12-årige Muhammed al-Durras død 30. september 2000 er en potensiell bombe, hvis det skulle vise seg at franske TV 2 manipulerte historien og la skylden på israelerne for noe som i realiteten palestinerne forårsaket.
Den israelske hæren har vært merkelig passiv, selv om de gjennomførte sin egen undersøkelse som konkluderte med at soldatene på grunn av plasseringen ikke kunne ha drept gutten. Hverken statsminister Ehud Barak eller andre regjeringsmedlemmer engasjerte seg. Så sent som i juni ifjor uttalte hærens talsmann at IDF ikke visste hvem som skjøt. Men i oktober samme år ble de Philippe Karsenty dømt for bakvaskelse. Det var TV2 og Jerusalem-korrespondent Charles Enderlin som gikk til sak.
Enderlin og kanal 2 stilte 55 sekunders redigert opptak gratis til disposisjon for alle TV-kanaler. Men selve råfilmen er på 27 minutter og den nekter stasjonen å utlevere. Ankesaken skal opp 19. september og IDF er bedt om å uttale seg om saken, og har i den anledning bedt kanal 2 om å få råfilmen utlevert. De har ikke fått svar en gang.
For første gang går nå IDF offentlig ut. Ulike jødiske organisasjoner og personer har lagt press på hæren. Knapt noe har tjent som symbol på intifadaen som 12-åringens død. Historien har hatt enorm appell. Hvis den skulle vise seg å være manipulert vil det få store følger for tv-journalistikken og dekningen av konflikten.
Caroline Glick oppsummerer saken i Jerusalem Post.
On September 10, the deputy commander of the IDF’s Spokesman’s Office, Col. Shlomi Am-Shalom, submitted a letter to the France 2 television network’s permanent correspondent in Israel, Charles Enderlin, regarding Enderlin’s story from September 30, 2000, in which he televised 55 seconds of edited footage from the Netzarim junction in the central Gaza Strip purporting to show IDF forces shooting and killing 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura.
n his letter, Am-Shalom asked for the entire unedited 27-minute film that was shot by France 2’s Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu-Rahma that day, as well as the footage filmed by Abu-Rahma on October 1, 2000. Am-Shalom requested that the broadcast-quality films be sent to his office no later than September 15. France 2 has yet to hand over the requested film.
The IDF’s move came against the backdrop of French media watchdog Philippe Karsenty’s legal battle with France 2 regarding the network’s coverage of the al-Dura affair.
Last year, France 2 and Enderlin sued Karsenty, who runs the Internet media watchdog Web site Media Ratings, for defamation for a letter he sent out in 2004 accusing France 2 of staging the al-Dura story.
Karsenty also called for the resignations of Enderlin and of France 2’s news director, Arlette Chabot, for their roles in promulgating the alleged hoax.
In October 2006 a French court decided in favor of France 2 and Enderlin, and against Karsenty.
The court acknowledged that Karsenty had submitted significant evidence indicating that the event had been staged. Still, in ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, the judges said Karsenty’s accusations lacked credibility because, they claimed incorrectly, he had based his accusations on a single source.
The court also stressed that «no Israeli authority, neither the army – which is nonetheless most affected, nor the Justice [Ministry] has ever accorded the slightest credit to [Karsenty’s] allegations» regarding the authenticity of the France 2 report.
In his letter to Enderlin, Am-Shalom disputes the judges’ assertion. «It is my duty to note,» he wrote, «[that their claim] does not correspond to repeated attempts made by the IDF to receive the filmed materials, and with the conclusions of the IDF’s committee of inquiry [into the purported shooting] that were widely publicized in the international and French media.»
Am-Shalom discussed at length the findings of the IDF’s probe into the incident. That inquiry was ordered by then-OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yom Tov Samia.
Citing Samia, Am-Shalom wrote, «The general has made clear that from an analysis of all the data from the scene, including the location of the IDF position, the trajectory of the bullets, the location of the father [Jamal al-Dura] and the son behind an obstacle, the cadence of the bullet fire, the angle at which the bullets penetrated the wall behind the father and his son, and the hours of the events, we can rule out with the greatest certainty the possibility that the gunfire that apparently harmed the boy and his father was fired by IDF soldiers, who were at the time located only inside their fixed position [at the junction].»
Am-Shalom further notes that «Gen. Samia emphasized to me that all his attempts to receive the filmed material for the purpose of his inquiry were rejected.»
The IDF is in urgent need of the footage, Am-Shalom said, because «it has been asked to comment on the ruling [against Karsenty] from October 19, 2006, on this issue, which is scheduled to be discussed in a French appellate court on September 19.»
«Since we are cognizant of the fact that there have been attempts to stage media events, and since doubt has been raised along these lines regarding the story under discussion, we asked to receive the aforementioned materials in order to conclude this episode and to get to the truth,» Am-Shalom said.
In the past, the IDF shied away from taking a strong public position on the al-Dura affair. At the time of the incident, then-chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz and then-prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak did not openly support Samia’s inquiry or its findings.
As late as June 23, 2006, then-IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Miri Regev told Haaretz, «I cannot determine whether the IDF is or is not responsible for the killing of al-Dura.»
In the aftermath of Karsenty’s civil trial last year, the IDF came under considerable criticism both in Israel and from Jewish groups abroad for its silence on the issue.
While the IDF maintained official silence, independent probes by various foreign media organizations and Internet activists over the past several years have called the veracity of the France 2 report into serious question.