Thursday, May 29, 2008

Israeli 'shooting' of Palestinian boy a media hoax

A guest post by STEPHEN SPARROW

[Note from Dawn: I invited reader Stephen Sparrow to write the following guest post after he alerted me to the French court verdict vindicating a journalist who said the video of the shooting of Palestinian boy Muhammad al-Dura was a staged hoax. Before you read it, I strongly recommend you view the video below by investigative journalist Richard Landes, who exposes the history of "Pallywood" deceptions.]

Stephen Sparrow writes:

Irrespective of how the modern state of Israel came into existence, the fact is that it exists, and for the last sixty years its government has stood resolute in its duty to see that Israeli citizens are protected.

You would think that since 1948, the Arab Muslim states that border Israel would gradually have got used to the idea of a Jewish State on their doorstep and have found some way for their respective populations to experience the novelty (for them) of democratic process, which brings in its wake peace and prosperity. It says something about the "herd" psyche of their religion that prevents this happening.

But why do Western media interests faun over Islamic states and shun Israel? Why does the media highlight every apparent human rights transgression by Israel and turn a blind eye to the appalling blood-soaked actions of Islamic-style governance? I suspect that in many cases Western journalists are too cowardly to ply their trade openly in such places as Algeria, Iran or Syria. But Israel, being a Western-style democracy, is seen as a soft touch—because, funny thing, the media folk actually feel safe there. At least, if they are reporting on matters in Gaza, they can do a hit-and-run and an hour later be safely sipping a gin-and-tonic while under the protection of Israel’s armed forces.

In connection with this, I was alerted this week by a David Warren piece about a particularly nasty reported act of Israeli brutality. As Warren says, everyone watching television around that time will be familiar with the event and will have seen the film clip repeatedly. He relates: “The incident was the alleged shooting of a little boy by Israeli troops in Gaza, in September 2000. His name was (purportedly) Muhammad al-Dura. … A Palestinian man and boy are shown cowering by a wall. Then suddenly the boy is shown dead in his father’s arms. The voice-over explains that he was picked off by an Israeli marksman.”

Well, it now comes to light that the whole thing was a play-acted fraud, and this was finally confirmed just five days ago with a French court decision.

Initially, Phillipe Karsenty,head of the French media watchdog agency Media Ratings, examined raw footage of the clip broadcast on the French state television channel, France-2, and declared it to be a hoax. France 2 sued Karsenty for defamation and won. Karsenty then appealed the defamation conviction and the higher court found in his favor May 21. All of this has festered on for nearly eight years.

Now. if you do a little digging you will uncover a web of intrigue that should both amaze and horrify you. When Media Ratings began its official investigation, it was frustrated by France 2 deliberately holding back some vital minutes of the film clip citing as their reason that “images of the boy's agony … were unbearable and unnecessary for the newscast”. In actual fact, the missing film would have made the forgery obvious to a child. The Israeli military have consistently held that an Inquiry immediately following the incident disclosed that no Israeli soldier was in a position that would have allowed them to even see the boy and his father let alone shoot them. The Metula News Agency maintains that senior officials at France 2 lied and that “the entire Al Dura incident was staged with the purpose of "demonizing the Israeli army." Reuters fell for the forgery and gave it wide distribution.

And the result of those lies are thousands of innocent men, women and children killed, maimed, or made homeless. Many more have been poisoned with an intense hatred of those they perceive as enemies. And the bloodshed continues—the blood now staining the hands of senior staff at France 2.