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Comments in 2012 and 2011



Pointless report on another pointless child-killing

This posting has 4 items:
1) PIC: Al Mezan: Israeli denial of al-Dorra Killing is a new attempt to hide Israeli occupation forces’ crimes , response from the Mezan centre for human rights;
2) Ha’aretz editorial: Israel’s focus on al-Dura is harmful propaganda, which won’t improve Israel’s image of being responsible for too many children’s deaths;
3) Ma’an news: Jamal al-Dura: Israel killed my son in cold blood, he asks “Who showered Muhammad and his father with bullets while they were unarmed?” ;
4) Mondoweiss: Israeli report on al-Dura case is vengeful and ‘surreal,’ says Haaretz — but ‘NYT’ treats it as gospel, round-up of comments – and the witnesses who were not questioned;

Al Mezan: Israeli denial of al-Dorra Killing is a new attempt to hide Israeli occupation forces’ crimes

By Palestinian Information Centre
May 22, 2013

GAZA– Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly denounced the Israeli authorities’ denial of its responsibility for the killing of the child Mohammed al-Durra during the second Palestinian uprising in 2000, saying that it is “a new Israeli attempt to exempt forces from responsibility for violations of International law.”

The Israeli government’s investigation committee, which was formed in September 2012 in order to conduct investigations into the killing of the Palestinian child, Mohammed al-Durra, stated that at the end of the film that captured the incident and was aired by the French television channel France 2, al-Durra was still alive.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns “Israel’s policy of denial as an attempt to escape its responsibility for the death of Mohammed. The formation of the investigation committee came 12 years after the incident, heard no witnesses and reviewed no credible resources about the event.”

The French channel’s correspondent who filmed the incident where Jamal al-Durra and his young son were targeted and were trying to protect themselves from live fire.

The Israeli occupation forces continue to mislead public opinion regarding its actions in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), especially in the Gaza Strip, the center noted.

Al Mezan stressed that “Israel has thus far refused to cooperate with almost all of the UN investigative missions to the oPt.”

Israel has amended its laws to prevent Palestinians’ access to any form of justice or redress within the Israeli justice system. This development entrenches a serious state of impunity and denial of any remedies for Palestinians affected by Israel’s occupation of the oPt and acts as encouragement to the Israeli occupying forces to violate the rules of international law, the center added in its press release.

The center concluded by stressing that the international community’s failure to stand by its obligations has further encouraged Israel to continue with its crimes and policies of denial and impunity, with complete disregard to its obligation under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.

Israel’s focus on al-Dura is harmful propaganda

The report released on the death of Mohammed al-Dura doesn’t lift the fog off the case, if there ever was any. Instead, it raises a more painful issue: the many young people killed by IDF soldiers during the second intifada.

Ha’aretz Editorial
May 21, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a report on Sunday from a government investigative committee working under the auspices of the International Relations and Strategic Affairs Ministry, entitled “The Report by French Television Network France 2 on the Case of Mohammed al-Dura, its Results and Ramifications.” According to the human rights group B’Tselem, 951 children and teens were killed by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza between 2000 and 2008, yet no government committee was ever established to investigate the circumstances of their deaths. Only in the al-Dura case was such a committee convened.

Al-Dura became a symbol, an international icon of child-killing by the Israel Defense Forces, after France 2 and its local correspondent, Charles Enderlin, documented the boy’s killing in real time. Since then, certain individuals around the world have been obsessively investigating the circumstances of his death in an effort to prove that the IDF wasn’t responsible, or even that al-Dura wasn’t killed at all. This wasn’t enough, however, for the Israeli government, which established its own panel.

The report doesn’t bring any new evidence that would significantly alter the accepted version of events − that al-Dura was killed by IDF soldiers. “There is no evidence that Jamal [the boy’s father, who was wounded in the incident] or the boy were hurt,” says the abstract at the beginning of the report. The report’s authors arrive at that dubious conclusion using a collection of circumstantial evidence, some of it barely serious, like the impressions of an Israeli pathologist who watched the video.

The committee never contacted Enderlin, and it ignored the fact that Jamal was hospitalized in Amman, where he underwent surgery and other treatment for his wounds. The report might raise some questions, but it comes to no clear conclusions.

It would have been better had this committee never been established. The obsession with the al-Dura case should have been left to a handful of investigators who represent only themselves, instead of becoming an issue that consumed government resources. This report doesn’t lift the fog off this case, if there ever was any. Instead, it raises a more painful issue: the many young people killed by IDF soldiers during the second intifada.

If the government had chosen to investigate that, perhaps it would have been reasonable to include a chapter on the al-Dura incident. But focusing only on him is mere propaganda that won’t in any way improve Israel’s problematic image of being responsible for too many children’s deaths.

1519 children have been killed by Israeli forces since Sep 2000. Their names and stories are recorded at: Remember The Children – Memorial

Jamal al-Dura: Israel killed my son in cold blood

By Ma’an news
May 20/22, 2013

GAZA CITY — The father of Muhammad al-Dura, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in 2000, said Monday that he was not surprised by Israel’s refusal to take responsibility for his son’s death.

“Every year the Israelis come up with a new narrative,” Jamal al-Dura told Ma’an. “Yes, Muhammad is still alive in our hearts and in the hearts of the Arab and Islamic nation as well as all the noble people who support the Palestinian cause.”

France 2 reporter Charles Enderlin’s reportage on the incident shows the death of 12-year-old Muhammad in the arms of his father in Sept. 30, 2000 after being caught in the crossfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants at the start of the second intifada.

An Israeli report by the ministry of international affairs and strategy said raw footage of the incident showed that Muhammad was seen alive in the video.

“Israel committed that crime in cold blood, and they know quite well that Muhammad and the Palestinian people are going after them,” Jamal al-Durra told Ma’an.

“Who showered Muhammad and his father with bullets while they were unarmed?” he asked.

Muhammad was the eldest son in the al-Dura family. A year after his death, the family had another boy and named him after Muhammad. He is now 11 years old.

“I am proud that my father named me after my brother who died a martyr,” he told Ma’an.

In response to an AFP query Enderlin, the Jerusalem correspondent for the television channel that broadcast the original news report, said: “We are ready for an independent public inquiry.”

“We have always said, including to the supreme court, that we were ready for an independent public inquiry by international standards.”

Philippe Karsenty, director of watchdog group Media Ratings, was convicted of defamation in 2006 for accusing France 2 of doctoring the images in the original report, but the ruling was overturned in 2008.

An appeals court in Paris will issue its final ruling on the affair on Wednesday.

Israeli forces have killed 1,397 Palestinian children in the occupied Palestinian territories since 2000, the year of Muhammad al-Dura’s disputed death, according to Defense for Children International Palestine.

A mural of Jamal al-Dura in Bamako, capital of Mali northern Africa, photo by AFP/John MacDougall.

Israeli report on al-Dura case is vengeful and ‘surreal,’ says Haaretz — but ‘NYT’ treats it as gospel

By Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss
May 20, 2013

Famously, 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura was killed in the second intifada, during a shootout in Gaza in September 2000; haunting footage of the boy’s cowering with his father, first broadcast on French public television, became a symbol of the brutality of the occupation. But this weekend the Israeli government produced a report asserting that the boy and his father may well have escaped the shootout unscathed.

The Guardian emphasizes the political stakes for Israel in making this assertion:

Yuval Steinitz, the minister of strategic affairs, who presented the report, described the affair as “a modern-day blood libel against the state of Israel … The France 2 report was utterly baseless.”

But the French reporter who first broadcast the footage on France2, says that Israel didn’t even interview the boy’s father, Jamal, and that witnesses to the killing are willing to undergo polygraph tests. Charles Enderlin:

Aucune autorité israélienne n’a contacté France 2, Jamal al Dura, Talal Abou Rahmeh le cameraman à des fins d’enquête ou d’autres protagonistes.

Barak Ravid in Haaretz says the report is “surreal” because it comes out 13 years after the event, then he goes on to describe it as vengeful and :

The report also appears to be a campaign of revenge launched by the State of Israel against a single French journalist, Charles Enderlin, who first reported Mohammed al-Dura’s death. Committee members tried to saddle Enderlin, an Israeli Jew who has been living here for over 30 years, with all of Israel’s problems and those of the Jewish people.

The committee went even further and hinted at Enderlin’s responsibility for the massacre of Jewish schoolchildren in Toulouse. “His report inspired many terrorists and contributed to the demonization of Israel and to the rise of anti-Semitism in Muslim and Western countries”, wrote committee members. “In some cases, the implications were deadly”.

The damage done by this report could be greater than any doubtful utility. Its publication, accompanied by an international public relations campaign only threatens to awaken sleeping dogs, for if the international press picks up on the report, it could lead to a renewed discussion on Palestinian children getting hurt during IDF operations.

Now let’s turn to the stenographic New York Times. Its account by Isabel Kershner treats the Israeli government report as absolutely credible–it hints that the shootout was staged and even says the boy in the footage “was identified as Muhammad al-Dura,” as if there’s even dispute over who he was:

[T]he facts behind the images have been disputed almost from the start, and on Sunday, the Israeli government asserted that there was no evidence for the original account of the event, which was that the boy was hit by Israeli bullets — and that it was even possible that neither the boy nor his father had been struck by any bullets at all….

The Israeli government review suggested, as other critics have, that the France 2 footage might have been staged. It noted anomalies like the apparent lack of blood in appropriate places at the scene, and said that raw footage from the seconds after the boy’s apparent death seem to show him raising his arm.

“Contrary to the report’s claim that the boy is killed, the committee’s review of the raw footage showed that in the final scenes, which were not broadcast by France 2, the boy is seen to be alive,” the review said.

It’s not until paragraph 8 that Kershner reports on disagreements with the Israeli report. She leaves till the last paragraph Enderlin’s assertion that the Israelis never interviewed Jamal al-Dura or other witnesses.

Here are a couple of English tweets from Enderlin raising questions about the Israeli government report:

Charles Enderlin ‏@Charles1045 17h
The Israeli report: Jamal al dura was not injured.. Did the King of Jordan knew it when he visited him in hospital in Amman?

Charles Enderlin ‏@Charles1045 17h
the Israeli report: jamal al dura was not injured so, the Jordanian surgeons who operated him 48h later are they liars?

A friend points out:

The New York Times has a reporter, Fares Akram, in Gaza City. Jamal al-Durah lives in Bureij refugee camp, 40 minutes from Gaza City. The Israeli report suggests Jamal was not even wounded in the shooting, much less his son injured or killed.

Couldn’t the NY Times have done the simple due diligence of interviewing him and asking if he says he was shot? Does anyone believe that after 13 years of this he would be hard to locate?

Ali Abunimah comments:

NYT puts out any old conspiracy theory fed to it by Israel. Doesn’t speak to a single Palestinian of course

Unlike the Times, Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian gives prominence to Enderlin’s rebuttal of the report, and explains why the case is so important for Israel:

the committee’s conclusions were rejected by France 2, the French public television channel that broadcast the report, its reporter Charles Enderlin, and the boy’s father, Jamal al-Dura. All said they were ready to co-operate with an independent international investigation into the incident, and Enderlin and Dura added they were willing to undergo polygraph tests….
According to the Israeli government press release that accompanied the report, “the narrative spawned by the France 2 report has served as an inspiration and justification for terrorism, antisemitism, and the delegitimisation of Israel”.
The committee, set up in 2012 by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to examine the incident “in the light of the continued damage it has caused to Israel”, concluded that IDF gunfire was not responsible for the death of Muhammad and injuries to his father. Its 36-page report said France 2’s “central claims and accusations had no basis in the material which the station had in its possession at the time … There is no evidence that the IDF was in any way responsible for causing any of the alleged injuries to Jamal or the boy…”
After receiving the report, Netanyahu said the incident had “slandered Israel’s reputation” and was a “manifestation of the ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimise Israel”.
Yuval Steinitz, the minister of strategic affairs, who presented the report, described the affair as “a modern-day blood libel against the state of Israel … The France 2 report was utterly baseless.”

My media-savvy friend continues:

It would seem that to believe Israel’s version, you have to believe that in a chaotic situation an organized Palestinian conspiracy somehow may have staged this shooting and/or its aftermath (with active complicity from France2), putting the father and son up to it. In the best case Israel has claimed that Palestinians actually shot them– not entirely impossible in a chaotic situation– but in the worst case in this new report Israel asserts they may not even have been shot and raises doubts that the boy was ever really killed! Where does Israel claim the boy went? One has to have to have such a distorted view of Palestinians as fundamentally manipulative liars, willing to do absolutely anything in order to go along with the Israeli report’s suggestions.”

It is interesting that Times reporter Isabel Kershner’s husband, Hirsh Goodman, working for Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, 3 years ago called on Israel to mount a “public diplomacy” offensive to get out its side of such stories: “in the context of post-Goldstone realities and the concerted campaign to besmirch Israel and de-legitimize the country, it is probably as important, if not more so, than the conventional battles Israel faces.”

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