Court­room­storm overal-Du­raev­i­dence

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY A COR­RE­SPON­DENT

VI­TAL NEW ev­i­dence screened in a Paris ap­peals court of the death of Muhammad al Dura, a 12-year-old Pales­tinian boy, has failed to di­min­ish the controversy sur­round­ing his shoot­ing.

In Septem­ber 2000, French tele­vi­sion chan­nel France 2 re­ported that the boy was killed by Is­raeli sol­diers at the Net­zarim junc­tion in the Gaza Strip in a bat­tle be­tween the IDF and armed Pales­tini­ans. Philippe Karsenty, who ran his own me­dia-watch­dog web­site, al­leged that the re­port was forged and ac­cused French TV of broad­cast­ing “a staged killing caus­ing ha­tred against Is­rael, Jews and the West”.

French TV and its Mid­dle East cor­re­spon­dent, Charles En­der­lin, replied by su­ing Mr Karsenty for defama­tion. In a first trial last year, Mr Karsenty was con­victed, but when he ap­pealed the de­ci­sion, a sec­ond judge de­manded to ex­am­ine the full footage of the al-Dura re­port.

The im­ages had been filmed by France 2 cam­era­man Talal Abu Rahma while Mr En­der­lin was in Ra­mal­lah. In court, the jour­nal­ist ex­plained each seg­ment of the footage that he pro­vided, which lasted 18 min­utes out of the 27 that Mr Abu Rahma claimed to have shot orig­i­nally.

Mr Karsenty chal­lenged Mr En­der­lin’s ex­pla­na­tions. “The boy was still mov­ing af­ter we heard the cam­era­man say he was dead. How do you ex­plain this?” Mr Karsenty asked.

Mr En­der­lin an­swered that Mr Abu Rahma had not meant to say that the boy had died, but that he was in dan­ger of dy­ing.

Mr En­der­lin de­clared in 2000 that he had edited the im­ages to avoid show­ing the boy’s last min­utes of agony. But in the footage, there was no trace of th­ese im­ages.

“The al Dura re­port has had ter­ri­ble con­se­quences, catalysing hate around Is­rael, Jews and the West,” Mr Karsenty told the JC. “We have to de­nounce this hoax for the sake of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Ten­sion was high in the court­room on Wed­nes­day and some pro- and an­tiEn­der­lin mil­i­tants were ar­gu­ing loudly, pre­vent­ing the press from en­ter­ing the court­room. Mr En­der­lin told jour­nal­ists that there was no new “af­fair” and told re­porters to come to the next hear­ing on Fe­bru­ary 28, 2008.

PHOTO: AP

Ja­mal al Dura tries to shel­ter his ter­ri­fied son in this still from the film

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