Unsupported accusations against French TV correspondent over coverage of Palestinian teenager’s shooting ~ by @RSF_RWB

Reporters without Borders | May 22, 2013

Read in Arabic (بالعربية)

arton44646-f00a0[1]The Israeli government has just published a report of its investigation into French TV station France 2’s controversial coverage of 12-year-old Palestinian Muhammad al-Durrah’s death during rioting in the Gaza Strip on 30 September 2000 and the disputed claim that he was killed by a shot fired from Israeli positions.

The report’s release came three days ahead today’s announcement by a Paris appeal court that it will finally issue its ruling on 26 June in the defamation case between France 2’s Jerusalem correspondent, Charles Enderlin, and Media Rating founder Philippe Karsenty, who suggested that the teenager’s death was staged.

The Israeli report, which is very critical of France 2’s staff, was produced by a committee consisting of representatives of various ministries, the police and the Israel Defence Forces. It was appointed by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu last September.

“While the Israeli government has the right to respond publicly to a media report it regards as damaging, the nature and substance of this report are questionable and give the impression of a smear operation,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

“As regards the substance, Charles Enderlin has always said he would be ready to testify to a commission of enquiry in conditions that guaranteed impartiality and independence. These conditions were not respected, and Enderlin was not asked to testify. Nor was he asked to provide his unused footage of the incident.

“Above all, the committee’s published findings consist of just 11 pages on the ‘facts’ of the case and has another 30 pages condemning the way France 2’s report was used. We think it is absurd and unacceptable to accuse Enderlin’s report of having ‘played a major role in inciting terrorism and violence, both in the Israeli-Palestinian arena and worldwide’.”

The committee claims to have based its findings on France 2’s raw video footage of the incident. Enderlin says he posted all of the footage online. Is that what the committee used? The report’s authors do not say. It claims there is no evidence to support Enderlin’s account of the incident but produces no evidence to support its own claim.

The committee claims that evidence suggests that neither Muhammad al-Durrah nor his father, Jamal Al-Durrah, sustained a gunshot injury that day. In particular, it claims that no trace of blood was found the next day at the spot where they were filmed. The report, which does not name the source of this claim, also claims there was no sign of blood in the video footage.

According to the committee’s findings, the broadcast footage excluded a movement of Muhammad al-Durrah’s hand and elbow that can be seen in the raw footage after Enderlin’s voice said he had been killed.

The committee quotes Dr. Ricardo Nachman, deputy director of the Tel Aviv forensic centre, as saying the boy could not have moved in that way if, as France 2 claimed, he had already been hit by gunfire.

The Franco-Israeli surgeon Yehuda David is quoted in the report’s appendix as saying the father’s injuries could have been sustained prior to the incident filmed by France 2’s cameraman. But David bases his claim on medical reports and did not examine Jamal Al-Durrah himself after the incident.

“This report is absurd,” Enderlin said. “How can the report’s authors omit the fact that Jamal Al-Durrah was hospitalized the next day in the Jordanian capital of Amman? How can they claim that the Israel Defence Forces did not open fire?”

A journalist’s friend, Guillaume Weill-Raynal, added: “No ballistic report has ever been produced to support these claims, which were already being made prior to this report.”

Barak Ravid, the Israeli daily Haaretz’s diplomatic correspondent, said: “This report on the Muhammad al-Durrah case is probably one of the least convincing documents produced by the Israeli government in recent years.”

(end)



The PCHR in Gaza has published this statement on the issue

PCHR refutes findings of Israeli committee concerning killing of Mohammed al-Durrah

PCHR Gaza | Wednesday, 22 May 2013 (Source)

 

Ref: 54/2013

 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) refutes the findings of the recently-published report from the Israeli Government Review Committee, titled ‘The France 2 Al-Durrah Report, its Consequences and Implications’, released on 19 May 2013. The report examines the incident involving the killing of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Durrah, which occurred on 30 September 2000 at the Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip.

The Government Review Committee was set up in September 2012 upon the instruction of the Israeli prime minister, twelve years after the incident took place. The committee claims to have extensively reviewed material related to the incident. Its key findings were as follows: there is no evidence that Mohammed or his father, Jamal, were wounded in the incident; the two were not struck by bullets at all; and the Israeli forces bear no responsibility for the incident.

PCHR carried out an investigation of the incident after it occurred, the findings of which completely contradict the assertions in the Israeli report. As a part of its investigations, PCHR’s lawyers collected affidavits from the following persons:

1- Mr Talal Hassan Abu Rahma, a photographer for France 2 television who witnessed the incident;

2- Mr Ma’ali Suleiman Hussain Selmi, head of the reception department at Shifa hospital in Gaza City; and

3- Mr Fathi Ahmed Mas’oud al-Louh, an ambulance driver who was present at the Netzarim junction on the day of the incident and was seriously injured by Israeli gunfire.

Abu Rahma, who was present during the incident, stated that Israeli forces fired intensively and intermittently at Mohammed and Jamal. The victims were then evacuated to Shifa hospital by ambulance, where Mohammed was pronounced dead on arrival. Mas’oid al Louh, who was present at the Netzarim junction on the day when the incident took place, stated that he had witnessed Israeli forces firing live bullets that day. Al-Louh also stated that, while tending to a number of injured persons, he himself was injured by a rubber coated metal bullet in his right leg, and shortly after that he was injured when a live bullet grazed the top of his head.

Israel, as an occupying power, is obliged to ensure that its forces respect and protect the human rights of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. However, PCHR’s investigation indicates that Israeli forces arbitrarily deprived Mohammed of his right to life, in violation of Article 6(1) of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Moreover, Israeli forces disregarded Articles 9 and 10 of the 1990 UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, according to which they should not have fired at Mohammed and Jamal, as they did not pose any imminent threat of death or serious injury to the soldiers or any other person.

In light of the above:

a) PCHR strongly disputes the Israeli committee’s conclusions in the report;

b) PCHR strongly condemns Israel’s 12-year delay in examining the incident. This report challenges the very authenticity of the report which first brought the incident to attention. Given the nature of the incident, and the potential human rights violations related to it, this delay, in itself, constitutes a violation of customary international law norms, which establish that unreasonably prolonged delays in the examination and investigation of human rights violations result in a situation of impunity. The report does not provide any justification for this delay;

c) PCHR believes that this examination, and previous investigations into the matter, conducted by the Israeli authorities failed to meet international standards of independence, impartiality, transparency, promptness, and effectiveness; and

d) PCHR calls for an independent international investigation of the incident.

(end)



And while Israel keeps shooting children with live ammunition, whitewashing assassination of Al-Duraah goes unpunished and violence against minors is totally being silenced by media.

While 1519 children have been killed by Israel since Sep 2000

Their names and stories at:

Remember The Children – Memorial





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