September 19, 2007

France2: Release the Secret Muhammad al Durah Tapes!

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly commended, and supports the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) demand of the France-2 television network that it release the full 27 minutes of footage of the alleged killing of the Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Durah, on September 30 2000. The deputy commander of the IDF's Spokesman's Office, Col. Shlomi Am-Shalom, has submitted a letter to France-2's Jerusalem Bureau chief in Israel, Charles Enderlin, regarding Enderlin's story from September 30, 2000, in which 55 seconds of edited footage from the Netzarim junction filmed by a local Palestinian cameraman working for France-2, Tala Abu Rahma, purporting to show IDF forces shooting and killing al-Dura, was aired by France-2. Enderlin's story, which France-2 provided free of charge to the rest of the international media, led to world-wide accusations against Israel that the boy had been deliberately killed by the IDF during a shoot out with Palestinian Authority (PA) forces.

A French journalist, Philippe Karsenty, the editor of Media-Ratings, www.m-r.fr, an internet service that monitors the French media, is going to court in Paris on Wednesday, September 19 to appeal a judgment for defamation brought against him by France-2 television for questioning Enderlin's veracity and challenging him to explain obvious defects and inconsistencies in the al-Durah story. Part of the reason for the original judgment going against Karsenty cited by the court was the absence of an official complaint from Israel or the IDF regarding the veracity of the France-2 story. However, as early as November 2000, investigations on behalf of the IDF's Southern Command proved mathematically and physically that the IDF forces on the ground could not see al-Durah from their position and that it was physically impossible for their bullets to have killed him.

Respected media organizations like the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, Atlantic Monthly and Commentary magazine have all published detailed investigations that all concluded that the France-2 footage was either staged or simply edited to show something that did not happen, while an October 2002 German television documentary film by Esther Schapira, Three Bullets and a Dead Child: Who Shot Muhammad al-Durah? also concluded that IDF bullets could not have killed al-Durah. The ZOA has released a full discussion of the issues and called upon France-2 to release the full, never before publicly broadcast, 27 minutes of footage surrounding the incident in order to clarify whether the boy's alleged killing was a staged Palestinian propaganda incident.

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The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver.