Alyssa Lappen at FrontPage takes us inside the twilight world of the propaganda jihad. Remember Mohammed Al-Dura, the little Palestinian boy who was shot dead on film by Israeli troops? You couldn’t have missed it: the footage was replayed endlessly, and became the foundation of international outrage against Israel. But one inconvenient little detail is becoming increasingly clear: it didn’t happen. The whole thing was staged by Palestinian propagandists, apparently with the knowledge and consent of major media outfits.
This one makes Memogate look like a walk in the park.
More than four years have passed since the picture of Mohammed Al Durrah was aired across the world, but the public still imagines the boy’s Sept. 30 2000 presence at Netzarim junction in terms described by President Clinton in My Life:
“As the violence persisted, two vivid images of its pain and futility emerged,” he writes: “a twelve year old Palestinian boy shot in the crossfire and dying in his father’s arms, and two Israeli soldiers pulled from a building and beaten to death, with their lifeless bodies dragged through the streets and one of their assailants proudly showing his bloodstained hands to the world on television.”
In short, Al Durrah should never have been juxtaposed with a lynching, much less by the leader of the free world. Two weeks after the Al Durrah tapes aired, two Jewish soldiers lost their way in Ramallah, where they were savagely beaten to death, their innards eaten by hysterical and frenzied crowds screaming Allah Akbar–God is great–and seeking revenge for the supposed death of the boy. Indeed, the Al Durrah case is nothing more than a classic Islamic incitement to jihad.
But evidently, the shooting was merely photographic. “The violence erupted after the Al Durrah incident,” notes Daniel Seaman, director of Israel’s Government Press Office, who openly calls the incident a hoax, a staged forgery.
Since Seaman made this charge publicly in late 2002, few mainstream news media picked up the story. These include the European Wall Street Journal and New York Sun, which both ran columns in November, respectively by Stephane Juffa, the Metula Press Agency (MENA) chief in Israel and Nidra Poller, an expatriate writer in France.
Nearly two years ago, France 2 Jerusalem bureau chief Charles Enderlin — also the vice president of Israel’s foreign press association — threatened to sue. On January 2, 2003, the legal adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wrote to Enderlin, noting that Israel is a free country. Seaman named neither Enderlin nor France 2. But if he felt injured by Seaman’s remarks, Enderlin was more than welcome to take appropriate legal action. The counsel advised Enderlin, Israel has “reliable information” that the case was indeed a fraud, the counsel advised Enderlin, however. At long last, in November, attorneys of France 2 and Enderlin have sued in France — not Seaman, not Israel, not Metula, not the Wall Street Journal, but “X.”
Before detailing French statutes making such a preposterous case possible, a brief recap of the Al Durrah hoax is in order. On Sept. 30, 2000, dozens of reporters and cameraman waited around for news as children lobbed stones, Molotov cocktails and heavy appliances from the ground and nearby buildings onto the roof of the only Israeli guard post at Netzarim Junction. In a superb investigative coup, renowned Israeli physicist Nacham Shahaf wrested three hours of raw September 30 news reels from Reuters and the Associated Press. These rushes show very clearly that the Israelis shot only when fired upon, and that Palestinians walked around without fear.
Another important fact shows too: The Israeli post was situated at a very wide angle to the position of Jamal and Mohammed Al Durrah–behind a Palestinian warehouse two times its own height.
In other words, even if the Israelis were filmed shooting, which they weren’t, it was physically impossible for them to have wounded either Mohammed or his father Jamal Al Durrah, who were crouched, entirely out of view, behind a barrel topped by a cement cinder block. On the Al Durrah’s side, moreover, the barrel has no bullet holes. If bullets penetrated it from the Israeli side, they did not come out.
Whoever shot at the Al Durrahs that day, it was not the Israelis.
Shooting footage was Talal Abu Rahmeh, a Palestinian stringer for AP and Reuters, who created the icon of supposed Israeli brutality. Abu Rahmeh said under oath that he shot 27 minutes of film. In tapes broadcast worldwide, he asserted that Israeli soldiers subjected the man and the boy to 45 minutes of withering fire, that Israelis intentionally shot the boy dead.
Abu Rahmeh said the boy bled for 20 minutes. The father said he was shot in the hand, arm, and leg and that his elbow and pelvis were crushed–and that a bullet ripped through his son’s stomach and exited from his back.
But in the rushes, there is no blood on either the victims or the ground. The supposed 27 minutes of footage was apparently less than three minutes. Three hours of additional rushes from AP and Reuters obtained by Shahaf show much more besides.
At the rear of the warehouse, inside a hollowed out room, several armed and uniformed Palestinian Arabs were filmed on Sept. 30, 2000, talking calmly with directors. The latter then clear the area before takes. Since when do fighters take their cues from civilians?
Later the same day, at least five AP and Reuters photographers taped the same Palestinians firing through a large hole in the rear cinder block wall into the empty warehouse room they had quietly occupied hours earlier. At whom were they firing? The Israeli position was on the other side of the warehouse, in a building half the size. Given their lack of fear and the positive glee of bystanders, these men were surely acting.
Thirty people were reportedly killed and hundreds wounded that day, but the rushes show not one critical injury. Every evacuation was careless of its effects on the supposed patients. One man grabs his leg as if shot, but like the Al Durrah’s remains unbloodied. He is then roughly loaded onto a gurney–on his “injured” leg. Another young man hands off a Molotov cocktail before being swooped into his colleagues arms and thrown into the back of a waiting prop–one of several Red Crescent and UN ambulances. Actors clap and laugh as its doors close. Others were caught sunbathing, talking on cell phones, standing nonchalantly, their backs turned to the Israelis. Clearly, these are mises en scene.
There is much more. Read it all.
UPDATE: Missketz kindly reminds me of this superb Atlantic Monthly piece also establishing that the whole thing was a fraud. (And here’s a link for non-subscribers to the Atlantic, with thanks to Louise.)