Thursday, September 08, 2005

Barefaced lie exposed

Melanie Phillips links to an article that appears in this month's Commentary, one of my favourite journals:
A stunning article in Commentary by Nidra Poller exposes what might eventually come to be regarded as a racial libel on a par with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in both its malevolence and its contribution to the history of racial hatred. The defining image of the second Palestinian intifada was the television footage of 12 year-old Mohammed al Dura being sheltered by his father as they cowered under a hail of bullets fired by Israeli soldiers in a gun battle at the Netzarim junction on September 30 2000, at the very beginning of the violence. These pictures, shot by a France 2 cameraman, instantly achieved a lethal iconic status. The image of Mohammed al Dura slumped in death in his father’s lap like an Arab pieta was used on countless occasions to recruit human bomb volunteers for the jihad against Israel. As Poller says, his death scene has been replicated on murals, posters, and postage stamps, even making an appearance in the video of Daniel Pearl’s beheading.
Testifying under oath before the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the cameraman Talal Abu Rahmeh alleged that Israeli soldiers had intentionally murdered the boy and wounded the father. There had been, he said, a five-minute exchange of fire between Palestinian policemen and Israeli soldiers. This was followed by fully 45 minutes of gunfire coming exclusively from the Israeli position and aimed directly at the man and the boy crouching desperately behind a concrete barrel. He had captured on film a total of 27 minutes of this fusillade, risking his own life in the process.
From the start, however, many smelled a rat and several journalists have suggested that this event was not what it seemed. Now, Poller reveals information that strongly suggests the whole thing was a cynical and evil fraud. She has obtained hours of out-takes from film shot by dozens of cameramen at the Netzarim junction that day. What was recorded on these films were two types of activity — real attacks and crudely staged, entirely confected battle scenes.
Do read the whole thing. It is quite amazing how most people are simply not interested in discovering the truth about such incidents. Melanie says it best:
Israeli officials who have privately said from very early on that the al Dura footage was faked also say that there is no point opening up this affair to public scrutiny because the magnitude of this lie is so great, and so deeply has Europe absorbed the wider big lie of Israel’s ‘oppression’ of the Palestinian Arabs, that even to raise a question about the death of Mohammed al Dura is to invite further opprobrium. Faced with a world that has taken leave of its senses and suspended normal conventions of journalism, evidence and reason over the war against Israel, the despairing fatalism of the Israelis is understandable. But it is wrong. Whatever reaction it provokes, there is an obligation to history to unmask an apparent lie of this magnitude and establish the truth. Commentary has performed an important service.
I absolutely agree. All means must be used to rectify such lies and make sure that as many people as possible are aware of the truth. Part of that responsibility lies with the Israeli diplomats, and though the task is not easy, I have the impression they could be doing a lot better.

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