21 de septiembre de 2007

The Al Durah Hoax

The Al Durah Hoax
Written by Joanna Chandler
Published Thursday, August 23, 2007
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The following article concerns the case of Philippe Karsenty who is appealing a conviction for defaming a French television journalist. At issue is the alleged killing of a Palestinian boy who became a symbol of the "2nd intifada" but whom activists claim was never harmed. -- Ed.

On September 12, 2007, Philippe Karsenty of Paris will present his appeal of a judgment for defamation rendered in favor of Charles Enderlin, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for France 2, the television station responsible for airing the Mohamed Al Durah hoax. Karsenty, editor of Media-Ratings, an internet service that analyzes the French media according to accepted journalistic standards, questioned Enderlin’s veracity and challenged him to explain obvious defects and inconsistencies in the Al Durah story. 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 incident a hoax. France 2 is holding 27 minutes of raw footage of the incident which could resolve the issue once and for all but refuses to release the tapes. The trial court, finding in favor of Enderlin, disregarded the evidence Karsenty presented. Instead, the judge relied on a two-year old letter from former French President, Jacques Chirac, complementing Enderlin on his journalistic skills. The judge further noted that neither the Israeli government nor the organized French Jewish community had elected to come forward in support of Karsenty’s view. Nevertheless, the evidence in favor of Karsenty is substantive and overwhelming. Moreover, the fact that the Al Dura incident is a hoax is obvious to a critical eye merely on the basis of the footage that has so far become available.

On September 30, 2000, at the Netzarim Junction in the Gaza strip, Talal Abu Rahmeh, a stringer working for France 2 and CNN, filmed an Arab Palestinian boy, Mohamed al Durah, and his father, Jamal al Durah, crouching behind a concrete barrel, and cowering from a hail of bullets until the boy “dies” and the father is grievously “wounded.” France 2 Jerusalem bureau chief, Charles Enderlin, who was also the vice president of Israel’s foreign press association, hand delivered copies of a 55 second excerpt of Talal’s footage to every major foreign news outlet at the Jerusalem Studio House. Within hours, the 55 second abbreviated film clip was broadcast on France 2 Television, a French government controlled and financed station, and subsequently picked up by virtually every media outlet in the world. IDF soldiers, although never captured on film shooting at the pair, were depicted as the willful perpetrators of the atrocity. Strangely, they were accused of shooting at the pair for an astounding 45 minutes. http://www.seconddraft.org/new_aldurah/enderlins_original_broadcast.wmv

In reality, Mohamed’s death was a staged media event aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the State of Israel, and demonizing her in the eyes of the world community by depicting IDF soldiers as wanton killers who deliberately target children.

The Al Durah hoax is a weapon in the hands of Israel’s enemies. It has not been dispelled and continues to cause her harm. Israel’s current diplomatic isolation, the innumerable worldwide divestment campaigns against her, academic and economic boycotts and other indicia of pariah-hood are, in no small measure, due to her underserved reputation as a major human rights violator.

Two weeks after the Al Durah hoax was publicized as fact, garnering worldwide condemnation of Israel in diplomatic, media, religious and human rights circles, two IDF soldiers made a wrong turn and inadvertently wandered into Ramallah. The consequences of their fatal error are well known: they were tortured and beaten to death in the Palestinian Authority police station, and their lifeless bodies thrown out of the second story window to a throng of howling men. They commenced to dismember and disembowel the soldiers’ corpses, and then passed the entrails on a platter to a hysterical mob numbering in the thousands who rejoiced as they literally chewed and swallowed the remains of their hated Jews. What is lesser known is that while eating the flesh and blood of their victims, they shouted, not only, Allah hu-Akbar--God is great--but the name of Mohamed al Durah! The supposed “death” of the child had become a pretext for revenge.

Shockingly, former President Clinton, writing in his autobiography, My Life, referred to the carnage in the following terms: “As the violence persisted, two vivid images of its pain and futility emerged. A twelve year old Palestinian boy shot in the crossfire and dying in his father’s arms, and two Israeli soldiers pulled from a building and beaten to death, with their lifeless bodies dragged through the streets and one of their assailants proudly showing his bloodstained hands to the world on television.”

Evidently, the lie of Al Durah’s death had been repeated often enough to be accepted as fact by a former president of the United States of America. Clinton equates the Al Durah lie, with the real torture, mutilation, murder and even cannibalization of two young men whose horrific fate was meant to avenge a killing—but, a killing that had not occurred.

Moreover, the Al Durah scam, successful as it is, has set the pattern for other famous pretended revenge atrocities. Daniel Pearl’s murderers invoked Mohamed’s “death” as they beheaded their victim. Osama bin Laden invoked the “dead” child’s name in recruitment videos and in celebratory fashion after 911.

The mythical “martyr” has now been immortalized as an icon to be emulated. Postage stamps bearing his crouched image have been issued in Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia. A street in Bagdad and a square in Morocco bear his name. Countless schools throughout the Arab world are named after him. His image was depicted on a designer dress in Saudi Arabia. Arab television programs in the Palestinian Authority and elsewhere portray him on his way to heaven and exhort children to seek “martyrdom” with all its attendant obligations and rewards: namely, the killing of Jews and the quid pro quo of 72 black-eyed virgins. Moreover, the Al Durah hoax inspired murderous rampages throughout the Arab/Muslim world which directed blame for the supposed “atrocity” not only at Israel but against the United States as well. Less violent, but no less hateful demonstrations occurred in Europe and the United States whose participants openly called for the killing of Jews and the destruction of Israel and the United States. Arson and vandalism against Jewish institutions worldwide skyrocketed, as did physical assaults, murder and terrorism.

Despite nearly unanimous declarations from media worldwide, it is clear from viewing the film that the boy did not die, nor did he nor his father receive a single bullet wound.

Western audiences viewed a 55 second video of the supposed “killing,” at the end of which news commentators dolefully announce the “death” of the boy. However, the footage actually continues for an additional 3 seconds—three seconds that television viewers were deprived of observing: First, two fingers appear in the viewfinder of the camera, briefly blocking out the image of the Al Durahs, after which the “dead” boy and his father reappear. Then, something extraordinary occurs: The boy raises his head and right leg, looks around furtively, replaces his head in the “dead” position but appears to have forgotten about his leg. He leaves it suspended in the air for the duration of the clip. http://www.seconddraft.org/new_aldurah/take6.wmv

France 2 retains 27 minutes of original footage which it has refused to release. It claims that it did not reveal the footage of the boy’s movements after he supposedly “dies” because it did not want to subject its audience to the “agony of the child.”

Although the fact of the boy’s posthumous movements should have pronounced the Al Durah Hoax dead on arrival, there is no shortage of further evidence of the deception.

The boy’s father claimed that he had been shot in the hand, arm, elbow and leg and that he suffered a crushed pelvis. He also said that Mohamed received a bullet to his stomach that exited from the back. According to the cameraman, Abu Rahmeh, Mohamed bled for 20 minutes. But, in the film clip broadcast the world over, and in the additional 3 seconds not commonly seen by viewers, there are no signs of blood on the Al Durahs, on the wall behind them, nor on the ground.

Philippe Karsenty has been sued in France under a criminal statute for the offense of questioning the veracity of a news story that has caused extensive damage to the honor and dignity of the State of Israel, and has unleashed gratuitous violence and terrorism against Jews, not just in Israel, but the world over who are seen as representatives of an evil entity that must be targeted and punished.

Though questions about the case are troubling and abundant, few journalists have elected to grapple with it. The result is the persistence of a lie upon which entire institutions and ideologies are being erected.

France 2’s case against Karsenty is an obvious attempt to silence and punish him for his determination to subject the lie of the Al Durah hoax to the light of reason and justice.

Joanna Chandler is the nom de plume of a West Coast political activist.

Copyright © 2007 The Media Line. All Rights Reserved.

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