ZOA Applauds Conference Of Presidents For Urging Release Of France 2 TV’ Full Footage Of Muhammad Al-Durah Incident
News
November 13, 2007

New York — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has applauded the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO) for issuing a statement calling upon French president Nicholas Sarkozy and France 2 TV to release the full, raw footage in its possession surrounding the alleged killing by Israeli gunfire of a Palestinian boy, Muhammad Al-Durah, on September 30, 2000. Al-Durah’s alleged death, in an incident which occurred at the Netzarim Junction in the first days of the Palestinian terror wave against Israel, 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-2’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Charles Enderlin, who had not been present on the scene at the time.


The 55 seconds of footage released to the world does not show Al-Durah being killed, let alone by Israeli forces. Yet, the broadcast, basing itself on Abu Rahma’s words, claimed that the boy was shot by Israeli troops. Enderlin’s 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.

 

Initially, the Israeli government had taken responsibility for the boy’s death, but later concluded that it had reliable evidence that the case was a fraud. Daniel Seaman, Director of Israel’s Government Press Office, openly calls the alleged murder of Al-Durah a hoax. France 2’s report has also been questioned by numerous investigations of the incident and a French activist Philip Karsenty, the editor of Media-Ratings, www.m-r.fr, was taken to court on libel charges for his allegations against France 2. The original judgment found in favor of Enderlin but an appeal now in progress has led to the presiding judge demanding to see the footage which France 2 until now had refused to release. The footage is due to be viewed in court this week.


In its release, CPMJO noted that “The unproven charges [and] allegations have already done much damage to Israel, and it is time to establish the truth. Today we urged President Sarkozy to press for the release by the France 2 television channel of the complete footage of the event as quickly as possible. We have also called on France 2 officials to comply with the order of the French Appellate Court to make available all of the raw footage on which its reporter based the allegation that al-Durah was killed by Israeli fire. Yet, until now, France 2 has consistently refused to do so. Instead, it released only 55 seconds of edited footage, which does not actually show al-Durah being killed.


“Charles Enderlin, the Jerusalem Bureau Chief of France 2 who filed the initial report in 2000, stated at the time that the raw footage included images of Al-Durah in his death throes and was too disturbing to release. Yet, it has emerged that three journalists, Denis Jeambar, Daniel Leconte and Luc Rosenzweig, have viewed the raw footage and have said publicly that it consists of 24 minutes of staged scenes and does not include the images of the alleged al-Durah death throes that Enderlin cited. If that is the case, the story of al-Durah’s killing at the hands of Israeli troops may well have been fraudulent, and even staged for propaganda purposes.

 

“The truth is vitally important, because the alleged killing of Muhammad al-Durah by Israel has been the inspiration for numerous acts of terror and attempted acts of terror against Israel. It was also cited by the murderers of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. Postage stamps bearing al-Durah’s 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. Palestinian Authority television has repeatedly 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.

“Establishing the truth is in the interest of justice and will remove an obstacle to Arab-Israeli conciliation.”

 

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA welcomes the Conference of Presidents lending its powerful voice to the cause of truth and justice on this issue. Such support helps to build momentum for the effort to ensure that France 2 releases the footage so the public may finally see the truth about the incident. The ZOA has been urging for some time President Sarkozy and France 2 TV to release the footage and thereby show the true story surrounding what appears to have been nothing less than a blood libel against Israel and the Jewish people.


“This incident is only one among many in which the PA and its apologists have fabricated lies about Israel. We only need recall the PA falsehoods about a massacre in Jenin in 2002 in which PA officials spoke of 5,000, then 1,000, then 500 Palestinians supposedly massacred by Israel, whereas in fact about 50, mainly armed terrorists, were killed in close quarter fighting with IDF forces. More recently, the PA alleged a massacre of Palestinians on a Gaza beach where there had been no military action and where instead a Palestinian explosive device had detonated and killed their own people. This context of PA propaganda fabrications must call into question any future reports and allegations emerging from the PA, which has already been shown to be completely untrustworthy.”



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