You are a father whose shrieking child was killed in front of your eyes by soldiers. Years later, sneering deniers mock you. You are part of a carefully orchestrated conspiracy to win world sympathy, they claim. Your kid is likely sunning himself on a beach somewhere. The media have been taken in by your lies, told as part of a strategy to secure a piece of land in the Middle East.
Despite actual photographic evidence, a committee of historical revisionists issues a report. There was no killing. The entire event was staged.
The father was never contacted by the committee. Neither was the eyewitness who secured the evidence, who is now considered to be part of the plot. He learned of the committee and its report through the press.
Clever “experts” weigh in. “No holes, no killing.” All a conspiracy by you-know-who.
Yeah, I think we’ve all seen this disgusting movie before.
But in this case, the irony is palpable. It’s the government of Israel and a committee with dubious credentials who have pieced together this remake. It’s the same kind of conspiracy-mongering: a similar smelly pastiche of selective evidence, empty speculation, pseudoscience, tendentious drivel.
The anguished father has offered to have his son’s body exhumed for examination. The furious
cameraman for France 2, who filmed the killing France 2 journalist Charles Enderlin, who broke the story, and who, incidentally, happens to be Jewish and to hold Israeli citizenship, has renewed his demand for an independent examination of the incident.
And reputable people are speaking out:
Yizhar Be’er, the executive director of Keshev, an Israeli media monitoring group that has extensively studied the case, dismissed the government report as “conspiracy theory” and said Mohammad al-Durra’s death was real.
“I believe that what we saw on the France 2 news item was exactly what happened and the camera caught exactly what happened,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “It is mission impossible to fake such a huge event. Nobody, least of all the Palestinians, can create such a fabrication.
“In principle, parts of the Israeli establishment are trying to create such a sitution where if we doubt France 2’s pictures, it means we can doubt everything the Palestinians say.”
Here’s Barak Ravid, writing in Haaretz:
It seems as though the report was written for use within Israel alone…. The evidence and arguments that were presented might convince the already convinced, but no more than that. The committee could not present any ‘smoking gun’ evidence showing the 25-year old al-Durra sunbathing on a Gaza beach. Not even close.
The Haaretz editorial board is outraged by this foray into revisionism:
“There is no evidence that Jamal [the boy’s father, who was wounded in the incident] or the boy were hurt,” says the abstract at the beginning of the report. The report’s authors arrive at that dubious conclusion using a collection of circumstantial evidence, some of it barely serious, like the impressions of an Israeli pathologist who watched the video.
Of more concern is the elephant in the room:
According to the human rights group B’Tselem, 951 children and teens were killed by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza between 2000 and 2008, yet no government committee was ever established to investigate the circumstances of their deaths. Only in the al-Dura case was such a committee convened.
…This report doesn’t lift the fog off this case, if there ever was any. Instead, it raises a more painful issue: the many young people killed by IDF soldiers during the second intifada.
If the government had chosen to investigate that, perhaps it would have been reasonable to include a chapter on the al-Dura incident. But focusing only on him is mere propaganda that won’t in any way improve Israel’s problematic image of being responsible for too many children’s deaths.
Blood libel. But whose blood, and whose libel?