The al-Dura Incident
The al-Dura IncidentScreenshot

French media analyst Philippe Karsenty has been convicted of defamation for accusing French state television of staging the infamous footage of Mohammed al-Dura, the Arab boy who fueled a campaign of lies against the state of Israel and became a symbol of the second “intifada.”

The footage, broadcast on September 30, 2000 by the France 2 state television network, showed the boy cowering in fear beside his father amid a firefight in Gaza and alleged that he was intentionally killed by Israeli soldiers.

The Paris Court of Appeals, which had overturned Karsenty’s libel conviction in 2008, convicted Karsenty on Wednesday, fining him 7,000 euros, approximately $9,000, in the prolonged legal battle against the French television station.

While France 2’s Israel correspondent Charles Enderlin did not personally witness the incident, he claimed that al-Dura had been shot dead by IDF soldiers. 

Karsenty claimed the footage of al-Dura crouching with his father behind a barricade amid a whirlwind of bullets was orchestrated and perpetuated by French media which is determined to portray the Jewish state as a barbaric nation of child killers.

He claimed that the Mohammad al-Dura affair—as it has become infamously and globally known-- created “truth” out of pure fiction in an effort to demonize Israeli in the eyes of the international community.

Karsenty was convicted of libel in 2006, but the Paris appeals court overturned the verdict.

Last year, France’s highest court overturned the appeals court verdict, leading to Wednesday’s decision.

The Israeli government issued a report in May declaring that the footage was a hoax and that Mohammed al-Durah was not killed by Israeli fire.

The report noted the lack of blood stains on the boy and analyzed the direction of fire, which was determined to not have come from the Israeli side.

“Contrary to the report’s claim that the boy was killed, the committee’s review of the raw footage showed that in the final scenes, which were not broadcast by France 2, the boy is seen to be alive,” the report maintained.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the accusations aired on France 2 were “a manifestation of the ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimize Israel.”

Minister of International Affairs and Strategy Yuval Steinitz called the accusations baseless and said the affair was “a modern-day blood libel against the State of Israel.”

The Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center further asserted that "criminal charges should be filed, and Charles Enderlin should never be allowed to practice journalism in Israel again” as the result of his baseless campaign of lies.