Al-Dura Trial: Karsenty Wins in Paris

The iconic images of Mohammad al-Dura’s alleged death in Gaza inflamed Palestinian sentiment and provoked terrible bloodshed. Despite the evidence that Israel was not responsible for firing the bullets that hit al-Dura, and doubts as to the credibility of the footage taken from the scene, this libel has continued to prevail.

HonestReporting has brought you the news directly from the trial of Philippe Karsenty, who accused France 2 and its reporter Charles Enderlin of knowingly broadcasting doctored footage of the al-Dura incident.

To recall, France 2 successfully sued Karsenty who then appealed against the verdict. At the appeal trial, some of the raw footage taken during that fateful day in Gaza was aired to a packed courtroom that witnessed numerous examples of “Pallywood” staging of events. France 2, however, only made available some 18 out of 27 minutes of footage that apparently exists.

Evidently, these scenes and the unreliability of France 2′s cameraman Talal Abu Rahma has convinced the French appeals judge. Philippe Karsenty has won the appeal against his libel conviction.

Media commentator Tom Gross, who has previously reviewed (see our exclusive video) the al-Dura affair for HonestReporting, said in response to the verdict:

Today’s ruling shows there are serious doubts about France 2′s version of events, and that the entire world press – including the American TV networks – were irresponsible in being so quick to take at face value the claims of a local Palestinian cameraman working for France 2, a cameraman who has admitted his partisanship.

Karsenty said in a statement released after his victory:

The al-Dura lie is an assault on our ability to think, to criticize, to evaluate, and finally to reject information – especially the right to reject information on which we base our most cherished assumptions. One of Europe’s most cherished assumptions is that Israel is a vicious Nazi-like entity that deliberately murders Palestinian Arab children. Moreover, polls conducted in Europe have identified Israel as the greatest threat to world peace, greater than Iran and North Korea, Pakistan and Syria. The al-Dura hoax is one of the pillars on which these assumptions rely. …

Now it is time for France 2 to acknowledge that it created and is continuing to perpetuate the worst anti-Semitic libel of our era.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

At the time of writing, the full judgment had not been released to the media. However, Take A Pen’s Endre Mozes was in the courtroom delivering firsthand accounts of proceedings to HonestReporting. Mozes spoke with some of the lawyers involved who had seen a copy of the judgment prior to its forthcoming release.

Amongst his observations and the comments from these lawyers was the court’s acceptance of the argument that protagonists operating in non-democratic regimes such as the Palestinian areas are inherently less reliable and should be carefully scrutinized as should have been the case with Talal Abu Rahma.

Essentially, the court decided the level of doubt associated with the al-Dura footage warrants deep analysis. It is perfectly legitimate to question it, not libelous.

Philippe Karsenty’s efforts have opened up France 2 to scrutiny and serves as an example of how the media should be held accountable for their material and the consequences of their reporting. France 2′s al-Dura footage has been shown in court to be unreliable and possibly fake. Along with a number of investigations concluding that Israel was not responsible for the bullets that allegedly killed the boy, the icon that is al-Dura – the edifice upon which so much hostility has been directed at Israel, aided and abetted by a willing media – comes toppling down.

WHERE IS THE COVERAGE?

So far, despite access to Reuters and Associated Press wire reports, only Jewish and Israeli media have published the trial verdict. The mainstream media has regrettably remained silent. Is the same media that did so much to propagate the al-Dura libel without verifying the facts now too embarrassed to admit that they may have erred?

If your local media outlet has not covered this story, write to it and ask why not. While Philippe Karsenty has had his day in court, the State of Israel and all of those victims of the terror and violence fueled by images of al-Dura deserve nothing less.

Some of our own subscribers were not even in their teens in 2000 when the al-Dura case occurred and may not even remember it. Some of those who do remember have questioned why we should continue to pursue this case several years later.

We believe that, irrespective of how long it may take, the truth will emerge. Accountability and justice do not dissipate over time. HonestReporting will continue to hold the media to account and to revisit those cases where an injustice has been done.

COMING SOON – THE BIG LIES

HonestReporting will be bringing you the court’s full judgment as part of a brand new interactive resource – The Big Lies. Using multimedia resources, including audio and video footage, al-Dura is but one of a number of case studies where untrue accusations have been reported as facts. This exciting resource will enable you to examine the lies, how the media presented them, and the real facts, as well as further resources to counter the next “Big Lie”.

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