The French Court of Appeals on Wednesday found in favor of Jewish activist Philippe Karsenty, overturning a lower court decision that he had libeled France 2 and its Jerusalem correspondent Charles Enderlin when he accused them of knowingly misleading the watching world about the death of the Palestinian child Muhammad al-Dura in the Gaza Strip in 2000.
“The verdict means we have the right to say France 2 broadcast a fake news report, that [al-Dura’s shooting] was a staged hoax and that they duped everybody – without being sued,” Karsenty told The Jerusalem Post shortly after the verdict was issued at 1:30 p.m. Paris time.
Al-Dura was filmed cowering with his father, Jalal, behind a barrel at the Gaza Strip's Netzarim junction on September 30, 2000, during an apparent gun battle between Palestinians and IDF troops. Fifty-five seconds of video footage were released to the world by France 2 at the time, out of some 18 minutes that were shown in court and even more footage that France 2’s detractors claim is not being shown to the public.
The video, taken by Palestinian cameraman and France 2 stringer Talal Abu Rahma, shows al-Dura hiding, and then cuts to footage of him lying, apparently dead, at the junction. It does not show the child killed.
The footage, and Enderlin’s broadcast assertion of Israeli responsibility for the killing of al-Dura, turned the 12-year-old’s death into a cause célèbre in the Muslim world. […] The IDF, which initially apologized for the death of al-Dura, concluded after an investigation that the boy could not have been hit by Israeli bullets. […]
Despite France 2’s playing down of the verdict, some analysts believe it is significant. According to Gross, “Today’s ruling shows there are serious doubts about France 2’s version of events, and that the entire world press was irresponsible in being so quick to take at face value the claims of a local Palestinian cameraman, who has admitted his partisanship.”