November 15, 2007

French Court Screens Al-Durah Video Footage

The truth always comes out. 9 minutes of film are missing. From French Court Screens Al-Durah Video Footage:

I am in Paris where I have attended the Court of Appeal special session called to witness the 27 minutes of hitherto unseen footage of the ‘killing’ of Mohammed al Durah which the court had required France 2 to produce. For readers who are unfamiliar with this scandal, I wrote about it here, here and here.

What it actually produced was 18 minutes out of the 27 it was required to bring forward. From this footage, which according to France 2’s Palestinian cameraman was filmed during an implausible 45 minutes of continuous shooting by Israeli soldiers, there is no evidence that anyone at all was killed or injured -- including Mohammed al Durah who by the end of the frames in which he figured seemed to be still very much alive and unmarked by any wound whatsoever.

It is clear to anyone looking at this in detail that the whole thing was staged, not least from the devastating evidence which shows the boy raising his arm and peeping through his fingers seconds after France 2 correspondent Charles Enderlin said he had been shot dead. From this footage, there is no evidence that anyone at all was killed or injured - including Mohammed al-Durah, who by the end of the frames in which he figured seemed to be still very much alive and unmarked by any wound whatsoever.

After the hearing Professor Richard Landes, one of the people who had already seen the contested footage, said that two scenes had been cut out which clearly showed that the violence had been staged -- including one in which a Palestinian preparing to throw a missile is suddenly picked up and carried into an ambulance despite showing no signs of injury. This scene, said Landes, was filmed by Reuters, who actually filmed the France 2 cameraman filming it. Yet there was no sign of it today.

Although the footage shown was supposed to have been filmed during continuous firing by the Israelis for 45 minutes, one child was pictured riding a bicycle through the melee. When it came to the footage of the "killing" of Mohammed al-Durah, the sequence was not a continuous narrative but was repeatedly broken up and spliced onto footage of other scenes.

There were many very strange things about this footage which just didn’t add up. When it came to the footage of the ‘killing’ of Mohammed al Durah, the following stood out:

* This sequence was not a continuous narrative but was repeatedly broken up and spliced onto footage of other scenes from the demonstration

* Although the France 2 cameraman had told a German film-maker, Esther Shapira, that he had filmed six minutes of the al Durah father and son under continuous Israeli fire, the footage of them lasted for less than one minute

* There was a camera tripod next to them

* There was no evidence of the boy actually being hit

* At one point, people in the crowd cried out that the boy was dead, while he was sitting up large as life clinging onto his father with his mouth wide open

* After he was said to be dead, he moved his arm (the sequence I have already reported which has been available on the web for years).

The ‘killing’ of Mohammed al Durah was swallowed uncritically by the western media, despite the manifold unlikeliness and contradictions which were apparent from the start, because it accorded with the murderous prejudice against Israel which is the prism through which the Middle East conflict is habitually refracted. This scandal has the most profound implications not just for the media, not just for the Middle East conflict but for the western world’s relationship to reason, which seems to grow more tenuous by the day.