Nous accusons!

Excerpted from Melanie Phillips:

Tomorrow, [Update: legal argument took place on September 12 while the full hearing is now scheduled to start on September 19, 2007. ] an appeal starts in Paris in a case which encapsulates all that is most rotten and murderous about the media war against Israel and its truly monstrous consequences. At the beginning of the second intifada, an event occurred which more than any other was to incite mass hysteria against Israel, lead directly to the terrorist murder of Jews and whip up demonstrations and incitement against Israel and the west throughout the Arab and Muslim world. On September 30, 2000 viewers around the world watched a short news clip screened by the TV station France 2 which appeared to show the killing by the Israel Defence Force of a Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Dura, at Netzarim junction in Gaza. The boy was shown crouching with his father behind a barrel next to a concrete wall in an apparently vain attempt to shelter from the gun-battle between Israel and the Palestinians that was raging around them. In his commentary on the incident France 2’s Israel correspondent, Charles Enderlin, declared that the IDF had killed the boy.

This footage become the iconic image of the intifada and the Palestinian ‘struggle’ against Israel. It served to incite terrorist violence and atrocities as well as inflaming hatred of Israel around the world. It was used in Palestinian educational materials to incite other children to turn themselves into human bombs. It was used repeatedly in al Qaeda’s videotape of the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. Itwas used to whip Iraqi Republican Guards into a frenzy before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. And most stomach-churning of all, it was invoked by the Palestinian mob in Ramallah that lynched IDF reservists YosefAvrahami and Vadim Novesche, who had taken a wrong turning, two weeks after the alleged al Durah killing.

The consequences of their fatal error are well known: they were tortured and beaten to death in the Palestinian Authority police station, and their lifeless bodies thrown out of the station’s second story window to a throngof men howling, Allahu Akbar -God is great! They commenced to dismember and disembowel the soldiers’ corpses, and then passed the entrails on a platter to a hysterical mob numbering in the thousands who rejoiced as they literally chewed and swallowed the remains of their hated Jews. What is lesser known is that while eating the flesh and blood of their victims, in satisfaction and triumph, the good citizens of Ramallah chanted, not only, Allahu-Akbar- but the name of Mohamed al Durah!But it quickly became apparent that the IDF could not have killed al Durah. Initially, the Israeli government had taken responsibility for his death, but it later concluded that the whole thing was a fraud because it wasphysically impossible for the IDF to have shot at the al Duras from their position that day at the Netzarim junction. Several other independent commentators came to the same conclusion, including extensive investigations by the French-language Israeli news agency MENA, a German television documentary film by Esther Schapira called Three Bullets and a Dead Child: Who Shot Muhammad al-Dura? and the Atlantic Monthly; while Richard Landes, a Boston University historian, who has claimed on his blog, Augean Stables, his website, The Second Draft, and in three films-Pallywood, The Birth of an Icon, and Icon of Hatred-that the al Dura ‘killing’ was staged.

On November 24, 2004, Philippe Karsenty, founder of the French online media watchdog, Media Ratings, sent out an email to his subscribers in which he accused the France 2 television network of staging the al Durah ‘killing’. He called for the resignation of both Charles Enderlin and France 2’s News Director, Arlette Chabot, for their role in promulgating the alleged hoax. France 2 and Enderlin sued Karsenty for defamation, and won. Tomorrow sees the opening of Karsenty’s appeal. The behaviour to date of both the French judges and France 2 has been simply outrageous.

The footage in question was filmed by a Palestinian cameraman, Talal abu Rahma. France 2 is holding 27 minutes of raw footage of his film which it refuses to release. Independent investigators have repeatedly asked it to do so. It refuses point blank. Why? Since transmitted parts of this footage, why does it refuse to release the rest of it? The most likely reason is that the unscreened footage proves that the ‘killing’ was indeed nothing of the kind.

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