Backgrounder about the Al Durra case - by Take-A-Pen
On September 30, 2000 the world watched with horror and pain France 2 TV's movie showing how a Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Durrah, was killed in crossfire between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers. In his voiceover France 2's reporter Charles Enderlin asserted (though, as it turned out he had not been present at the event and leant on the sole witness Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu Rahma) that Israel killed the boy, implying it was deliberate.
The footage spread fast across the world, andthe images, together with the accusation against Israel, became the most powerful icons of hate; for Palestinians, for the global Jihad and for Israel- and Jew-haters around the world. For an example, Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl's killers used al-Durrah's image in the video showing Pearl's beheading.
Since then more and more experts around the world - and recently the Israeli Defense Forces itself - concluded that the France 2's al-Durrah movie must have been a forgery and their accusation untrue. Analyses of site layout and ballistic evidence prove IDF soldiers could not shoot the boy.
Sensational Breakthrough on 14 November 2007 - Crucial Day in the Court
France 2 broadcast less than 1 minute of the 27 minutes raw footage shot by Rahma. The full footage could have spilled light on the truth, but France 2 has always refused to make this crucial evidence available to experts or to the public. Instead, they accused French investigating reporter Philippe Karsenty, one of those who said the footage was a fraud, of libel. Last year France 2 almost won the case. Karsenty, despite a recommendation from the prosecutor to rule in his favor, was found guilty and was fined 1 Euro in damages.
However, this year the case has taken a new turn. On 12 September 2007, the first day of the present appeal trial, the judge ruled that France 2 must submit the entire footage to the court by the next hearing on November 14. (Take A Pen and its friends, inside and out of our organization, may feel true satisfaction; our previous intensive letter-writing campaign, to TV France 2 and to French President Sarkozy**, have probably contributed to the court's will to reveal the truth this time.
This ruling has great significance. Either if on November 14 the raw footage reveals contradictions regarding the authenticity of the broadcast footage, or if France 2 doesn't present the full original raw footage; one will have a good reason not to believe any more to France 2's al-Durrah story, literally a ‘one-man-show'. That is why informed circles look forward with great expectation to this next court-day.
Our strong wish now is that the truth be found. That Philippe Karsenty's mouth be not shut.
The future? In Paris, the city where Captain Dreyfuss was once unjustly sentenced and much later rehabilitated, TV France 2 may also become from the accuser the libelous party; for disseminating its probably fake Muhammad Al-Durrah movie and the unfounded accusation it made, and for obstructing the finding of truth, by concealing the full raw footage for so long.