I hope this news isn’t completely overshadowed by the fighting in Gaza:
A report presented to a French court last week by an independent ballistics expert maintains that the death of Mohammed al-Dura, a Palestinian child seen being shot in the Gaza Strip during the first days of the intifada in September 2000, could not have been the result of Israeli gunfire, corroborating claims that the shocking footage was doctored.
The ballistics expert, Jean-Claude Schlinger, presented his conclusions after reviewing the footage, which shows Dura and his father cowering by a wall after being caught in the crossfire between Palestinian gunmen and Israel Defense Forces soldiers at the Netzarim junction.
The case revolves around a libel suit brought by the France 2 television channel and its Middle East correspondent, Charles Enderlin, against Phillipe Karsenty. On November 22, 2004 Karsenty wrote on his Web site, Media Ratings, that Dura’s death had been staged and that France 2’s conduct “disgraces France and its public broadcasting system.”
In his report, Schlinger wrote, “If Jamal [the boy’s father] and Mohammed al-Dura were indeed struck by shots, then they could not have come from the Israeli position, from a technical point of view, but only from the direction of the Palestinian position.”
He also wrote, “In view of the general context, and in light of many instances of staged incidents, there is no objective evidence that the child was killed and his father injured. It is very possible, therefore, that it is a case [in which the incident was] staged.”
Schlinger has served as an adviser on ballistic and forensic evidence in French courts for 20 years.
In his examination, he recreated the incident emphasizing the angle from which the shots could have been fired, the types of injuries and the types of weapons used by the IDF and the Palestinians.
According to his report, there is no evidence that the boy was wounded in his right leg or in his abdomen, as was originally reported.
This is the first time that an independent ballistics expert, not representing the State of Israel, undertook to examine Karsenty’s claims.
Is this relevant to to current situation? I think it is, because it emphasizes how eager some Palestinian leaders are to turn their own children into victims and “martyrs.” So Palestinians purposely launch Qassams from civilian neighborhoods full of children and fire at Israeli soldiers from buildings housing children– knowing full well that any Israeli response will endanger those children. If, as in the case of Mohammed al-Dura, the Israelis won’t oblige them, they (or their Western supporters) simply make it up.
And if you think Hamas cares about Palestinian children as anything other than potential martyrs, I urge you once again to watch the revolting childrens’ programming on Hamas TV.
Update: This Hamas poster demonstrates the organization’s commitment to the death and suffering of Israeli children as well as Palestinian children.
(Via Ami Isseroff. Hat tip: Fabian.)