It took thirteen years for the Israeli Government to announce what every rational person already knew. Mohamed al Durrah was in all reasonable likelihood not shot by the IDF at Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip on September 30, 2000. The lives of at least some of the estimated 3,354 Palestinians and 1,010 Israelis killed in the Second Intifada plus hundreds or even thousands of innocents killed around the world under the inspiration of the narrative might have been saved if a proper investigation had been conducted earlier.
This is some talk about criminal charges against Charles Enderlin from France 2, who bent over backwards so that this libel would reach the far corners of the earth. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, an organisation whose aims and methods I have the greatest respect for, talks about filing criminal charges against Enderlin but is vague about what charge and in what jurisdiction.
Doesn’t the statute of limitations preclude criminal charges? If journalists who submitted false claims without proper fact-checking could be arrested Gideon Levy and the Jerusalem bureau of the BBC would be wearing stripes years ago†.
It is 13 years after the France 2 report. Esther Schapira publicly aired doubts about the al Durrah case in 2002 (two years after the event). She may not have been the first. Surely the ‘criminality’ is the Israeli Government’s tardiness in investigating an incident that caused Israel so much damage, until it is far from certain that the conclusions of the investigators have anything but historical interest. Not sure if it isn’t too late for Philippe Karsenty to use them in his decade long legal action in France, either.
Still not to lose hope. There are still things we can do.
- Petition for the withdrawal of Charles Enderlin’s press licence, the media against Israel When last I looked 2,196 from the target of 10,000 had signed. The petition is against Charles Enderlin and the photographer, Talal Hassan Abu Rahma. It won’t put them in gaol or out-of-work but the symbolism is important.
- Push for Jamal al Dura to be taken at his word.
- He said he would agree to an international investigation on the matter. Surely that can be arranged.
- He said that he and his son were both hit by Israeli fire in the incident. Any competent doctor could check al Dura senior for bullet wounds‡. Maybe an X-ray would locate bullets or fragments.
- He said he would be willing to allow his son’s body to be examined by an international probe. So let’s exhume the body.Speaking in Jerusalem, Mr. Karsenty said he thought this would be pointless. Any family member could be produced. With respect, I think that is not true. DNA would show that the body was Jamal al-Dura’s son and not some other relative. Autopsy would establish the age and sex of the body and most importantly how and when he died. Facial reconstruction would provide more material. Autopsy couldn’t definitely prove any body to be the dead or not-so-dead Mohamed al Dura but it would definitively show if it wasn’t.
- Don’t let al Salaymeh become al Dura, Five Minutes for Israel, 13 December 2012
- Esther Schapira’s Open Letter to Charles Enderlin, Esther Schapira, PJ Media, 22 February 2013
- Father of al-Dura disputes Israeli claim, says open to probe of death, Joshua Davidovich and Mitch Ginsburg, THE TIMES OF ISRAEL, 20 may 2013
- The France 2 Al-Durrah Report, its Consequences and Implications,
Report of the Government Review Committee, 19 May 2013*
† Israeli prisoners don’t actually wear stripes but behind bars is such a cliché. Israeli prisons don’t have bars, either. At least the one I photographed in Ramle, didn’t.
‡ Dr. Yehuda David from Tel HaShomer hospital claims al Dura Snr. was treated for axe and knife wounds.
* Thanks CIF Watch
†† Photograph Tribune Juive www.tribunejuive.info