- The reaction of the crowd at various points indicates that there indeed is live fire but it is difficult to pinpoint its origin. We see a number of uniformed Palestinian policemen discharging weapons and Palestinian gunmen in civilian clothing also firing weapons. At minute 2:05 we see a Palestinian man in a blue shirt near a red truck firing a Kalashnikov rifle at an unidentified target – but not in the direction of the Israeli post. At no point in the video are we shown any fire emanating from the Israeli position, including ten seconds where we hear heavy gunfire while looking at the Israeli position and see no sign of smoke from their fire (2:38-48).
- At minute 2:15 the camera captures a scene with someone who appears to be genuinely injured but we can not tell by whose fire. We saw this individual before in the earlier clip entitled: What a person suffering from a real leg wound looks like. Meanwhile, the filming of staged scenes continues.
- This footage places the AP cameraman precisely behind the Al Durahs at the time they were allegedly “pinned down” behind the barrel. Why this cameraman got none of the subsequent footage is inexplicable had events occurred the way Talal abu Rahmah describes them.
This is the opening sequence. At Time Code Reading (TCR) 1:17:06:12 we see Jamal Al Durah and the boy later identified by the cameraman Talal Abu Rahma as Jamal’s son, Muhammed, behind the barrel looking toward the Israeli position, apparently in fear. At the very beginning of the segment a shot rings out; Jamal and the boy seem to scrunch up as much as possible behind the barrel. According to ballistics experts, such as Jean-Claude Schlinger, the bullet hitting the wall above the boy and slightly behind him emanates not from the Israeli position, but from the direction of Palestinian “Pita” position.
The camera’s gaze settles on the Israeli position for less than 3 seconds, zooming out rather than in, and then pans right to rest on a group of what appear to be Palestinian demonstrators, zooming in on them.
There is no visual evidence of any fire emanating from the Israeli position. We hear shooting in the background but there is no indication of its source or direction. We see no muzzle flash or smoke from the Israeli position.
This segment opens at Time Code Reading (TCR) 1:17:24 with a wide shot revealing an empty camera tripod to the left of the Al Durahs. They are apparently sheltering behind a barrel upon which is resting a large stone, near a wall.
The shot almost immediately narrows to tightly focus on the father, Jamal, who is looking at the camera and speaking while he appears to be shielding his son with his right arm. At first Jamal’s arm and T-shirt sleeve obscures the boy’s face, but then he raises his elbow at an angle to reveal it. Jamal spends about 1/3 of this 17 second segment looking to the camera. See also TCR 1:17:28, TCR 1:17:33 when Jamal yells toward the camera and TCR 1:17:39 at the very end of the segment). All the while, Jamal’s left hand grasps a cell phone near his legs as he crouches behind the barrel.
The second of Esther Schapira’s documentaries on this incident, Das Kind, Der Tod und Die Warheit (2009) at 23:27 – 24:02 deciphers and analyzes Jamal’s shrieks in the direction of the camera, with the help of an Arabic lip-reader- “It’s enough, you have killed my son; it’s over (finished)”.
At TCR 1:17:26 we suddenly hear shouts of “Mat al Walad!” (The boy is dead!) from unidentified voices that sound quite close to the camera. The cries are repeated at TCR 1:17:28 and again at TCR 1:17:36. However, there is no indication at any point in this segment that either the boy or Jamal has been wounded. Both appear fully conscious and to be moving throughout in animated fashion.
At TCR 1:17:36 Jamal removes his right hand from the boy in order to wag his finger in the direction of the Israeli position. Jamal’s fingers barely protrude above the stone sitting atop the barrel. Jamal then returns his arm to the boy.