Problematic Forensics – A Red Flag
Pictures drawn by Palestinian youngsters of the incident almost always depict a good deal of blood – Indeed, even children have enough common sense to understand that shootings like the one alleged here produce copious bleeding. However, the signs of injury purportedly visible on Jamal and Muhammed Al Durah in all contemporaneous photographic evidence of the incident are inconsistent with fresh blood.
France2’s footage, shot by Talal Abu Rahma, is the only video record of the incident itself. It is solely upon this footage – and Abu Rahma’s characterization of its content — that France2 based its claim of a shooting. If the allegations of the Al Durahs’ injuries were accurate, Jamal and Muhammed should both have been drenched in blood and the wall behind them should also have evidenced extensive blood-spatter. Indeed, the gore that the injuries alleged should have occasioned would likely have precluded broadcast of the video during prime time news. However, there is no blood spatter to be seen anywhere in the video. A review of France2’s footage of the incident shows no blood on Jamal whatsoever and none anywhere on the wall behind the Al Durahs. The only possible indication of blood on either of the Al Durahs –a reddish blotch which appears on Muhammed’s right pant leg and then disappears entirely only to reappear near Muhammed’s stomach — is also inconsistent with the hemorrhaging alleged by those who claim that IDF fire caused the Al Durahs grievous harm.
Clear film of the location taken immediately following the incident and early the next morning shows no blood, on the barrel or the ground or the wall at the scene. However, at a press conference at the location filmed later the next day, a reddish-brownish substance is visible — only on the ground in front of the wall — along with a bright red cloth.
This section will outline and examine the accounts of the injuries allegedly sustained by the Al Durahs. Some of the accounts are internally inconsistent and other sources contradict each other. This section will also point up the creation and manipulation of physical evidence at the site by the Palestinian authorities who purported to determine causation of the Al Durahs’ alleged injuries.
The Sources :
Various parties have provided accounts of the Al Durahs’ alleged injuries, including:
Talal Abu Rahma, who videotaped the incident;
Charles Enderlin of France2, who was Abu Rahma’s boss;
Jamal Al Durah, who was purportedly shot a dozen times and cradled his son Muhammed during the incident; and
The doctors at the Jordanian hospital, to where Jamal Al Durah was transported at some time following the incident
Those framing the Palestinian narrative of the Al Durah Incident make specific claims concerning the injuries ostensibly sustained by Muhammed Al Durah and his father, Jamal, at the scene of the purported shooting. For instance:
1) Multiple rounds struck Jamal’s body and his arm – and these rounds were explosive bullets.
2) A shot injured the boy’s knee (neither left nor right is specified by Abu Rahma).
3) A shot “exploded the Muhammed’s stomach” and the boy lay bleeding from the wound for at least 17 minutes.
Below, we will review these claims by Abu Rahma and examine whether they hold up under scrutiny. However, before doing so, we recommend devoting two minutes to view the video segment just below, excerpted from Esther Schapira’s documentary Drei Kegeln und ein totes Kind (13.10.2008). This segment raises multiple questions about the blood – or its conspicuous absence – in the video of the incident — and images of the scene recorded immediately after the alleged shooting and on the morning of the next day.
The video begins with part of an interview with Jamal Al Durah, who alleges that he was shot 12 times during the incident:
Analysis of Talal Abu Rahma’s ‘Explosion Bullets’ Claim
In the following snippet Talal Abu Rahma claims that the Israeli soldiers were firing explosive bullets at the Al Durahs:
In the above snippet, Talal Abu Rahma — apparently forgetting that an autopsy of a body alleged to be Muhammed Al Durah’s (See the video below titled “The Cursory Autopsy by the Pathologist at Shifa Morgue”) had taken place — spontaneously advanced the claim that the Israelis fired explosive bullets at the Al Durahs:
“…And plus, the Palestinians don’t have explosion bullets with them. If you examine the boy – ok, the boy is dead; there is no autopsy – let’s face it. –The father – ask the doctors in Jordan what kind of bullets he has — in his hand, in his arm – in his leg”
Two problems with Abu Rahma’s claim of explosive bullets:
First: If Talal’s allegation that the Al Durahs were shot with explosive bullets by Israeli soldiers was factual then Jamal (who alleges that he was shot 12 times) should have resembled Swiss cheese by the end of the scene. However, as we can see from the ‘still’, here (isolated from France2’s video of the scene at its conclusion) Jamal appears quite intact. At the very least, there should have been blood spatter covering the wall behind the Al Durahs and on Jamal’s shirt. However, there is no blood to be seen that would evidence Jamal’s alleged injuries.
Second: Despite Talal’s casual statement that there was no autopsy, there was at least a cursory autopsy performed on the body that France2 avers was Mohammed Al Durah’s. In the video below, Dr. El-Masry, the Pathologist at Shifa Morgue who performed the autopsy, explains some of the procedure and even provides pictures of the autopsied body. Note that the sign by the body informs the viewer that the youth pictured was “Killed by Bullets”. There is no mention of “Exploding Bullets.” The photographs of the autopsied body show no indication of injury by explosive bullets, nor is there any claim by Dr. El Masry that the injuries were caused by explosive bullets.
“The wound in the back is an exit wound”: Analysis of Charles Enderlin’s Explanation
Here (In the video below), Charles Enderlin, based on pictures France2 received from the morgue at Shifa Hospital, maintains that Muhammed’s body had an exit wound in the back. That exit wound should have resulted in extensive blood spatter on Jamal and on the wall behind Muhammed. However, no blood is visible — either on Jamal or on the wall.
Note also that Enderlin’s testimony here thoroughly undermines his theorizing in the clip below entitled (“Blood or Handkerchief Part 1”) where Enderlin surmises “Sometimes you have internal bleeding. Sometimes you have some injuries where a bullet gets in and out sometimes it doesn’t bleed”. How likely is it that the alleged IDF fire managed to create a bloodless – although gaping –exit wound in Muhammed’s back? What of the other two shots alleged by Dr. El-Masry, the Pathologist at Shifa Morgue to have struck Muhammed in his leg and just below his chest – the latter alleged to have exited his left hip after shredding major blood vessels? Is it plausible to maintain that these wounds, too, were attended by no visible external bleeding? Further, is it reasonable to venture that all of the 9 to 12 bullets that were alleged to have struck Jamal caused only internal bleeding, or no blood at all –? When contemplating these questions, it might be useful to see the effect that even a single high-velocity bullet actually has on impact – Please see the video below:
Blood or Handkerchief?
In the following audio segment from Esther Schapira’s interview of Charles Enderlin, Enderlin admits that Talal Abu Rahma did not witness the shot that Abu Rahma alleged killed Mohammed Al Durah by “exploding his stomach”. Nonetheless, Enderlin maintains that Abu Rahma saw blood and that the video shows blood – contrary to the claim made by Nahum Shahaf, Philippe Karsenty and others that the crimson color visible is actually a red handkerchief.
The reader is invited to read the transcript of Enderlin’s exchange with Esther Schapira (appearing just below the following audio segment) and then to review the video snippet appearing earlier on this page capturing Charles Enderlin’s observation that: “The Kid Was Not Shot From The Back – The Wound In The Back Is An Exit Wound.” and the next video snippet (entitled Blood or Handkerchief Part 2) before passing judgment on Enderlin’s credulity or credibility:
Enderlin: – You have a list of his injuries- in the-
Schapira: Right. Right –
Enderlin: -in the Jordanian report that you filmed.
Schapira: Right. So if I see these injuries and if I hear that the poor boy had received –
Enderlin: Listen –
Schapira: – two bullets in the stomach. And Talal – the stomach exploded in front of him-
Enderlin: He didn’t see it. He- he- –
Schapira: There must be a lot of blood.
Enderlin: -he saw blood. He- First of all there was blood. There was blood. The – again- they call it a handkerchief- a red handkerchief. Your- Shahaf and Karsenty and so on call it a handkerchief. That’s one. Two – uh- I’m not a doctor. We have talked to two doctors. Sometimes you have internal bleeding. Sometimes you have some injuries where a bullet gets in and out sometimes it doesn’t bleed. I don’t know. Ask the doctors. Probably this is what you should do. But- again– I don’t know.
The disappearing leg wound
At one point in the following snippet, from Esther Schapira’s documentary Drei Kegeln und ein totes Kind (13.10.2008) at 25.30,) featuring her review of the original videotape, there appears a red blotch on Muhammed’s right leg. However, the spot migrates and then disappears entirely from the leg as Muhammed moves his hand from his leg to his belly. Charles Enderlin has yet to properly address the unexplained disappearance of the alleged wound to Muhammed’s knee and its apparent migration to Muhammed’s belly in tandem with the movement of his hand.
We think the presence of a red-stained handkerchief is decisively revealed in these close-ups of the scene. The red-stained handkerchief disappeared from the scene following the incident — and apparently reappeared the following day (still stained bright red) near the barrel, just before a press conference convened at the scene. There is more about this below. First, let’s take a closer look at an image from the conclusion of the alleged shooting, once the dust had cleared:
This ‘still’ at the end of the scene (with red arrows inserted to mark all bullet holes in the Al Durahs’ proximity) bears close examination. Here, Muhammed’s left hand is clearly visible, beneath his right elbow, clutching a red-stained cloth. There appears to be some red staining on Muhammed’s shirt by the cloth, as well, Note, however, that the wound Muhammed allegedly suffered to his knee earlier has disappeared.
And on the following day…
France2 broadcast film of the barrel and the wall from the morning of the day following the purported shooting showing no blood See: Eshter Sachapira’s documentary entitled Drei Kegeln und ein totes Kind (13.10.2008) at 26:40
A keen observer will notice that the stone on the barrel in the picture below is different than the stone that was atop the barrel at the time when the alleged shooting happened — and which was returned to the barrel in time for the filmed press conference. In an interview with Esther Schapira, Charles Enderlin informs us that a Palestinian general moved the stone – and allegedly collected bullets from the barrel (thereby hopelessly contaminating the scene).
Blood –or some other reddish substance near the barrel- along with a red-stained rag — appears there for the first time in the snippet of video just below, taken during a press conference on the day after the shooting. Rather than supporting the France2’s account of the alleged shooting, the appearance of the rag and the stains at the scene the day after the ostensible killing raise at least three serious questions:
First, the stain is located underneath where Jamal Al Durah, Muhammed’s father, was seated at the time of the alleged shooting. Recall Talal Abu Rahma’s claim that Muhammed Al Durah lay in his father’s lap bleeding for at least 17 minutes from a shot that “exploded his stomach”. A look at the final scene, shows Muhammed’s head resting on his father’s right thigh and calf. If Abu Rahma’s allegation were true, however, Muhammed’s alleged belly wound should have left a very large blood stain well forward of the the mark that appears where Jamal was seated. Why is the ground where Muhammed purportedly lay bleeding to death completely clean?
Second, the rag appearing in this video resembles the rag that Muhammed was clutching at the end the scene recorded by Abu Rahma. Here, the rag is still bright red. If the rag was actually soaked with human blood when Muhammed was purportedly shot the day before, why had the blood not oxidized to a shade of brown by the following day?
Third–and most significant–video of the same ground near the barrel taken earlier that same morning shows clearly the ground (as well as the barrel and the wall) devoid of any staining. What reasonable explanation would account for the sudden appearance of staining and a red rag on the ground near the barrel — just prior to a press conference convened to condemn the “crime” of Muhammed’s alleged murder at the scene the day before?
Jamal, the father, has claimed variously to have been shot 9 or 12 times. The boy, Muhammed, is alleged to have been shot three times. One of the bullets was claimed to injure Muhammed’s leg. (Jamal has stated that it was Muhammed’s right leg that was hit.Dr. El Masry — the pathologist at Shifa hospital who ostensibly autopsied Muhammed’s body — is on record averring that Muhammed’s left leg sustained the wound.) Another bullet is alleged (by Talal Abu Rahma, the photojournalist) to have “exploded” Muhammed’s stomach and (by the pathologist at Shifa Hospital,echoed by Charles Enderlin of France2 to have produced an exit wound in the boy’s back), while yet another (according to the same pathologist) struck Muhammed just below the chest and exited his left hip, after severing major blood vessels.
It seems inconceivable that the wounds allegedly suffered by the Al Durahs would not have produced copious bleeding. However,
In the snippet below, Abu Rahma describes Muhammed lying in his father’s lap bleeding from his stomach – while Jamal is taking additional fire and spinning dizzily. However, comparing this description with the actual footage of the scene described by Abu Rahma one cannot help but wonder why there is not a speck of blood visible on Jamal – the father – or on the wall behind him. Recall that, per Jamal’s, various accounts of the incident, he absorbed 9 to 12 rounds.
In this snippet (below?) Abu Rahma avers that the second bullet to hit Muhammed “exploded” his stomach. If this is accurate and the boy lay bleeding for “at least 17 minutes” as Abu Rahma states in other testimony, then there should be a great deal of blood on the ground below and surrounding the area where Muhammed’s abdomen rested on the ground. However, the video footage France2 broadcast of the scene — both from the day of the incident and the following day — reveal that no blood is located there. (Reference the picture of the day after showing no blood) Here is the Italian television footage from the next day.
At a press conference called by a Palestinian general at the scene the next day, the viewing public that had been primed by the France2 footage of the “shooting” was treated to footage showing some reddish substance near the barrel.
However there are some glaring problems with this “evidence”
1) The “blood” is neither anywhere near where blood should have been, nor in the quantity that would necessarily have resulted from Muhammed’s bleeding out through his stomach, if the description of Talal Abu Rahma who filmed the incident were accurate.
2) There is also no blood spatter at all that would have resulted from the “exit wound” in the boy’s back described by Charles Enderlin and the pathologist who allegedly autopsied Muhammed at Shifa Hospital.
3) There is no blood where Muhammed’s left hip was resting on the ground, despite the testimony of pathologist who allegedly autopsied Muhammed at Shifa Hospital stating that a bullet had exited the boy’s left hip bone and shredded major blood vessels
4) There is no blood spatter on the wall behind where Jamal was sitting despite Jamal’s claims that 12 Bullets penetrated his body and that his lower body and his arm “were full of bullet holes.”