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|The Unpeaceful Rest of Mohammed Al-Dura, By Gal Beckerman|
How French 2 could have quelled the controversy
No single event was responsible for igniting the Second Intifada, which began seven years ago and effectively killed off the peace process between
Regardless, once the killing began there was one media event that, indisputably and instantaneously, fanned the flames and primed the Palestinian people and the wider Arab world for confrontation: the televised death of twelve-year-old Mohammed al-Dura.
The fifty-nine seconds of edited footage, aired on
The Israeli Army initially took responsibility for the death. But in the years since, a cottage industry of both conspiracy theorists and honest researchers have questioned whether al-Dura really was killed by an Israeli bullet or even - and this, until recently, was mostly the provenance of conspiracy theorists - the whole event was staged as Palestinian propaganda (or Pallywood, as one obsessive has described it). James Fallows, the respected correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, had the most thorough examination of all sides in a June 2003 article. The conclusion he came to, as he reiterated on his blog yesterday, was this:
I ended up arguing in my article that the official’ version of the event could not be true. Based on the known locations of the boy, his father, the Israeli Defense Force troops in the area, and various barriers, walls, and other impediments, the IDF soldiers simply could not have shot the child in the way most news accounts said they had done . I became fully convinced by the negative case (IDF was innocent). But I did not think there was enough evidence for the even more damning positive indictment (person or persons unknown staged a fake death or perhaps even a real death, for blood libel’ purposes).
Fallows felt the need to remind readers of his conclusion because there has lately been a flurry of news surrounding the al-Dura case. As Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet political prisoner and Israeli politician, pointed out in a Wall Street Journal op-ed yesterday, French courts ruled last year in favor of
Possibly in response to Sharansky’s op-ed, the Israeli government, through the director of its press office, announced today that it too had come to the conclusion that, the events of that day were essentially staged by the network’s cameraman in
The story might be settled soon, though. As part of Karsenty’s appeal, judges in the appeals court last week ordered
This is good news, if only to clear up an episode that has inflamed passions on both sides.
I tend to trust Fallows in this. I imagine the tapes will probably show that the Israeli soldiers did not kill the boy, and that the cause of his death was either unclear or the result of a Palestinian bullet. Either way, it should be pretty obvious that when you’re dealing with such murkiness, the best thing to do is throw as much light as possible on the story. It just seems strange that it has taken two court cases to force
Mis en ligne le 12 octobre 2007, sur le site debriefing.org