On September 30, 2000, at the beginning of the Palestinian terrorist offensive against Israel called since then the "second intifada," a particularly violent clash took place at the Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip. As shots were exchanged between Arab militiamen and Israeli soldiers, cameramen from various television channels were nearby, filming news reports. One of these reports quickly spread around the world and became a ubiquitous tool for anti-Israeli Arab propaganda. It showed a young boy huddling against his father, the two unsuccessfully trying to protect themselves from gunfire: the son appeared to have been killed. The commentary accompanying the images was overwhelming. The last words of the voice-over, uttered in a stricken tone, were: "The child is dead".
The child, Mohammed al-Dura, immediately became a "martyr" -- and a symbol. The Israeli army clearly dared to kill defenseless people, even children!
The report was considered indisputable: it had been broadcast on the main French public channel, France 2, and validated by a noted journalist, Charles Enderlin.
Very soon, Israeli columnists and military experts thought that the report had all the appearances of a crude forgery. In the images, the "dead" child was still lifting his arm after his "death". Neither father nor son showed any trace of blood, nor was there any blood on the wall behind them. The bullet holes on the wall behind the father and son had round forms, showing that they could not come from the angled Israeli position.
A few weeks later, an Israeli website, the Metula News Agency, made a short film demonstrating in detail that the report was indeed a fake. An Israeli scientist, Nahum Shahaf, conducted a reconstruction and a scientific demonstration in support of the short film. In 2002, a German filmmaker, Esther Schapira, directed a documentary reaching the same conclusions: Drei Kugeln und ein totes Kind ("Three Bullets and a Dead Child").
It was soon revealed that the footage had been shot by a Palestinian Arab cameraman, Talal Abu Rahma, and sent to Charles Enderlin, who had not been present at the scene. And it became apparent that Enderlin had added a commentary without first conducting any verification.
At this point, Enderlin could have replied with further explanation. France 2 could have admitted a mistake. But they stuck to their positions: Enderlin swore that he had "proof" that the images showed the reality and that his commentary was correct; and France 2 fully supported Enderlin. Neither the short film made by Metula News Agency, nor the documentary directed by Esther Schapira was broadcast in France. The Israeli government, for its part, remained silent.
The case has grown. A courageous and tireless French entrepreneur, Philippe Karsenty, head of a news media watchdog group, Media Ratings, understood the lasting harm of the fraud and saw in this deception an opportunity to expose the workings of the Palestinian propaganda machine and the complicity in it of many in the Western media.
In 2004, Karsenty posted all the information available to him, including irrefutable evidence of missing footage, and wrote that the truth had to be unearthed. He was accused by Enderlin and France 2 of defamation, and dragged to court.
Undaunted, he decided to give lectures and talks on the subject around the world.
In 2012, seeing at last the sheer scope of the case, the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs created a special government inquiry committee. The committee's report was officially handed to Israeli Prime Minister a few days ago. Its findings corroborate what all those who followed the case from the beginning already know: the Enderlin and France 2 report is "baseless." The child shown in the video was not "killed" in the incident -- the incident was staged. Upon receiving the committee's report, Binyamin Netanyahu declared that the Enderlin and France 2 report is "an integral part of the ongoing campaign to delegitimize Israel."
Logic and basic human decency would dictate that Enderlin and France 2 draw the consequences, withdraw the charges, and apologize to everyone victimized by the fraud. This is not, however, what happened. On the contrary, Enderlin and France 2 now accuse the Israeli government of wanting to harm their reputation and are threatening to "sue Israel."