ZOA: France-2 TV must
release entire 27-minute footage
New York The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is calling upon France-2 Television network to release the full, never before publicly broadcast, 27 minutes of footage surrounding the alleged killing of a Palestinian Arab boy, Muhammad al-Durah, on September 30, 2000 at Netzarim junction in order to clarify whether the boys alleged killing was a staged Palestinian propaganda incident. Al-Durahs alleged death was filmed by a local Palestinian cameraman, Tala Abu Rahma, and a mere 55 seconds of selected footage from his 27 minutes of filming became the basis for a story by France-2s correspondent, Charles Enderlin, who had not been present on the scene at the time. The 55 seconds of footage shows al-Durah and his father seeking cover during a crossfire between an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) outpost and Palestinian police and gunmen, who were shooting from 7 main locations, including the towers behind the Israeli post, and the boy later slumped over, allegedly dead. The broadcast, basing itself on Abu Rahmas words, claimed that the boy was shot by Israeli troops. Enderlins story, which France-2 provided free of charge to the rest of the international media, led to world-wide accusations against Israel that the boy had been deliberately killed by IDF during a shoot out with Palestinian Authority (PA) forces.
The edited 55-second al-Durah footage was shown repeatedly worldwide and particularly on Arab television networks, resulting in a wave of hatred and terror directed against Israel and Israelis. On October 12, two IDF soldiers, Yosef Avrahami and Vadim Novesche, who had mistakenly wandering into PA-controlled territory, were murdered, their bodies disemboweled beyond recognition and their entrails passed around and literally chewed and swallowed at a PA police station in Ramallah after they mistakenly wandered into PA-controlled territory. The mob invoked Durahs death as a justification for its barbarism.
The Orr Commission, which investigated the violent rioting by Israeli Arabs in October 2000, concluded in its final report that Muhammad al-Durras picture, which was distributed by the media, was one of the causes that led people in the Arab sector to take to the streets on October 1, 2000. Also, the Mitchell report, drafted in May 2001 by a joint U.S.-European committee, also noted that the al-Durah incident was one of the events that sparked the Palestinian Arab violence.
Additionally, innumerable suicide bombers and other Palestinian terrorists have cited al-Durah as a justification for their crimes. In June 2005, a 21-year old Palestinian Arab woman, Wafa Samir al-Bis, who was stopped on her way to blow herself up and kill as many Israeli children as possible at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, acknowledged that she specifically wanted to kill children in revenge for the death of Mohammad al-Durah. Moreover, al-Durah is prominently featured in al-Qaeda recruitment videos and on Hizballah banners. The murderers of Wall Street Journal s Daniel Pearl interspersed their video of his beheading with the France-2 film. Throughout Europe, and particularly in France, Muslims have used al-Durah as a rallying cry in their attacks against Jews, which broke out shortly after the Durah film was broadcast ( Jerusalem Post, October 23, 2006).
For the past six years, PA television has continuously aired a film showing al-Durah in heaven beckoning other Palestinian children to martyr themselves by becoming terrorists so that they can join him in paradise. Postage stamps bearing his crouched image have been issued in Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia, a street in Baghdad and a square in Morocco bear his name, while many schools across the Arab world are named after him. His image has even been reproduced on a designer dress in Saudi Arabia.
However, the accusation that Israeli forces deliberately targeted a boy (and his father), whom they had clearly seen is debunked by investigations and evidence that has already come to light, and which suggests even that al-Durahs death did not occur, including the following:
- The 55 seconds of Abu Rahmas footage that was publicly broadcast does not show al-Durah dying or any bloodstains where the boy and his father were crouched, nor any ambulance evacuating them.
- No autopsy was ever performed on Muhammads body.
- In the weeks that followed the event, physicists Nahum Shachaf and Yosef Doriel conducted investigations on behalf of the IDFs Southern Command. Both men separately proved mathematically and physically that the IDF forces on the ground could not see al-Durah and his father from their outpost and that it was physically impossible for their bullets to have killed al-Durah.
- 3 hours of raw footage from Reuters and Associated Press taken at the vicinity at the time show dozens of Palestinian boys attacking Israeli guards posts with stones, Molotov cocktails and projectiles, appliances etc. Yet, if the IDF had wanted to deliberately kill children, it could have easily done so yet none were killed and al-Durah was the only one allegedly killed on the scene.
- The few people who have been allowed to watch Rahmas entire film have stated that it is impossible to conclude that al-Durah was killed because he is shown in this unpublicized footage to be raising his elbow and right leg, turning his head and looking around furtively, then putting his head and elbow back in position, but leaving his leg suspended in air ( FrontPageMag.com , August 29, 2007).
- Al-Durahs father was allegedly wounded in the arm elbow and leg — but no blood appears in the footage.
- The cameraman, Talal Abu Rahma, claims that the IDF were firing for an astonishing 45 minutes at al-Durah and his father which is not only absurd but, if true, would have resulted in many wounds, bloodstains and bullet marks that are simply not present in the footage.
- The al-Durahs were sheltering from gunfire behind a concrete wall and barrel not visible to IDF soldiers in the guard post from which they were allegedly shot and on which there are no bullet marks ( FrontPageMag.com, August 29, 2007).
- Respected media organizations like the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, Atlantic Monthly and Commentary magazine have published detailed investigations that all conclude that the footage was either staged or simply edited to show something that didnt happen.
- On October 2, 2002, a German television documentary film by Esther Schapira called Three Bullets and a Dead Child: Who Shot Muhammad al-Durah? was broadcast, and concluded that IDF bullets could not have killed Al-Durah.
According to the cameraman, Abu Rahmeh, Mohammad bled for 20 minutes. But, in the film clip broadcast the world over, and in the additional 3 seconds not commonly seen by television viewers, there are no signs of blood on the Al Durahs, on the wall behind them, nor on the ground.
The findings of this German documentary and other investigations shown that, at a minimum, the probability that the IDF killed al-Durah is virtually nil and, more likely, the event was either staged or edited to lead to the false conclusion that al-Durah had been killed by Israeli forces. Yet France-2 refuses to release the full 27 minutes of its own footage to public scrutiny and has sued three French Jews who accused them in various ways of manufacturing a blood libel against Israel by purposely distorting the events at Netzarim junction that day.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, It is past time that France-2 stop hiding behind legal action aimed at penalizing those who have questioned the veracity of its report that misleadingly lead the world to believe that Israeli forces deliberately killed this Palestinian child, if in fact al-Durah was killed at all. Even without seeing the full 27 minutes of France-2 footage, which it has simply refused to publicly release, it is already clear that it is highly unlikely, if not in fact impossible, that IDF bullets killed al-Durah (again, if in fact he was killed).
This staging of a phony murder and lying about Israeli killings of Palestinians would be nothing new for the PA. It is has been demonstrated on several occasions that the PA and other terror groups have deliberately staged propaganda incidents involving non-existent massacres, like the one that supposedly occurred at Jenin in April 2002 in which PA officials claimed that 5,000, then 1,000, then 500 Palestinian civilians had been killed. (In fact, 52 Palestinians, at least 30 of them combatants, were killed in the heart of a civilian area in a ground battle which also claimed the lives of 23 Israeli soldiers). The PA has been known to present live bodies as corpses and stage armed confrontations in collaboration with sympathetic media. Or, to give another example, the Lebanese terrorist group Hizballah last year mounted an elaborate hoax in which an ambulance was made to appear as if it had been deliberately targeted by Israeli forces, only this hoax was quickly exposed. Or in June 2006, when a girl, Hoda Ghalia, was killed with six other members of her family on a Gaza beach in an explosion for which the PA accused Israel although the IDF had not been conducting any military operations in the area. It has also been reported that Palestinians have been filmed on stretchers taken to and from ambulances, with the supposed casualties then climbing off unhurt when the news cameras have left the scene.
As this particular incident was not exposed in a timely manner and has been shown to have inspired further acts of terror against Israelis and other Westerners, we call upon France-2 Television to come clean by releasing the entire footage so that all can make an informed judgment on the events at Netzarim junction on September 30, 2000. It is deeply suspicious that France-2, if it believes its story to have been correct and truthful, has refused until now to release the footage which ought to back up its case, and has instead attempted to silence and penalize those who have raised legitimate and searching questions about its story. We also urge all American Jewish organizations to call upon France-2 to release the footage.
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