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May 21, 2008
Victory for Truth in Al-Dura Case
There are reports coming in from France that a French Court has overturned a libel verdict against Philippe Karsenty who has courageously challenged the veracity of French journalist's Charles Enderlin's filmed account of a battle that occurred in the Gaza Strip between Israeli troops and Palestinian terrorists.
The Palestinian version was that Israeli troops had killed a young boy, Muhammad al-Dura who was seen on the film crouching behind his father. There was a break in the film and then an image of the boy slumped over was seen. Palestinians and their supporters claimed that the Israeli troops had killed al-Dura; the cause became a cause celebre in the Arab world and played a role in stoking terrorism against Israel. In the heat of the events, the Israeli government accepted responsibility. However, after more investigation of the matter-looking at the placement of the Israeli and Palestinians, it became clear that the Israelis were too quick in accepting blame. Extended analysis made it clearer that the young boy was most probably killed by the Palestinians during the battle.
Karsenty had claimed that Enderlin and the Palestinian cameraman had faked the footage to place the blame on Israel. There were gaps in the film that was broadcast throughout the world, missing film that had been edited. Enderlin sued for libel and in the first round in France won. Karsenty appealed that verdict. The issue received a far more intensive analysis during the appeal. Today, that libel verdict was overturned.
Enderlin's mendacity cost a lot of lives.
Victory on appeal would seemingly corroborate claims that the Enderlin footage was, at best, not accurate and may indeed have been faked. French TV and Enderlin himself have refused to release the footage that was edited from their final version.
This is a major victory for not only Karsenty for but for all those who believe that the media should be held accountable for accurately and honestly recording and reporting on the events of the day. We have seen the photofakery during the Hezbollah-Israel war we have seen the al-Dura case; we have seen many other examples that all too often the media (like the terrorists) play by their own rules.
The French court just declared that sometimes the rules of law do triumph in the end.
Update via Haviv Rettig of the Jerusalem Post:
Enderlin is claiming that the appeals court has ruled that Karsenty failed to prove that the news was staged and/or false. He further stated that the case was nevertheless overturned because
Reportedly a source close to Enderlin explained that
Karsenty's claims are based on inconsistencies in the footage, including a publicly-available video-taped admission by Abu Rahma that there are untold secrets related to the case, the fact that only seven bullet holes are seen behind al-Dura despite Abu Rahma's repeated statements that the child survived 45 minutes of continuous shooting by Israeli forces directed at the boy, footage clearly showing pretend gun battles and faked ambulance runs at the junction that day, testimony of the IDF soldiers stationed at the junction who said they did not participate in any firefight that day, and the lack of footage of al-Dura's actual shooting.
Despite France 2's playing down of the verdict, some analysts believe it is significant. According to Gross,
What is important to keep in mind that only 55 seconds of the edited footage was shown to the world at the time the "incident" occurred. As part of the proceedings that found for Karsenty, France 2 was compelled to show an additional 18 minutes of the unedited footage. Detractors of France 2 and Enderlin believe there is even more footage that is being hidden. But apparently based on the additional 18 minutes of film, the court vindicated Karsenty,
How many lives would have been saved had Enderlin and French 2 been honest and forthright? Tom Gross of NRO provides us with additional information:
If there is a Hall of Shame for journalism, France 2 and Enderlin have earned a place therein.