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May 29, 2013 8:11 am

Israeli Inquiry – Al-Dura Phony Killing Staged by Palestinians

avatar by Morton A. Klein and Daniel Mandel

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Jamal and Muhammad al-Dura take cover in the Gaza Strip in 2000. The IDF is not responsible for the 2000 al-Dura shooting, a new Israeli government report found. Photo: France 2.

On September 1, 2000, only a couple of days into the Palestinian violence against Jews that erupted at Yasser Arafat’s behest across the West Bank and Gaza, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Dura, was reportedly killed by Israel during a clash with Palestinian armed forces. The footage of him crouching in fear beside his father, Jamal, during the firefight, is an iconic image of recent years. Now we know, however, thanks to a new Israeli inquiry whose finding came out last week that this was a Palestinian staged fabrication and that al-Dura was not killed in the incident in question, let alone by Israe

The inquiry, appointed by Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, and headed by Brigadier- General Yossi Kuperwasser, the former head of the Research and Analysis Division of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Military Intelligence Directorate and now director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, arrived at its conclusion after spending years sifting the evidence.

Yet, from September 2000 right up until today – despite the fact that no footage was broadcast of the boy actually being killed or wounded, only of footage of the terrified boy under fire and then further footage showing him lying still, apparently dead – most people outside Israel believed that the IDF had knowingly or at least recklessly killed an obviously defenseless boy. Why? Because the reporter, France-2 Television’s Charles Enderlin, said the boy had been killed by Israeli fire. Till now, that is all most people have known of the matter.

The reality, as we now know, is different. France-2 spent years withholding the remainder of the footage that was not broadcast at the time. After years of pressure and court cases involving French Jewish activist Philippe Karsenty, France-2 finally had to release it. Not only is there no footage of al-Dura being hit and killed, but, if one examines the supposed aftermath of his death, there is no blood and the boy’s arm and leg are seen moving after he had been allegedly killed. And we also know that Charles Enderlin was not on the scene at the time and merely relayed the story given by his Palestinian cameraman, Talal Abu Rahma, that al-Dura had been killed by Israel.

General Kuperwasser’s inquiry included numerous specialists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and other academic institutions, including the physicist, Nahum Shahaf, who used angles and rate of fire to prove that the scene had been staged. This exposes the lie behind Abu Rahma’s account.

Yet, as a result of Enderlin’s fabricated report, Israel was subjected to waves of international opprobrium and Jews to innumerable acts of anti-Semitic violence across the globe. The murderers of the Wall Street Journal‘s Daniel Pearl in Pakistan carried out their gruesome beheading with a picture of al-Dura on the wall behind them. Postage stamps bearing al-Dura’s crouched image were issued in Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia. A street in Baghdad and a square in Morocco bear his name, as do many schools across the Arab world. His image has even been reproduced on a designer dress in Saudi Arabia.

As an earlier Israeli commission of inquiry has observed, the al-Dura incident also stimulated the Palestinian terrorist wave that washed over Israel from October 2000 onwards. Palestinian Authority (PA) television has repeatedly aired a film showing al-Dura in heaven, beckoning other Palestinian children to ‘martyr’ themselves by becoming terrorists so that they can join him in paradise.

This chain of events bears out the memorable observation of Winston Churchill that ‘A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.’ Clearly, the al-Dura legend has done Israel extraordinary harm. It is one of the great blood libels of Jewish history.

Now that the truth is known, however, Israel should hold a major press conference, complete with detailed graphics and forensic evidence on display, to state the truth loudly and clearly and to dispel the propaganda lies that have been spun.

Why? Because this is scarcely the first lie from the mill of Palestinian propaganda. Corpses and wounded people who suddenly leap off stretchers when they think the cameras have stopped rolling; ambulances ferrying terrorists instead of wounded people; Palestinians accidentally detonating home-made bombs, with the resultant dead and injured shown to the world as victims of Israeli strikes; doctored photographs of infants without limbs, and so on – blood libels against Israel are Palestinian stock-in-trade.

The issue is not merely righting a wrong or exposing a lie. Rather, it is demonstrating that Palestinians go to these extraordinary lengths to vilify Israel in order to further the twin goals of its delegitimization and eventual elimination, not because they seek a peaceful state alongside Israel – which has been theirs for the asking all along.

Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Dr. Daniel Mandel is Director of the ZOA’s Center for Middle East Policy and author of H.V. Evatt & the Establishment of Israel (London, 2004).

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  • elisheva

    The best and most comprehensive documentary on the Al-Dura affair, which shows the sweeping damage done was produced by Professor Richard Landes who testified in French Court on behalf of Karsenty.
    “Icon of Hatred” can be viewed at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=802_1329344138

  • William Burns

    Unlike every other government in the history of the world, Israel never lies about its war crimes, so who could doubt an Israeli inquiry finding Israel innocent?

    • Johntyd

      The time is coming when this point of appeal to Jewish weaknesses will be rightfully met with indifference. The unilateral sensitivity to ‘war crimes’ is the weapon of choice by anti-Semites like this.

      That instrument of psychological access is soon going to be rendered void.

      One cannot commit a ‘war crime’ on an adversary that has no subscription to the specious body of law around these arcanely inspired legalisms and whose whole unifying reason for existence is to perpetrate exactly those crimes on Jews that it persistently bears false witness to.

      The feeble attempt to turn anti-Semitic invective into moral virtue is a transparent device of psychological warfare.

      There is going to be oceans of arab blood. Trying to get into Jewish heads with the leverage of ‘war crimes’ is going to be least of the arab troubles and a most ineffective means of controlling the righteous fury of an aroused people.

  • Judith Ronat

    What a pity that the results of this inquiry came 13 years after the original claim. Few remember the event. Had the inquiry and its results been published months afterwards, it might have been useful. This way, it calls attention to the original claim, and many people will wonder which is true: the claim or the belated results of the inquiry.

  • E.S.Lombard

    And while we have their attention, we might remind them that more than half of Israel’s Jewish population are refugees or children of refugees from ten Arab countries that stole all their lands and other assets. Hasbara seems to ignore this and some of us are beginning to read this as Ashkenazi arrogance toward our Mizrahi brothers.
    BG was so anxious to instruct the Jews from Arab countries as to how much the Ashkenazis suffered under Hitler. Now is a good time to tell the Ashkenazim that the Jews in Arab countries had a long and settled history disrupted by the Israel successes against the 1948 Arabs.

    • In reply to E.S. Lombard: Need to be cautious about attributing Muslim and Arab attitudes toward Jews principally to events of 1948. In “The Jews of Islam,” Bernard Lewis offers a nuanced view of the Jewish experience in the Islamic lands. For 1400 years Jews there experienced persistent discrimination and periodic persecution. Nonetheless, Lewis opines that Jews there were generally treated better than by the Christians. If so, no reason for Jews to congratulate Muslims for subjecting Jews to centuries of systemic disadvantage. Lewis also tells us that, by the 19th century, European anti-semitism was becoming a significant negative influence on Muslim attitudes to Jews, e.g., as evidenced in the 1840 Damascus blood libel. Well before 1948, several Muslim countries witnessed 20th-century pogroms against local Jews. On the arrogance and ethnocentrism of Ashkenazim, I do agree with Lombard. Here, the last word must go to Herzl who proclaimed that “the Jews are one People.” And, this unity was always to some extent reflected both subjectively and objectively in Jewish life, at least around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The principle of the unity of the Jewish People is also essential for pleading the moral and legal case for “Jewish Aboriginal Rights to Israel.” Go to an October 2011 posting at wwww.allenzhertz.com for a detailed exposition of this “aboriginal rights” argument.