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2013 May: PNN: Israel Claims Muhammad Al-Dura Was Not Killed by IOF Fire

Israel Claims Muhammad Al-Dura Was Not Killed by IOF Fire

Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post,published Sunday statements of the Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, saying that the 12-year-old Gazan boy who was murdered in a cold blood by the Israeli army forces in 2000, was not killed and that he’s still alive.

Ya’alon claimed that the video featuring the Israeli army firing towards Mohammed al-Dura during the second intifada as he crouched behind his father, Jamal, crying, was within the media war against Israel.

In 2000, the Israeli army confessed that its forces had shot Dura, who had been caught in the IOF fire at the Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip on September 30, 2000. The IOF admitted that it had shot and killed the boy.

The newspaper added that Ya’alon formed a secret committee several years ago, to investigate whether Mohammed Dura, who became the most potent symbol of the Palestinian struggle and whose name can still be heard around the world as a symbol of the Palestinian struggle, was really killed by the IOF fire or the video was fabricated and Israel hadn’t committed the crime.

The committee claimed in its conclusions that Dura not only was not killed, he was never hurt, and that he still living a normal life in Gaza. The committee also claimed that the video, which was filmed by France 2 TV and aired around the world, had been staged.

According to the same newspaper, the Israeli writer Nachman Shai met few days ago, with Ya’alon to give him a copy of his new book, Media War Reaching for Hearts and Minds, which talking about the affair of Mohammed al-Dura and how it affected Israel’s reputation in the world.

Ya’alon told Shai that there are possibilities that Dura’s incident was fabricated according to the various conspiracy theories that have been suggested over Dura’s murder, as he claimed.

2013 May: Times Of Israel: Father of al-Dura disputes Israeli claim, says open to probe of death

Israeli claim, says open to probe of death

Jamal al-Dura rejects report that his son was not shot by Israeli forces and not killed in 2000 incident

The father of a boy whose apparent shooting death in the early days of the intifada became a rallying point for Palestinian activists disputed a report by Israel that his son was never killed and said he would agree to an international investigation on the matter.

On Sunday, Jerusalem released a report saying that Muhammad al-Dura was not harmed by Israeli forces and did not die in an exchange of fire filmed by a French cameraman in 2000.

But al-Dura’s father, Jamal al-Dura, who is seen in the film crouching with his son next to a wall in Gaza, and trying helplessly to save him as Muhammad appears to die at his feet, told the Ynet news website that he and his son were both hit by Israeli fire in the incident.

“If Muhammad was not injured by bullets, then who exactly shot and injured me? Even when the army shot and wounded us, Israel notified that it had carried it out,” he said.

The picture of Muhammad al-Dura, apparently dead across his father’s knees, was shown for days on Arab and international TV stations and was cited as inspiration by both Osama bin Laden and the killers of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

The 55 seconds of edited footage, filmed two days after Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, contributed to the October 2000 protest in which 13 Arab citizens of Israel were killed and quickly became the defining image of the second Palestinian intifada uprising and terror war against Israel.

Israel initially did not dispute that IDF troops had inadvertently killed the child. “It could very much be — this is an estimation — that a soldier in our position, who has a very narrow field of vision, saw somebody hiding behind a cement block in the direction from which he was being fired at, and he shot in that direction,” the IDF’s southern commander Maj. Gen. Yom-Tov Samia said at the time.

Only months later did the army complete an investigation that it said showed with certainty that, if al-Dura was killed, it could not have been from shots fired from the IDF position.

Jamal al-Dura said he would be willing to allow his son’s body to be examined by an international probe as long as Jerusalem agreed to go along with the investigation as well, Israel Radio reported.

France 2 also said it was prepared to assist Israel should it seek to exhume al-Dura’s body.

The Israeli report came out three days before an anticipated May 22 ruling in a Paris Court of Appeals, where France 2′s bureau chief Charles Enderlin sued Philippe Karsenty, a French Jew, for defamation. Karsenty wrote publicly that Enderlin should be fired for his broadcast of the confrontation at the Netzarim junction, which Karsenty called “a media hoax.”

2013 May: Israeli panel: Palestinian boy ‘killed’ by IDF at start of Intifada did not actually die

National Israeli panel of inquiry says iconic footage from start of Second Intifada reveals that Palestinian child apparently caught by IDF bullets did not actually die in the incident.

By Barak Ravid
May.19, 2013 | 6:40 PM

Thirteen years after an exchange of fire in Gaza appeared to have resulted in the death of a Palestinian boy at the start of the second intifada, an Israeli investigative panel has found “there are many indications” that Mohammed al-Dura and his father, Jamal, “were never hit by gunfire” – neither Israeli nor Palestinian – after all.

The national panel of inquiry further claims that contrary to the famed report carried by the France 2 television network on the day of the incident, September 30, 2000, 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura appears to be alive at the end of the complete footage captured of the event.

The investigative panel was commissioned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon in September 2012, and was headed by Yossi Kuperwasser, former director general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. It included representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit and the Israel Police, as well as outside experts.

The probe focused primarily on the France 2 report about al-Dura’s death and the events that followed. The report, which was presented by journalist Charles Enderlin, alleged that the boy was killed by bullets fired by Israel Defense Forces troops.

The committee found that the evidence in the television station’s possession did not support the claim that al-Dura died as a result of IDF gunfire. It added that the report falsely created the impression that the channel had solid proof that Israeli soldiers were responsible for the boy’s death.

“Contrary to the claim that the boy was dead, the committee’s review of the raw footage indicates that at the end of the video – the part that was not broadcast – the boy appears to be alive,” the inquiry stated. “The probe has found that there is no evidence to support the claims that the father, Jamal, or the boy Mohammed, were shot. Furthermore, the video does not show Jamal being seriously wounded.”

“On the other hand, many signs indicate that the two were never hit by the bullets,” the panel added in its conclusion.

The inquiry casts doubt on the possibility that the bullet holes left on a wall under which the boy and his father sought shelter were caused by gunfire that came from a nearby IDF post, as was suggested in the France 2 report.

The committee stressed that “many question marks surround almost every aspect of the report,” further hinting that a boy named Mohammed al-Dura may have never existed.

The committee, which submitted its report for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s review on Sunday, charges France 2 and the reporter, Enderlin, with “harming Israel’s international standing and igniting the flames of terror and hatred.”

“Since it aired, the France 2 report about Israel’s actions has served as inspiration and justification for terror, anti-Semitism and the Israel’s de-legitimization,” the panel said.

An entire chapter within the inquiry report criticizes the media and offers conclusions that should be employed by journalists, even though no reporters were part of the committee. The panel asserted that the incident and its coverage highlight the need for “media outlets to abide by the strictest professional and ethical standards while reporting on asymmetrical conflicts.”

The photos of the Duras, father and son, taking cover behind a barrel during an exchange of gunfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants, near the Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip, remains one of the most enduring images of the second intifada.

Israel initially apologized for the boy’s death but issued a retraction when subsequent investigations indicated the boy was most likely killed by Palestinian fire.

In a February 2005 hearing in Paris, French Web site owner Phillipe Karsenty claimed France 2 had staged the incident, claiming the footage showed the boy still moving his arm, even though the cameraman had said he was dead. He provided a report from a French ballistics expert indicating the shots fired past the al-Duras came from the Palestinian position, and he pointed out that several scenes before the al-Dura incident appeared staged.
The judge agreed in that hearing that some scenes did not seem genuine.

However, Enderlin said that the images were no different from the clashes he had witnessed repeatedly. The prosecution stated that a dead Palestinian boy had been buried after the Netzarim junction incident, and that Jamal al-Dura consented to DNA tests that could prove the boy was his son.

2013 May: Algemeiner: Report: Israeli Government Concludes al Dura Death Was Staged

Report: Israeli Government Concludes al Dura Death Was Staged
MAY 13, 2013 10:42 AM
Zach Pontz

The Israeli government is set to release a commissioned report on the al Dura affair that will clearly assert that the “death” of the Palestinian Arab youth, Mohamed al Dura, was staged, the Israeli weekly Sof Shavoua reported Friday.

This falls in line with the conclusions reached years ago by the scientist Nahum Shahaf, followed by the late Gérard Huber and media watchdog Philippe Karsenty, who has led the battle to bring out the truth in French courts for more than a decade.

The Algemeiner has also learned that the report advises that international media outlets be held to a more rigorous standard of reporting so as to prevent the dissemination of false information and the construction of false narratives around the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Karsenty welcomed news of the report. “Now that this scientific report will be released it is very good news. The next step will be for the French public TV, owned and financed by the French state, to admit responsibility for their role in producing the worst blood libel of our times,” he told The Algemeiner.

In 2000, the Israeli army accepted accusations that its forces had shot Dura, who it was claimed had been caught in the line of IDF fire at the Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip on September 30, 2000. Then, after a lengthy investigation, the army concluded that it had not shot the boy, but the damage was done and Israeli officials hoped that the case would fade away.

At the same time foreign activists including Karsenty, continued to press the State of Israel to review its official position in view of the massive exploitation of the image of Mohamed al Dura in Arab-Muslim and Western media outlets.

The al Dura case continues to reverberate in Islamist circles. For instance, before he was killed by French police in 2012 in Toulouse, Mohamed Merah declared that he had killed Jewish children in revenge for the death of Palestinian children in Gaza; others have referred specifically to the “death” of Mohamed al Dura.

News of the publication of the report is attributed by Sof Shavoua to Knesset Member Nachman Shaï. Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon revealed that the investigating commission had worked discreetly and scrupulously under the direction of General Yossi Kuperwasser. The commission was composed of a large number of specialists and scientific experts.


2013 May: AFP – Israel rejects France 2 findings on Dura affair

Israel rejects France 2 findings on Dura affair

May 19, 2013 09:08 PM

JERUSALEM: Israel said on Sunday a France 2 television report seen worldwide on the death of a Palestinian child in 2000 was “baseless”, following an analysis of the raw footage.

The report, bolstering the Israeli political and military stance on theMohammed al-Dura affair, comes ahead of a ruling in Paris on a defamation case between France 2 reporter Charles Enderlin and Philippe Karsenty, director of watchdog group Media Ratings.

Enderlin’s reportage shows the death of 12-year-old Mohammed in the arms of his father Jamal al-Dura on September 30, 2000 after being caught in crossfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants at the start of the second intifada, or uprising.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the findings of the 40-page Israeli report by the ministry of international affairs and strategy on the incident as “truth” that could “prevail over lies.”
“It is important to focus on this incident – which has slandered Israel’s reputation,” he said in a statement accompanying the report.

“This is a manifestation of the ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimize Israel. There is only one way to counter lies, and that is through the truth,” said Netanyahu.

“The France 2 report’s central claims and accusations had no basis in the material which the station had in its possession at the time of the report,” reads the report commissioned by Netanyahu in September 2012.

“Contrary to the report’s claim that the boy is killed, the committee’s review of the raw footage showed that in the final scenes, which were not broadcast by France 2, the boy is seen to be alive,” it says.

France 2 did not provide the original raw footage of the incident, said Yossi Kuperwasser, director general of the ministry of international affairs and strategy who penned the report.
“We asked France 2 for the original footage many times, if we had it we could have known more things,” he told AFP.

“The review revealed that there is no evidence that Jamal or the boy were wounded in the manner claimed in the (France 2) report, and that the footage does not depict Jamal as having been badly injured,” read Kuperwasser’s report. “In contrast, there are numerous indications that the two were not struck by bullets at all.”

The report notes it was “highly-doubtful that bullet holes in the vicinity of the two could have had their source in fire from the Israeli position, as implied in the France 2 report.”

In response to an AFP query Enderlin, the Jerusalem correspondent for the television channel that broadcast the original news report, said: “We are ready for an independent public inquiry.”
“We have always said, including to the supreme court, that we were ready for an independent public inquiry by international standards.”

Meanwhile, Jamal Al-Dura told AFP the Israeli report was “completely fabricated.”

“The Israelis are lying and trying to cover the truth,” he said, adding he had requested the formation of an international commission of inquiry, including his family and the Israelis.
The footage of Mohammed held in his father’s arms near a Gaza crossroads became a central component in the media war between Israel and the Palestinians.

Karsenty was convicted of defamation in 2006 for accusing France 2 of doctoring the images in the original report, but the ruling was overturned in 2008.

An appeals court in Paris will issue its final ruling on the affair on Wednesday.


2013 May: The Guardian: Israeli inquiry says film of Muhammad al-Dura’s death in Gaza was staged

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem, Monday 20 May 2013 10.36 BST

A film of a 12-year-old boy crying and cowering beside his father as a gun battle raged around them in Gaza has been challenged by an official Israeli report that suggests that the entire event may have been staged.

The images, which became a symbol of the second intifada, contain no evidence that the child was injured or killed by Israeli fire, a committee of inquiry into television coverage of the death of Muhammad al-Dura concluded.

But the committee’s conclusions were rejected by France 2, the French public television channel that broadcast the report, its reporter Charles Enderlin, and the boy’s father, Jamal al-Dura. All said they were ready to co-operate with an independent international investigation into the incident, and Enderlin and Dura added they were willing to undergo polygraph tests.

The image of father and son crouched behind a barrel as bullets flew around them were reproduced as postage stamps and street murals across the Middle East as the Palestinian uprising against Israel’s occupation took hold. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) initially admitted it had killed Muhammad by accident, but within weeks it changed its account, saying the boy had died as a result of Palestinian gunfire.

The 55-second sequence has since become fiercely contested. According to the Israeli government press release that accompanied the report, “the narrative spawned by the France 2 report has served as an inspiration and justification for terrorism, antisemitism, and the delegitimisation of Israel”.

The committee, set up in 2012 by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to examine the incident “in the light of the continued damage it has caused to Israel”, concluded that IDF gunfire was not responsible for the death of Muhammad and injuries to his father. Its 36-page report said France 2’s “central claims and accusations had no basis in the material which the station had in its possession at the time … There is no evidence that the IDF was in any way responsible for causing any of the alleged injuries to Jamal or the boy.”

It based its conclusions on footage filmed but not broadcast by France 2, in which, according to the report, “the boy is seen to be alive” and that he “moved his arm and turned his head”. It added: “There is no evidence that Jamal or the boy were wounded in the manner claimed in the report … In contrast, there are numerous indications that the two were not struck by bullets at all.”

It said the IDF’s initial admission that it hit the pair by accident was made in “the fog of war” before all evidence was gathered.

After receiving the report, Netanyahu said the incident had “slandered Israel’s reputation” and was a “manifestation of the ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimise Israel”.

Yuval Steinitz, the minister of strategic affairs, who presented the report, described the affair as “a modern-day blood libel against the state of Israel … The France 2 report was utterly baseless.”

In a statement, the television station said: “From the start of the incident until today, France 2 has shown a willingness to participate in any official legal proceedings accompanied by legal counsel and carried out according to international standards.”

Enderlin said the Israeli committee had not contacted him during the course of its investigation, and that he did not consider it to be independent or objective. He told the Jerusalem Post that France 2 was “ready to help Jamal al-Dura in any way to exhume the body of his son for a pathological examination including, if necessary, a DNA test to help clarify the circumstances of the incident”.

Jamal al-Dura said he was willing for his son’s body to be exhumed to prove the circumstances of his death, and also called for an international investigation.
“Are they willing to do an international investigation? Is Israel willing? I’m not saying the people of Israel, I mean the government, and IDF soldiers,” Dura said on army radio.

The committee was lying in an attempt to clear Israel of the “black stain on it in the eyes of the world”, he said. He claimed the Palestinian Authority was in possession of Israeli bullets from the incident.

Muhammad, he said, was buried in al-Bureiz refugee camp and was viewed as a martyr in Gaza. “Muhammad is not just my son, he’s the son of the entire Palestinian nation.”
The Israeli report was published days before a French court is expected to issue a ruling on an appeal in a long-running libel case brought by France 2 against Philippe Karsenty, founder of a media watchdog organisation, who claimed the channel had staged the incident.


2013 May: Commentary Magazine (Tobin) Why the al-Dura Blood Libel Still Matters

Why the al-Dura Blood Libel Still Matters

Jonathan S. Tobin | @tobincommentary05.19.2013 – 3:46 PM

Nearly 13 years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak journeyed to Camp David to end the conflict with the Palestinians. With the approval of President Clinton, he offered Yasir Arafat an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and in part of Jerusalem. Arafat said no. A couple of months later, the Palestinians put an exclamation mark on that refusal by launching the terrorist offensive that came to be known as the second intifada. Yet in spite of the fact that it was the Palestinians who had rejected peace and who were engaging in terror attacks on Israeli targets that would cost more than 1,000 Israeli lives, they were still portrayed in much of the Western media as the victims. While the process that brought about this perplexing reversal was complex, one particular incident became the symbol of this vicious distortion: the Muhammad al-Dura affair.

The story promoted at the time by the Palestinian propaganda machine was that Israeli army fire killed a small boy while he and his father were seeking shelter from fighting near a Gaza checkpoint. Film footage provided by French TV made this tragedy an international cause célèbre and an official Israeli apology reinforced the Palestinian narrative and helped turn al-Dura into the poster child for Israeli beastliness and their own suffering. Yet soon doubts began to surface about the veracity of the claim of Israeli responsibility and the discrepancies and falsehoods in the Palestinian narrative were exposed in various Western outlets. Over the years, the initial story has been debunked in a variety of places. A German documentary proved that the shots that killed the boy could not have come from Israeli positions and French gadfly Phillipe Karsenty, who pointed out the original report was false, was sued in the courts by prominent journalist Charles Enderlin (who had broadcast the initial lie) but ultimately vindicated. Now it appears the Israeli government has finally caught up to the problem and issued what may be a definitive report that comes to the harshest possible conclusion about the al-Dura myth. As Haaretz reports:

Thirteen years after an exchange of fire in Gaza appeared to have resulted in the death of a Palestinian boy at the start of the second intifada, an Israeli investigative panel has found “there are many indications” that Mohammed al-Dura and his father, Jamal, “were never hit by gunfire” – neither Israeli nor Palestinian – after all.
The national panel of inquiry further claims that contrary to the famed report carried by the France 2 television network on the day of the incident, September 30, 2000, 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura appears to be alive at the end of the complete footage captured of the event.

The response to this report is predictable. The Muslim and Arab world will reject any investigation into it that will not accept their narrative. But more troubling will be the answer from many in the West and even in Israel who will ask why anyone should bother with such an old story. We should, they will assert, care about how to end the conflict, not who killed al-Dura. For Israel or its friends to spend any time on this issue is a diversion of effort from the peace process that will only anger Palestinians who will say that any argument about the incident demonstrates insensitivity, even if the facts are correct. But anyone who doubts the importance of debunking what has become a new version of the old Jewish blood libel is the one who is wrong.

There have been many good accounts of this affair, including this piece by Nidra Poller published in COMMENTARY in September 2005. I’ve also written about it on our blog several times, including this piece from last year about the French court case. Yet even before those were published one of the first Western accounts of the al-Dura affair got to the heart of this problem. James Fallows’s June 2003 article in the Atlantic, “Who Shot Mohammed al-Dura?” pointed out not just the fact that there was good reason to doubt the initial version of the story but that the facts wouldn’t change anyone’s mind because of the iconic status of the photo allegedly depicting the boy and his father. Indeed, he seemed to suggest in a deconstructionist spirit that objective truth was itself impossible since both sides sought to create their own facts in order to prove they were right.
Fallows had a point about the intractable nature of this debate. But the problem here is that the lie about al-Dura isn’t peripheral to the widespread misperceptions about the overall conflict. If, as I wrote last month, a mainstream media figure like CNN and Timemagazine’s Fareed Zakaria can assert that Israel has never offered peace to the Palestinians, and get away with it, there is something profoundly wrong with the way our culture has accepted Palestinian lies as either reasonable assertions or even truths. It’s not just that the Israelis didn’t kill al-Dura; it’s that the fault for the continuation of the conflict at the moment in history when he was supposedly slain rests almost completely on the people who have elevated him to sainthood and used his mythical spilled blood to justify boycotts of Israel.

This story matters not because the truth can help undermine efforts to isolate Israel. It’s important because so long as the Arab and Muslim world clings to its blood libels all talk about peace is futile. The “Pallywood” productions, of which the al-Dura hoax is the most prominent, haven’t just deceived the West. They’ve also reinforced the Palestinian myths about themselves. As such, they’ve done more real damage to the prospects of peace than any Israeli settlement. Unless and until the Palestinians give up their campaign of incitement against Israelis and Jews and stop seeking to depict this conflict as one in which they are only the victims of a violent Zionist plot, there is no hope for any solution, let alone the two-state solution most in Israel and the West believe in.


The Israeli Who Can’t Stand Good News: Is it a pomo honor reflex to shrivel at the mention of Al Durah?

In the wake of the official Israeli report on al Durah, Ha-artez, whose record in this case, from its reporters to its editorials has been consistently hostile to any Israeli effort to challenge the evidence, continues to beat the drums of cognitive war against Israel. This picks up just where Anat Cygielman left off: IDF keeps shooting itself in the foot. Were I an anti-Zionist, Ha-aretz would have an special place in my playbook. Below, a fisking of their latest, entirely predictable response to the latest Israeli report on the Al Durah Affair.

Report on IDF shooting of Palestinian boy during intifada may cause Israel more damage than good Its publication and the accompanying international public relations campaign only threatens to awake sleeping dogs. If international press picks up on the report, it could lead to a renewed discussion around Palestinian children getting hurt during IDF operations. By Barak Ravid | May.20, 2013 | 2:28 AM | 2



The infamous image of Mohammed al-Dura (left) sheltering with his father Jamal. Photo by AP

Yes, it is the infamous picture. And yes, the boy and the father do look terrified. After all someone from “their own side” has been shooting bullets right over their head. Instead, people should be looking at this picture, taken later, and cut by Charles Enderlin in his effort to give the story of a dead child credibility:

take 6 large

“Take 6”: the “dead boy” (according to Enderlin’s voiceover), holding his hand over his eyes, raises his elbow and looks out.

By Barak Ravid | May.19,2013 | 8:40 PM | 24 The report of the committee investigating the “coverage by French TV station France 2 of the Mohammed al-Dura affair, its results and implications”, which was presented Sunday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is probably one of the least relevant documents written by the Israeli government in recent years.

Is this Ravid’s version of “that’s so fifteen minutes ago?” Or does he not understand the historical meaning of this icon, and the importance in that story of the credibility and power that journalists gave it.

Another take: This is a long overdue response to what may be the longest-standing and most destructive news media hoax in the history of modern journalism.

The fact that 13 years have elapsed since the incidents addressed in the report took place turned the submission of the report into a surreal affair. Netanyahu recited slogans about “a campaign of de-legitimization directed against Israel” and Minister Yuval Steinitz, who had no part in preparing the report, muttered a few words about a ‘blood libel’, and everyone present felt very righteous. The person who advocated for setting up the committee and who chaired it was Yossi Kuperwasser, director general of the Ministry for strategic Affairs. Kuperwasser, who was the Intel Officer at Southern Command and later head of research and analysis for Israel Defense Forces intelligence , has been waging a 13-year long public relations campaign against the Palestinians. For better or worse, his attention to the al-Dura affair became an obsession, leading to a suspicion there might be a conflict of interest.

This is classic. The public relations campaign that matters is Israel’s against the Palestinians, as if they didn’t wage far more vicious PR campaigns against Israel. This is the cognitive war equivalent of “Israel bombed Gaza today, starting a new round of violence.”

The result of the committee’s work was a document for the extremely meticulous. It is doubtful whether even a hundred people in Israel or worldwide are sufficiently familiar with all the intricate details of the incident as to be able to follow the convoluted arguments by the authors of the report.

And heaven forbid, anyone should actually look into the evidence in this sordid affair that has caused so much damage.

Furthermore, the document contains no new evidence that might significantly impact the accepted version.

On one level, one needs no “new” evidence. The “old” evidence, which almost no one has bothered to look at, is pretty overwhelming. Everywhere one turns in this affair, the evidence contradicts the narrative that Charles Enderlin, trusting his Pallywood cameraman Talal abu Rahma to the point of inexcusable credulity, laid over footage that contradicts that narrative at every turn.

Even the new interpretation given to some of the old findings seems groundless. For example, Dr. Ricardo Nachman, deputy director of the Israel’s National Forensic Institute, determined, based on viewing poor quality video footage, that Mohammed al-Dura wasn’t shot and killed in that incident. The expert opinion which was attached to the report reads like a report by a movie critic and not by a pathologist. “The final scenes, in which the boy is seen raising his head and arms, bringing his hand to his face and looking into the distance, are not compatible with death throes but seem like voluntary movements”, wrote Nachman. “One doesn’t need to be an expert to see that”.

Indeed, one doesn’t. Look yourself:

The impression is that the report was written for use within Israel. The evidence and arguments that were presented might convince the already convinced, but no more than that.

When I first started working on this case in 2003, I had a chance meeting with three prominent Israeli journalists. When I asked them about al Durah, the response of one, with nodding approval from the others, was “100% the Israelis killed him.” There’s an amazing eagerness of Israeli journalists to believe the worst about themselves. In fact, after Nazir Fares, the Druse commander of the unit, after spending a week inside that vulnerable outpost without any relief, finally got out, the Israeli radio journalist who interviewed him, wanted to know who killed Muhammad al Durah. In some bizarre way this may be related to this unspoken belief that the outside world will only believe the worst of Israel. It is this very psychology that may be responsible for the colonization of the Israeli mind by the Palestinian narrative.

The committee could not present any ‘smoking gun’ evidence showing the 25 year old al-Dura sunbathing on a Gaza beach. Not even close. Any thought of getting such a report to change the globally accepted narrative after 13 years is akin to trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.

I must confess that I don’t see the purpose of this “prediction” which operates as a guide to foes. Does Barak Ravid want the rest of the world not to change their mind? Does he care that this is part of a larger phenomenon of DurahJournalism that poisons the world’s public sphere with lethal narratives that incite hatred and war?

The report was seemingly a campaign of revenge by the State of Israel, directed against a single journalist from the France 2 network, Charles Enderlin, who first reported the Muhammad al-Dura incident. Committee members tried to saddle Enderlin, who is an Israeli Jew who served in the IDF spokesman’s bureau and whose two sons served in the IDF, with all the problems of Israel and the Jewish people.

Wow. Part of the reason that Israelis have good reason to be angry with Charles Enderlin is that it’s precisely because Enderlin served in the IDF, in the Spokesman’s unit, that officials were inclined to believe him when he said that this was real footage. Most people – my guess is this includes Ravid – didn’t (haven’t) even looked at the evidence when it became available. Enderlin was probably the only person who could have made this hoax work, and that’s precisely because of his bona fides.

His sloppy work and his decade-long stonewalling and refusal to correct himself – worse, his aggressive pursuit in court of French people who criticized him – all of which is delineated in the report, should be a source of great indignation on the part of any Israeli as well as any other journalist who cares about the integrity of our information professionals.

Is Ravid, along with Gideon “so-what-if-it-was-staged-we’ve-killed-850-of-their-children” Levy, someone who is so intent on being self-critical, on accepting the Palestinian narrative as honest, that he ends up being someone for whom good news can’t come. People in the grip of such a post-modern masophicsm, like Levy, like his colleague at Haaretz, Amira Hass, have, can end up being “proud to be ashamed to be an Israeli”?

The committee went even further and hinted at Enderlin’s responsibility for the massacre of Jewish schoolchildren in Toulouse. “His report inspired many terrorists and contributed to the demonization of Israel and to the rise of anti-Semitism in Moslem and Western countries”, wrote committee members. “In some cases the implications were deadly”.

It doesn’t hold him responsible. But the fact is that Merah grew up in a culture in which the daily assault on Israel as child killers, fostered both by the Muslim community and by the French media, created his desire to kill Jewish children. People have been warning about the noxious effects of lethal journalism for a long time, and Enderlin’s mea culpa – at any time over the last thirteen years – might have contributed to cleaning up the toxic waste that dumps daily into the information circulation system of the global community. Ravid, apparently, thinks that defending Charles Enderlin is more important than protecting the global community from the malevolence of lethal narratives that Enderlin is a major player in laundering as “news.”

The damage done by this report could be greater than any doubtful utility. Its publication, accompanied by an international public relations campaign only threatens to awake sleeping dogs. If international press picks up on the report, it could lead to a renewed discussion around Palestinian children getting hurt during IDF operations.

And wouldn’t it be interesting if, as a result, the international media started paying attention to how many Palestinian children are killed by their own people, who in their obsessive desire to hit Israeli civilians, not only kill their own children, but then exploit for their lethal narratives. Let’s look at that list of 850 children that B’tselem has compiled, with the skeptical hermeneutic we can learn from the Al Durah case.

Final Remarks:

Overall, Ravid seems to be saying to the world, “don’t worry! nothing new. no need to look closer.” Why is he so eager to reject the criticism of Enderlin’s work? Is this a kind of pomo honor reflex? I, as an Israeli for whom the respect of my liberal and progressive friends around the world means a great deal, and whose admiration I acquire by being a “self-critical” (i.e., non-“tribal”) Israeli, am embarrassed by this awful attempt to exculpate this heinous deed so long afterwards.

I’d like to suggest something different. It’s never too late to challenge a deliberate and malicious falsehood, which is one of the things that the Al Durah story really teaches us. The exceptional willingness of Jews and Israelis to empathize with the Palestinian “other” – a trait notably weak on the other side – has been systematically exploited to everyone’s detriment. The Israelis may have been the obvious target of the Al Durah hoax, but the collateral damage was enormous, and the greatest victim may well have been Arab and Muslim peoples, drawn by this image into death cults that sacrificed their own children, even as they dreamed of genocidal wars.

The Al Durah affair is the ultimate test of “If I am not for myself, who am I?” If you can’t look at the evidence for this catastrophically destructive lie and say, “this time, my side was right.” … then, who are you?

And in the case of Al Durah, this is not just about “me” – Israeli, Jew – but about confronting the forces churning out hatred and war, tearing at the fabric of free, peaceful culture all over the world.

Owning the Al Durah affair as a dastardly and damage libel against our own people, and calling on others for an accounting of their behavior – thirteen years of refusal to reconsider, thirteen years of hegemonic lethal journalism and NGO reporting about our behavior – seems like a win-win all around for people who care about civil society.



Government report: Muhammad al-Durrah alive at end of video

Government report: Muhammad al-Durrah alive at end of video

Published: 05.19.13, 17:35 / Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received a government report regarding the death of Muhammad al-Durrah during the Second Intifada and the consequent incident in which Palestinians and the IDF exchanged allegations regarding responsibility for his death.

In September 2012, a committee headed by Moshe Ya’alon found that the video report from France 2, in which the boy is seen hiding behind his father, concludes before any sign of his death can be deduced and does not contain any proof to claims that the boy and his father were injured. (Attila Somfalvi)

Source: Ynet,7340,L-4381552,00.html

Understanding the Evidence: The Layout of Netzarim Junction

Without an understanding of the layout of Netzarim Junction, one cannot understand the evidence.

Map of the Netzarim Junction - The Al Durah Project

The barrel behind which the Al Durah’s took refuge is at the top center of the picture. To the right at the intersection lies the Palestinian police station from which we have footage of extensive gunfire at the Israeli position. The jeep scene took place just in front of the barrel. At the end of the wall, to the left is an area from which we have footage of Palestinians firing at the Israelis (from behind the Al Durahs) as well.

The Israeli position is diagonally across the street from the barrel where the father and son hid. The most direct angle from which the Israelis could shoot at the barrel was 30 degrees. It is important to understand that the Israelis never left their position that day (or for the succeeding week), and that any fire outside of the range of their guns must, of necessity come from Palestinian gunmen.

Across the road, more or less directly opposite the wall was a mound of dirt call the “Pita” behind which we have video of armed Palestinian gunmen. They are largely out of range of the Israeli position. On the other hand, were someone to fire from this location at the barrel, the bullets would hit the wall more or less directly at a 90 degree angle (i.e., head on).

Next to the Israeli position are two buildings, an (inoperative) factory, and the “twins,” towers built to house the families of Palestinian policeman charged with coordinating the implementation of the Oslo Accords with the IDF. Behind the factory and along the road in the lower right-hand side of the picture is an area that was entirely out of Israeli firing range for that day, and yet several scenes of gun battles were filmed there (see Pallywood).