LEADING TO DOOMSDAY – 3

February 26, 2011 at 7:23 am Leave a comment

Continued from “Why Jenin?” – https://truthandsurvival.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/leading-to-doomsday-%e2%80%93-2/

THE CAMERA OFTEN LIES

By RALPH DOBRIN

Ralph Dobrin is the author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”
To order the book click: http://www.amazon.com type: how to avoid Armageddon

Even before the advent of Photoshop, propagandists had turned the old adage, “A photo never lies,” on its head. Through shrewdly-worded captions any picture can make a convincing claim about anything. Also, photographs can be staged so as to convey any special message. In the case of television the addition of sound, accompanied by sincere-sounding commentary can make a picture be worth a million words in propaganda value. This was the case with the iconic Mohammed al-Durrah incident.

On September 30, 2000, which was the second day of the Second Intifada (Arab Uprising), a France 2 cameraman, Talal Abu Rahma, filmed a 27-minute video clip of a battle involving an Israeli army position and Gazan security forces at the Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip. What was shown to viewers on France 2 a few hours later was a dramatic scene, in which Jamal al-Durrah and his 12-year-old son, Mohammed, are seen crouching behind a concrete barrel, taking cover from fire from the Israeli position. Mohammed is seen, desperately clinging to his father and crying in terror, while his father is waving frantically to beg the soldiers to stop shooting. A sudden blast in front of them stirs up a cloud of dust that obscures the camera for a moment. When the dust settles we see a heart-rending scene: Mohammed is lying by his father with his head on his lap. The father also appears to have been seriously wounded.

In the broadcast the Israel bureau chief of France 2, Charles Enderlin told viewers that the father and son had been the “target of fire from the Israeli positions,” during which the boy had been killed. The clip was distributed free of charge to networks around the world. The scene aroused deep dismay and anger everywhere it was seen, and great wrath among the Palestinians, who were already engaged in a violent uprising, openly using firearms in their confrontation with the Israeli forces.

The death of Mohammed al-Durrah became a rallying cry. The slain boy was hailed throughout Arab and Muslim countries as a martyr. Streets and parks have been named after him in many countries; postage stamps show the picture of him and his father taking cover behind the concrete drum; a 51-storey skyscraper in Dubai is called the El-Durrah Tower.

But something didn’t seem right with the televised scene, which lasted for less than a minute (out of the 27 minutes filmed). While the father and son are seen cowering behind the concrete barrel, which supposedly shields them from the Israeli position, nevertheless, the wall against which they are seen leaning (and which is not facing the Israeli position) is suddenly struck by two bullets that appear to have come from somewhere 90 degrees to their right, a direction to which they are completely exposed. Clearly the bullets have not come from the direction of the Israeli position. A puff of dust from the impact of the bullet drifts very slightly to the left and a round hole appears where the bullet struck. There are a few more similarly sized, round holes on the wall. But this doesn’t make sense, because bullets fired from the direction from which they are taking cover (behind the barrel) – supposedly the Israeli position – would make very elongated holes because of the acute angle between the wall and the Israeli position. Yet the father and son continue leaving themselves exposed to the direction from which the bullets striking the wall have been fired. It was from this direction that cameraman Abu Rahma was shooting his film, while behind him was a position of armed Palestinian security forces.

Interestingly, the son, who had been half-sitting, half-kneeling at his father’s side, before the blast, is seen lying, fully-stretched out alongside his father after the dust clears. Surely, if a person is hit while sitting down, he doesn’t stretch out full-length into a lying position. He keels over, perhaps convulsively, and would normally remain in a crumpled position.

Another strange thing is that the cameraman had shouted, “The boy is dead,” even before the blast, when the lad was still holding on to his father.
To any discerning viewer the scene should have prompted a few questions. And indeed, a number of serious commentators, journalists and researchers began to ask questions. Apart from the shape of the bullet holes that were clearly inconsistent with the position of the Israeli soldiers, why hadn’t the cameraman focused on Mohammed and his father after they had been hit, in order to see the extent of their injuries and to witness their evacuation.

Another worrying factor is the fact that requests by journalists as well as the Israeli Army to see the entire, unedited footage of the scene were consistently refused by France 2. There was one exception, however. In October 2004, France 2 allowed three highly respected senior French journalists to view the entire 27 minutes.

In a scene shown in the unedited film, the dead boy, Mohammed, who is lying with his hand covering his eyes, is actually seen lifting his hand away from his face as though he is peeking at a camera, and slightly raising himself, while his legs move. This was not shown in the public broadcast. When asked why this scene had been omitted, bureau chief Charles Enderlin said it was cut in accordance with France 2’s ethical charter, because it showed the boy in his death throes, which he called “unbearable.” This seemed a strange decision, since this particular scene might have presented a hopeful moment for the viewers, because what it shows is that the boy is alive and also there is no evidence of blood anywhere, therefore, it would seem that Mohammed might not have even been wounded. It is hard not to assume that the reason for cutting out this particular frame had to with France 2 saving face rather than to save viewers from witnessing an “unbearable” scene.

Interestingly, during the entire confrontation between the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinians there were a number of reporters and cameramen from various news channels and publications at the scene. Both Reuters and the AP captured moments showing Jamal and Mohammed al-Durrah at the concrete cylinder, but the crucial minute of footage was captured only by Abu Rahma.

Raw footage from these other news organizations shows a number of separate scenes involving scores of young men walking around, joking and smoking, while there is the sound of shooting. There are scenes where they suddenly scramble for cover, while a few meters away young men are chatting and smoking. There is a puzzling scene when a large group of men are standing near the el Durrahs. Suddenly, as if by cue, they all begin to run away. Only the el Durrahs remain. One telling scene shows a protester falling and clutching his leg, as if shot. An ambulance appears immediately to pick him up. Later the same man is seen jumping out of the ambulance with a smile on his face. Scenes are often staged for the camera. But that is not to say that the particular scene showing Mohammed suddenly lying fully stretched out and his father appearing to be wounded had definitely been staged. But the shenanigans in front of the camera by the crowd beforehand makes it not unlikely.

Journalists began asking questions that were uncomfortable for Mr. Enderlin, his cameraman, Jalal Abu Rahma and France 2, as well as the Palestine Authority. For the latter, the questions were quickly settled. As far as they are concerned Israel is always guilty, therefore there is no doubt that Israel had murdered the young boy and therefore there was no need to examine the matter any further. Fine, but then other questions arose. Why was there no blood at the scene until later the next morning when some brightly colored red goo appeared near the barrel? And why weren’t any bullets available for forensic examination?

There were other inconsistencies. In the initial broadcasts around the world the boy was called Rami. In an interview with the Esther Schapira, a journalist working for the German TV channel ARD, the doctors at El-Shifa Hospital in Gaza said that a 12-year-old fatally-injured boy with the same name had been admitted to the hospital some time in the morning and not after 3 pm, when the shooting was said to have been filmed? Was this the same boy who had taken cover behind the concrete cylinder? If so, how does one explain the time discrepancy?

Philippe Karsenty, a French a financial consultant who runs a media watchdog, Media-Ratings. ran an article on his website in November 2004, entitled “France 2: Arlette Chabot and Charles Enderlin should be removed from their positions immediately.” He wrote that the scenes with the el-Durrahs had been faked by the cameraman, that Mohammed had not been killed, and that Enderlin and Chabot (France 2’s news editor) should be sacked.

In response Enderlin and France 2 filed defamation suits which they won and Karsenty was fined €1,000 and ordered to pay €3,000 in costs. Karsenty lodged an appeal that same day.

The presiding judge of the 11th Chamber of the Appeals Court of Paris requested that France 2 turn over the raw footage of the incident to the court, but Enderlin claimed that there had never been 27 minutes of raw footage, maintaining that altogether there had been only 18 minutes of footage shot in Gaza. This was strange because three years earlier the footage had been seen by three leading French journalists, who had commented critically on it.

On May 21, 2008, the Appeals Court handed down its decision, finding in favor of Karsenty. It cited the “inexplicable inconsistencies of the viewable images,” and the “contradictory answers of the cameraman Talal Abu Rahma regarding the sequence of the scenes and the conditions under which they were filmed.” Also noted were the contradictory answers given by Charles Enderlin to the questions relating to the editing of the film. Enderlin and France 2 have lodged an appeal, which at the time of writing is still to be decided.

Now, I can’t know for certain whether the scene filmed by France 2 cameraman Talal Abu Rahma was all absolutely factual and that, as he had said, 12-year-old Mohammed el-Durrah and his father Jalal, were taking cover behind a concrete drum at 3 pm, when Israeli soldiers fired on them, killing Mohammed and severely wounding his father. But this is the story that the world saw, believed and largely still believes.

However, studying the available footage over and over again, and reading many of the accounts that refute this story as well as the accounts that claim the story to be absolutely genuine, I find myself agreeing that France 2 had probably presented a very false report.

But the trouble is that as a Jew and an Israeli I find myself happy to think this. While striving to be objective, I nevertheless want to believe that Charles Enderlin and Jalal Abu Rahma messed up. I want to believe that the Israeli Army would never fatally shoot a boy and wound his unarmed father on purpose. Also, I am happy to believe that the adversaries of my people and my nation are capable of lying, fabricating a scene or even killing their own people for the sake of besmirching Israel’s name. And it’s precisely because this is what I want to believe, that I must question the honesty and validity of my conclusions. I need to try and give Abu Rahma and Charles Enderlin some credit for honesty and professional integrity.

But there are too many factors that indicate that Karsenty was probably right in his accusation that the scenes shown on France 2 were faked; that the 11th Chamber of the Appeals Court of Paris was right in supporting Karsenty’s claim; that all the journalists who doubted the video presentation of the al-Durrahs were right; and that falsehood and unprofessionalism ruled on that sad day.

If I am sure about anything, it is that this miserable episode has done nothing whatsoever to foster peace or help the Palestinians in any way. Also it’s part of a huge pattern, purposely misrepresenting factuality so as to put Israel in a bad light throughout the world. Whenever a lie is exposed, it is seldom acknowledged and redressed through public admission by those responsible for the lie in the first place. And even when this happens Israel still remains odious and guilty in the eyes of all those who relish its battering and seek its downfall.

Ralph Dobrin is the author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”
To order the book click: http://www.amazon.com type: how to avoid Armageddon

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, Solutions for Palestine. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

LEADING TO DOOMSDAY – 2 THE UNITED NATIONS – 1

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