Ten years too late, the Prime Minister’s Office makes it official: Just like the Muhammed Al-Dura shooting was staged for maximum anti-Israel effect, so too international media should not publish PA claims without checking them first.
The National Information Directorate of the Prime Minister’s Bureau has released a lengthy statement relating to the case of Muhammed al-Dura, a 12-year-old Arab boy who was allegedly killed during a crossfire between Israeli and PA forces in Gaza ten years ago. The France2 television network broadcast footage of the incident around the world, with narration by Jerusalem bureau chief Charles Enderlin announcing that Israeli soldiers killed him.
An Israeli general quickly assumed IDF responsibility for the boy’s death, and the issue became a cause celebre for the PA side against Israel. Evidence produced over the ensuing months and years proving that Israel was in fact not responsible for the death were all but ignored by media and Arab populaces around the world.
The Prime Minister’s official statement sets forth Israel's position in moderate tones:
“The findings in the case of Muhammed Al-Dura, and particularly the investigative report by German’s ARD 1 television station, arouse significant doubts regarding the accuracy of the claims by France 2 as they were broadcast on Sep. 30, 2000, according to which the boy was killed by fire from an IDF position.
“Ever since the incident, the methods by which the Palestinians have created and staged media events for propaganda purposes have been revealed. Even the reporter of the Al-Dura incident has admitted that he is aware that this is Palestinian policy. Two incidents stand out clearly in this regard: The movie purporting to show that Israel had committed a ‘massacre’ in Jenin, which never happened, and an incident in which a ‘dead body’ fell off the stretcher on which he was being carried, before the cameras – and began to walk.
“In light of all this, there is room to expect the international media to check carefully such reports, and not to publicize any reports with unsubstantiated claims.
“It should be emphasized that over the years, the Al-Dura case has been utilized by certain elements to promote hatred, anti-Semitism and incitement to attack Israelis.
“It is now clear that it was wrong to assign responsibility for this incident to the IDF or the State of Israel... Despite the presence of dozens of photographers at the site, there is no proof, filmed or otherwise, that Israeli forces fired towards the boy, other than the [dubious] film of France2... The distance, angle, and other signs show that the bullets fired at the boy did not come from the Israeli position.”
Minister of Information Yuli Edelstein was asked by Arutz-7 why it is that a statement of this nature is issued only ten years after the event. “It should have been released closer to the incident,” Edelstein acknowledged. “We have what to fix, but we must remember that the other side has no problem with lying in their propaganda. I’m not saying that we have to act like them, just like we do not act like them on the battlefield. But certainly things like the speed of our responses should be improved..."
Edelstein noted that Al-Dura’s death “is even now commemorated as a national day of mourning in some Arab nations… It is very hard to change our national image simply with better information and the like. Working against us is a machine well-oiled with billions of oil-industry dollars, and its entire purpose is to bring about the de-legitimization of Israel. Every response by us will elicit a counter-response from them.”
However, he says that the latest findings on Al-Dura should be publicized throughout the world.
Prominent in the battle to bring out the truth in the Al-Dura case are Philippe Karsenty of France, who accused France 2 of broadcasting staged and incomplete footage of the incident (omitting critical parts such as the moment of the actual death), and who was later sued for libel and was acquitted; Esther Shapira, who produced a documentary of the incident for ARD 1; and CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America).