Viewpoint: Farce that Launched a Thousand Suicide Bombers

An Israeli resident mulls the ‘collateral damage’ in the death of a Palestinian boy

By Michelle Moshelian

His dying image was spread across front pages of newspapers and television screens worldwide, making Mohammed al-Dura the poster boy for Israeli brutality and Palestinian victimhood. But what if the footage distributed so fervently by France¹s state television Channel 2 was unwittingly misleading? Or even worse, what if the images were maliciously staged in a case that has been labelled the Œworst anti-Semitic lie around¹, Œhas inflamed the Muslim world¹ and even Œendangered world peace¹.

As an interested party, keen to support my firm belief that an Israeli soldier wouldn¹t simply shoot and kill a defenceless little boy for the hell of it, I followed the issue further. I read about ballistics reports, an IDF investigation and the like, checked out the map of the location which proved that he physically couldn¹t have been killed by an Israeli.

What struck me at the time was, why, in the middle of a violent riot plagued by gunfire, would anyone focus on shooting someone who was not in the middle of the action? Surely an Israeli soldier, coming under heavy gunfire would shoot at those firing the weapons, or at least in their direction. It simply doesn¹t make sense that, in the face of death, anyone would choose to focus on shooting someone in a way that appears more to be sport than warfare.

As the intifada continued, I discovered the Pallywood phenomenon ­ a veritable industry where scenes are staged to portray Israel as the bad guys. My personal favourite Pallywood moment was seeing the supposedly dead man being carried on a stretcher in a funeral procession fall off – and promptly get up and jump back on.

However, there is a major difference between me, a self-declared interested party, and the billions of people who witnessed the apparent murder of al-Dura: I continued to follow the story. And sadly, maybe that explains why he was martyred in the first place. Is it the case that a young boy was presumed to be worth sacrificing in order to score a moral point against Israel by uniting the world¹s population in disgust at the apparently brutal killing, and inciting Muslims to join the cause? Well, if this was the strategy, it worked. Al-Dura¹s death came at the start of what become the 2nd Intifada, and thousands of people have lost their lives in the ensuing violence.

Why is this relevant now? Well, the French Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court decision that Jewish activist Philippe Karsenty had libeled France 2 and its Jerusalem correspondent when he essentially accused them of a hoax.

The general public was shown 55 seconds of footage. The French court was shown 18 minutes and there are claims that there is more that is being kept out of the public eye. If France 2 had nothing to hide in this affair, surely they would have released all the material in their possession?

If it has taken eight years for 18 minutes to be shown, I don¹t imagine that we will ever know who actually shot the boy. And, anyway, would it really make a difference anyway if the truth were to come out? The damage to Israel¹s image has been done. And the global media won¹t dare give the story the attention it deserves. The reporting on the ongoing court case received was scarce to say the least, and no media body would be chomping at the bit to declare that they played a role in this global deception. Admittedly, corrections to previous reports don¹t make sensational front page reporting. But given the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often seen as a root cause of the western versus radical Islam global conflict, the truth deserves to be told. Israelis deserve to hear the truth. And Palestinians and Muslims deserve to be told it. Revealing the truth in this episode may well serve as the best catalyst for leading impressionable young minds away from the narrow-minded path of Islamic radicalism. And the international media needs to hear it and reflect on the role it plays in shaping world opinion. And the rest of the world deserves to know the truth too. Otherwise one little boy died in vain.