France-2 TV defamation trial against
Karsenty to be held on Sept. 19
New York French journalist Philippe Karsenty, the editor of Media-Ratings, www.m-r.fr, an internet service that monitors the French media, is going to court in Paris on September 19 to appeal a judgment for defamation brought against him by France-2 television. The original judgment he is appealing was rendered in favor of Charles Enderlin, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for France 2, the television station responsible for airing 55 seconds of selected footage surrounding the alleged killing of a Palestinian Arab boy, Muhammad al-Durah, on September 30, 2000 at Netzarim junction in the early days of the Palestinian terror war launched against Israel that month. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is calling upon France-2 to release the full, never before publicly broadcast, 27 minutes of footage surrounding the incident 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 the 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 behind a concrete barrel and, allegedly, cowering from a hail of bullets until the boy apparently dies and his father is severely wounded. 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 wandered into PA-controlled territory, were murdered, their bodies disemboweled beyond recognition and their entrails passed around to a mob numbering in the thousands, where the remains were triumphantly chewed and swallowed. 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-Durahs 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 Muhammad 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 demonstrates even more 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, physicist Nahum Shachaf 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 shows 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.
It is impossible to conclude that al-Durah was killed during the time the scene was filmed because an additional 3 seconds of film, widely distributed on the internet, shows him 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 the 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 themselves from gunfire behind a concrete barrel and were not visible to IDF soldiers in the guard post from which they were allegedly shot. Furthermore, there were no bullet holes on the side of the barrel facing the al Durahs. ( 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 which concluded that IDF bullets could not have killed Al-Durah.
According to the cameraman, Abu Rahmeh, Muhammad 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 show 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 has sued Karsenty who accused them 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 falsely led the world to believe that Israeli forces deliberately killed this Palestinian child. 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 impossible that IDF bullets killed al-Durah. (For a detailed discussion of this very point, see the article by the former chief presidential speechwriter for Jimmy Carter and now National Editor of the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows).
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, and six other members of her family were allegedly killed on a Gaza beach in an explosion for which the PA accused Israel, although the IDF had not been conducting any 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 attempt 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.
We strongly urge people to immediately cut and paste the following letter, or write one in their own words on the subject, to French President Nicholas Sarkozy, which can be sent by fax from the U.S. to 011-33-1-47-422 465, with a copy to Philippe Karsenty on 011-33-470-1740:
Dear President Sarkozy:
Congratulations on your election.
We are a group of concerned American citizens appealing to you for support relative to serious misrepresentations made by French state TV broadcasting and more specifically to the Mohammed al-Dura fraud case. On September 12, 2007, Philippe Karsenty of Paris will present his appeal of a 2006 judgment against him for defamation rendered in favor of Charles Enderlin, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for France 2, and the television station responsible for airing the Mohammed al-Dura hoax.
At issue is the alleged killing of a Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Durah, who became a symbol of the 2nd intifada. It is obvious that the film in which he supposedly dies is a forgery. France 2 is holding 27 minutes of raw footage of the incident, which could resolve the controversy once and for all, but it refuses to do so.
France 2 published a fabricated and misleading photo that launched a worldwide upheaval resulting in at least 500 deaths, and rage throughout the Muslim world. Moreover, the al-Durah scam has successfully established a pattern for many other fabricated revenge atrocities. Daniel Pearl was killed to avenge al-Durah. Pearls killers used al-Durahs image in the video of Pearls murder. Osama bin Laden invoked the dead childs name in recruitment videos in a celebratory fashion after 9/11.
The verdict rendered in Philippe Karsentys al-Durah trial in September of 2006 was clearly a miscarriage of justice. Philippe Karsentys appeal is scheduled for trial on September 19, 2007. It is very disconcerting that a journalist acting in good faith by attempting to establish the truth relative to an issue of tremendous importance would end up having to defend himself twice.
We clearly are not suggesting that anyone interfere with the course of justice. We are writing to bring this important matter to your attention and are sincerely hoping that France 2 will finally admit to the fraud, release the withheld footage, and that Philippe Karsenty will be absolved of defamation; and therefore France 2 will be recognized as being responsible for the fraud which it has perpetrated upon the entire world.