On September 30, 2000, at the beginning of the Palestinian terrorist offensive againstIsrael called since then the «second intifada,» a particularly violent clash took place at the Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip. As shots were exchanged between Arab militiamen and Israeli soldiers, cameramen from various television channels were nearby, filming news reports. One of these reports quickly spread around the world and became a ubiquitous tool for anti-Israeli Arab propaganda. It showed a young boy huddling against his father, the two unsuccessfully trying to protect themselves from gunfire: the son appeared to have been killed. The commentary accompanying the images was overwhelming. The last words of the voice-over, uttered in a stricken tone, were: «The child is dead».
The child, Mohammed al-Dura, immediately became a «martyr» — and a symbol. The Israeli army clearly dared to kill defenseless people, even children!
The report was considered indisputable: it had been broadcast on the main French public channel, France 2, and validated by a noted journalist, Charles Enderlin.
Very soon, Israeli columnists and military experts thought that the report had all the appearances of a crude forgery. In the images, the «dead» child was still lifting his arm after his «death». Neither father nor son showed any trace of blood, nor was there any blood on the wall behind them. The bullet holes on the wall behind the father and son had round forms, showing that they could not come from the angled Israeli position.
A few weeks later, an Israeli website, the Metula News Agency, made a short film demonstrating in detail that the report was indeed a fake. An Israeli scientist, Nahum Shahaf, conducted a reconstruction and a scientific demonstration in support of the short film. In 2002, a German filmmaker, Esther Schapira, directed a documentary reaching the same conclusions: Drei Kugeln und ein totes Kind («Three Bullets and a Dead Child»).
It was soon revealed that the footage had been shot by a Palestinian Arab cameraman, Talal Abu Rahma, and sent to Charles Enderlin, who had not been present at the scene. And it became apparent that Enderlin had added a commentary without first conducting any verification.
At this point, Enderlin could have replied with further explanation. France 2 could have admitted a mistake. But they stuck to their positions: Enderlin swore that he had «proof» that the images showed the reality and that his commentary was correct; and France 2 fully supported Enderlin. Neither the short film made by Metula News Agency, nor the documentary directed by Esther Schapira was broadcast in France. The Israeli government, for its part, remained silent.
The case has grown. A courageous and tireless French entrepreneur, Philippe Karsenty, head of a news media watchdog group, Media Ratings, understood the lasting harm of the fraud and saw in this deception an opportunity to expose the workings of the Palestinian propaganda machine and the complicity in it of many in the Western media.
In 2004, Karsenty posted all the information available to him, including irrefutable evidence of missing footage, and wrote that the truth had to be unearthed. He was accused by Enderlin and France 2 of defamation, and dragged to court.
Undaunted, he decided to give lectures and talks on the subject around the world.
In 2012, seeing at last the sheer scope of the case, the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs created a special government inquiry committee. The committee’s report was officially handed to Israeli Prime Minister a few days ago. Its findings corroborate what all those who followed the case from the beginning already know: the Enderlin and France 2 report is «baseless.» The child shown in the video was not «killed» in the incident — the incident was staged. Upon receiving the committee’s report, Binyamin Netanyahu declared that the Enderlin and France 2 report is «an integral part of the ongoing campaign to delegitimize Israel.»
Logic and basic human decency would dictate that Enderlin and France 2 draw the consequences, withdraw the charges, and apologize to everyone victimized by the fraud. This is not, however, what happened. On the contrary, Enderlin and France 2 now accuse the Israeli government of wanting to harm their reputation and are threatening to «sue Israel.»
The French public has not, of course, been informed of the content of the committee’s report. It is further very likely that no newspaper, no magazine, no radio and no TV channel in France will speak of it.
When, in fact, complaints were filed by Enderlin and France 2 against Philippe Karsenty, a petition of support for Enderlin was published in several French newspapers: all mainstream journalists had signed the petition.
In July 2009, to show his support for Enderlin, former President Nicolas Sarkozy awarded him the title of Knight of the Legion of Honor, one of France’s highest honors. The current President, François Hollande, has not commented on the committee’s report. He will also probably remain silent on the subject.
On May 26, the French judiciary was supposed to make a final decision on the complaints against Philippe Karsenty. The decision was postponed to June 26, undoubtedly due to the committee’s report. It does not mean that the decision will be in favor of Karsenty. The French judiciary depends on the French Department of Justice, and therefore the French government. Its position will be the one adopted by the French government.
The Enderlin and France 2 report is baseless. It is a fake. But in France, it exists as an «official truth;» and in France, no one can question an «official truth» without incurring huge risks — from blacklisting by the media to arbitrary audits by the tax bureau, to even death threats.
The child shown in the video was not killed in the incident. But according to French «official truth,» he was «killed»: he will therefore be considered «killed» by French political leaders, the French media, and probably the French judiciary.
The Enderlin and France 2 report is assuredly «an integral part of the ongoing campaign to delegitimize Israel» conducted worldwide.
It is an integral part of the campaign to delegitimize Israel conducted in France — a campaign that has not stopped.
The workings of the Palestinian propaganda machine and the complicity of many in the Western media have been exposed all too often. This just makes one more time.
Charles Enderlin and France 2 should to be ashamed, but they have no shame; most French political leaders, the French media and the French justice should be ashamed, but probably feel no shame.
Most French people will never even know anything at all about the affair.
Israel’s Minister of International Relations, Yuval Steinitz, gave an accurate definition of the Enderlin and France 2 report : «a modern-day blood libel against the State of Israel».
This makes France’s cover-up of the truth a French blood libel.
The fact that almost all the members of the French elite continue to stand up for this or any blood libel is a hideous stain on the honor of France.