Israel Did Not Kill
Mohammed al Dura

March 10, 2005

The Jerusalem Post briefly mentioned (Feb 25, 2005) the comment of French journalist Daniel Leconte – one of the few to have examined the complete, unedited footage in which the child Mohammed Al Dura was allegedly killed by Israeli soldiers, 30 September, 2000.

You may well recall that footage ”“ it had the world in uproar. Israel, the world`s favorite scapegoat and whipping boy had been caught red handed. Israelis hung their heads in shame especially when an army spokesman lamely admitted Israel might have been to blame.

The worlds media had a real Israel hate fest . . . indeed the damage to Israels reputation cannot be undone. It was only much later (far too late) after the army properly investigated the matter that it concluded Israeli soldiers could not have fired the lethal bullets.

Shot in the back

Thus it was only on Nov. 28, 2000, that Maj.-Gen. Yom Tov Samia stated at an international press conference in Tel Aviv:

“. . . the Al-Durrah`s were hit by a volley of bullets whereas the IDF soldiers were firing only single shots and did not use automatic fire. Jamal Al-Dura told reporters from his hospital bed in Jordan immediately after the incident, that his son had been shot in the back. This would mean that he (the boy) was shot by Palestinians who were on the eastern side of the wall.”

Daniel Leconte, who saw what the army did not, was more specific. He stated:

“The only ones who could hit the child were the Palestinians from their position. If they had been Israeli bullets, they would have been very strange bullets, because they would have needed to go around the corner.”

It never happened

I was personally exhilarated by Leconte`s conclusion because after I had somewhat recovered from the trauma of seeing that awful TV clip time and again for the next two days, I had come to the same conclusion. I had suddenly realized something was wrong with the TV story and penned the following in my article of Oct. 2, 2000:

For the boy to be killed by an Israeli, the bullet would have had to do a quick U turn after it passed the concrete container behind which they (the boy and his father) were sheltering! Neither Newtons nor Einsteins physics permit this. It is impossible. It never happened.”

So What Did Happen That Tragic Day?

“I was one of millions watching when they were both seemingly hit ”“ the son killed and the father wounded. I couldn`t believe Israeli snipers would target this hapless couple simply because they presented an easy target. And yet there it was, apparently live on TV. Seeing is believing ”“ or is it?

“The world saw the scene time and again. The brave father holding his petrified little boy to his back to save him from being killed. Shielding his son from the bullets that might come. Protecting him with his body.”

The Brave Father Shields His Son

“Facing the Israeli shooters (though we are not shown any soldiers) we see the father holding his son to his back, fiercely shaking his right hand at the shooters in a desperate attempt to stop them firing his way. Screaming or cursing, threatening or begging. Viewers couldnt hear but his message was clear: “Dont shoot us!”

“However, no fire was being directed at the father because no bullets hit his face or torso. Neither did we see any bullets hitting the front of the concrete container behind which father and son were crouching. Any bullet hitting the concrete would have left a mark and created a spatter of concrete dust. Nothing of the kind was seen.

“It didnt matter. Within seconds it was over. The son was dead and the father wounded. How terribly, undeniably sad. And how sad too, that at that moment, Israels image was the blackest it`s ever been.”

But How Could They Have Been Shot In The Back?

“Only later did it suddenly dawn on me that if the bullets which killed Mohammed Al-Dura, and wounded his father, had come from the front ”“ from where the Israelis were supposed to have been – how come they were shot in the back?

“The front, where the TV clip intimates the Israelis were positioned, is clearly evident from the father`s hand and his pointed fingers. Remember, he clutches his son to his back with his left hand, protecting him with his upper body. At the same time he uses his right hand to gesticulate angrily to the Israelis in front of him.

“If the boy had been held to his father`s chest the father would have taken all the bullets in his back. The father would have died, not the child.”

Evidence of Nahum Shahaf
Related by Amnon Lord

Veteran Israeli columnist, Amnon Lord, wrote a definitive report entitled “WHO KILLED MUHAMMAD AL-DURA?” for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Jerusalem Letter No. 482, 15 July 2002.)

He describes the many monthsexhaustive investigation of Nahum Shahaf, a physicist in Israel's defense establishment who has contributed significantly to the Israels defense capability. Here are relevant excerpts:

“Nahum Shahaf was among the leading developers of pilotless light aircraft and video instrumentation. Shahaf investigated the damage done by the Iraqi missiles in 1991 and concluded that part of the damage was caused by Patriot missiles. His work on the Muhammad Al-Dura affair was much more complicated. Shahaf accumulated and analyzed all available material connected to Al-Dura’s death.

“The raw videotape shows that the Palestinian television photographers themselves were part of the events, and that by the time their edited material was received by European, American, and Israeli news editors or networks, it was already in such a format that all that was needed was to add a few anti-Israel comments.

”The IDF investigation . . . was completed in January 2001 and reported that the cause of death of the child was not known. The IDF report also stated that no unedited film exists showing who shot the child. Furthermore, the father’s testimony, that Muhammad was hit in the back, does not square with the claim that he was shot by IDF soldiers.

“Gen. Yom-Tov Samia, head of the IDF Southern Command . . . said ”˜there was no Palestinian cooperation in the investigation, and they were not willing to allow an autopsy to be conducted`.”

“A German television inquiry on Shahaf`s conclusion, determined that Muhammad Al-Dura was not killed by IDF gunfire. Rather, the Palestinians, in cooperation with foreign journalists and the UN, arranged a well-staged production of his death.”

Amnon Lord`s complete article is available by following this link:

“Three Bullets and a Dead Child”

Lee Kaplan, Contributing Editor to FrontPage described (September 7, 2004) the German documentary produced by Journalist/Filmmaker, Esther Schapira. Here are relevant excerpts from Kaplan`s article:

“Esther Schapira, a documentary filmmaker in Germany has produced a remarkable film that reveals more than ever how the Palestinian Authority has used children to advance its goal of attacking Israel in the world media.

“Schapiras documentary shows . . . how a Palestinian cameraman engaged in film manipulations as well as how a French television station created a propaganda moment for Arafats Palestinian Authority.

“Some film outtakes even show shots of the boy and his father positioning themselves as if for a visual bite when they easily could have exited the scene with the other Palestinians present.

“Through exhaustive interviews with the Israel Defense Forces and through forensic studies, the film reveals how it was impossible for Israeli soldiers to have shot Mohammed al-Dura.

“Forensic reports made by the Palestinians further show that whoever shot the boy would have to have been in the Palestinian camp””that is if the boy and his father were ever really shot at all.

“But make no mistake: this is an objective film. It shows how the Israelis could not have killed the boy and does so without being preachy or taking sides.”

Doreen Carvajal in the New York Times
and The International Herald

Doreen Carvajal is another veteran journalist who involved herself in resolving the “Who killed Mohammed Dura” puzzle. Her exclusive article for the New York Times and The International Herald was published February 7, 2005, entitled:

“Photo of Palestinian Boy
Kindles Debate in France”.

The following are abbreviated extracts from Ms. Carjaval`s detailed investigation. (Subheads mine.) Links to her original article are provided at the end.

French Investigation

“Pierre Rehov began filming his revealing documentaries after concluding that the Al Dura tapes were faked. There is now a court case in France on this story. At the center of this dispute is the state-run television station France 2. and its Jerusalem correspondent, Charles Enderlin.

German Examination

“In 2002 Esther Schapira released her German documentary, “Three Bullets and a Child: Who Killed the Young Muhammad al-Dura?” to address lingering questions about whether the boy was killed by Israelis or Palestinians.

“In preparation for her 2002 documentary Schapira tried unsuccessfully to see a master copy of the tape. She was astonished when France 2 did not share it because European stations commonly exchange material. ”˜If there is nothing to hide,she said of France 2's initial reluctance, ”˜what are they afraid of?”

“Richard Landes, Professor, Boston University studied the day`s full footage from other Western news.

“”˜We could argue about every frame,` Landes said. But after watching the scenes involving Muhammad al-Dura three times, he concluded that it had probably been faked, along with footage on the same tape of separate street clashes and ambulance rescues.

“”˜I came to the realization that Palestinian cameramen, especially when there are no Westerners around, engage in the systematic staging of action scenes,he said, calling the footage ”˜Pallywood cinema.`

“”˜Manipulation of news is nothing new ”“ the Palestinians have made it a specialty, filming staged moments at every opportunity, for future use.`

France 2, TV Channel:

Did Muhammed Really Die?

“Because questions had been raised, France 2 decided to show the original 27-minute tape to The International Herald Tribune.

“When Mr. Leconte and Mr. Jeambar saw the full footage, they were struck that there was no definitive scene showing that the boy had died. They wrote, however, that they were not convinced that the scene was staged, but only that (the) ”˜famous ”˜agony’ (scene) from the montage does not exist`.

“To counter (continuing) criticism France 2 called a news conference and prepared a frame-by-frame folder of photographs, including blow-ups to respond to skeptics who argued that blood was not visible.

“But critics like Luc Rosenzweig, a former Le Monde reporter and radio host, want an independent medical expert’s opinion.

“This has emboldened critics like the Metula News Agency and Philippe Karsenty, who runs a small, Paris-based media watchdog group – and one of the station’s intended legal targets; along with Media-Ratings, have called on (France 2 executives) Ms. Chabot and Mr. Enderlin to resign.

We will offer 10,000 euros to a charity chosen by France 2 if the chain can demonstrate to us and a panel of independent experts that the Sept. 30, 2000, report shows the death of the Palestinian child, said Mr. Karsenty, who has urged French officials to start an inquiry.” worldbusiness/07video.html?pagewanted=2&oref=loginboth

The Wall Street Journal Nov. 26, 2004

Headlined “The Mythical Martyr”, Stephane Juffa follows through on the France 2 episode, pivotal to the whole mystery since this news agency is the sole owner of the original 27 minute long video footage. I quote:

“France 2 distributed the dramatic coverage free of charge to the global media. What turned these images into a modern blood-libel against Israel was the voice-over of Charles Enderlin, the France 2 correspondent in Jerusalem.

“Even though Enderlin was not in Gaza when the alleged killing happened, he told viewers with great confidence that the ”˜shooting comes from the Israeli position.`”

“He Was Not Shot By Israeli Soldiers” — James Fallows

This was the conclusion drawn by James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and author of “Breaking the News” (1996) and other books, in his intensively detailed article “WHO SHOT M0HMMAED AL-DURA”, May 2003.

Fallows has probably written the most objective and complete report (6528 words) on the Al Dura case to date. His is the most serious study I have read. Here is his conclusion:

“Whatever happened to him (Mohammed al-Dura), he was not shot by the Israeli soldiers who were known to be involved in the day’s fighting – or so I am convinced, after spending a week in Israel talking with those examining the case.

“The exculpatory evidence comes not from government or military officials in Israel, who have an obvious interest in claiming that their soldiers weren’t responsible, but from other sources.”

“The research has been done by a variety of academics, ex-soldiers, and Web-loggers who have become obsessed with the case, and the evidence can be cross-checked.”

Fallows deals fully with the possibility that the whole episode may have been staged by Palestinians to win a propaganda victory. (Though they probably had little advance understanding of just how great a propaganda victory their staged depiction would turn out to be.)

A link is provided below for readers who want the full story. To avoid reader fatigue I provide only brief excerpts of Fallow`s evidence below:

“Early in the morning of Saturday, September 30, a crowd of Palestinians gathered at the Netzarim crossroads. TV crews, photographers, and reporters from many news agencies, including Reuters, AP, and the French television network France 2, were also at the ready.

“Because so many cameras were running for so many hours, there is abundant documentary evidence of most of the day’s events – with a few strange and crucial exceptions, most of them concerning Mohammed al-Dura.

“To watch the raw footage is to wonder, repeatedly, What is going on here? In some scenes groups of Palestinians duck for cover from gunfire while others nonchalantly talk or smoke just five feet away.

“At one dramatic moment a Palestinian man dives forward clutching his leg, as if shot in the thigh. An ambulance somehow arrives to collect him exactly two seconds later, before he has stopped rolling from the momentum of his fall.

“Another man is loaded into an ambulance – and, in footage from a different TV camera, appears to jump out of it again some minutes later.

“Jacki Lyden said on NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered that the boy had been “caught in crossfire.” She then interviewed the France 2 cameraman, Talal Abu-Rahma, who said that he thought the Israelis had done the shooting.

“Bullets had not been recovered from the boy’s body at the hospital, and the family was hardly willing to agree to an exhumation to re-examine the wounds.

“From the one location where Israeli soldiers are known to have been, the only way to hit the boy would have been to shoot through the concrete barrel.

“But photographs taken after the shooting show no damage of any kind on the side of the barrel facing the al-Duras – that is, no bullets went through.

“That the concrete barrel lay between the outpost and the boy, and no bullets had gone through the barrel – could be confirmed independently from news footage.”

The above puts paid to the story floated much later, that father and son were shot from the front. That is to say that the bullets had gone through the concrete container into their torsos! {} {} {}

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