By Aviel Schneider, Israel Today

MEDIA MANIPULATION during the Second Lebanon
MEDIA MANIPULATION during the Second Lebanon War in 2006
WAS IT STAGED? Mohammed al-Dura and his father
WAS IT STAGED? Mohammed al-Dura and his father in 2000

Manipulation of a willing Arab and international media has long been a powerful tool in the hands of the Palestinians.

“The recent exposure of a media lie about the 12-year-old Palestinian boy Mohammed al-Dura needs to be studied by the foreign media,” says the head of Israel’s Government Press Office Danny Siemen. “The Palestinians use media manipulation as a strategic weapon to counter Israel’s military superiority and have been very successful in it.”

Al-Dura was back in the news after the French Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that found media critic Philippe Karsenty guilty of libel against the France 2 TV station and its Jerusalem correspondent Charles Enderlin. Karsenty accused them of deliberately misleading the world about the death of al-Dura at the start of the second Palestinian intifada (uprising) in Gaza in 2000.

“The verdict means France 2 broadcast a fake news report and that al-Dura’s shooting was a staged hoax,” Karsenty said.

Al-Dura became a “martyr” and enduring symbol of the Palestinian cause in TV footage broadcast around the world. The pictures of the boy and his father cowering helplessly in the crossfire of an Israeli-Palestinian gun battle threw Israel’s image into the gutter.

During the trial, France 2 was ordered to release the entire 27-minute video, in contrast to the 31 seconds shown at the time. In the last scene showing father and son, one can see that Mohammed is moving and undeniably alive.

Karsenty was suspicious about the original report which showed Mohammed in the arms of his father, the victim of “Israeli” fire. “Mohammed is dead, his father seriously wounded,” the report said.

“The pathologist indeed did a postmortem examination of a dead boy at 12 noon. But Mohammed al-Dura was supposedly shot at 3 p.m.!” Karsenty said. “The pictures taken in the morgue are totally different than pictures of Mohammed al-Dura. It is ridiculous.”

American professor Richard Landes examined the al-Dura case along with ballistics experts and dubbed it Pallywood.

“Palestinian cameramen and photographers work for foreign news networks and edit pictures with the aim of blackmailing Israel in the eyes of the world,” Siemen said.

This manipulation of the news influences the international community and has limited Israel in its war against Palestinian terror since the first intifada erupted in 1987. The fear of international condemnation paralyzes Israel and prevents it from taking effective action.

During the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, the international media condemned Israel for the so-called “massacre” in the South Lebanese village of Kana (57 dead, including 21 children). The Israeli army determined that this was fabricated because the building collapsed seven hours after the air force bombed the area, giving civilians plenty of time to get out. The building wasn’t even directly hit, and some observers suggest that Hizbollah collected bodies of people killed in the war from a morgue, put them in the building and blew it up.

A few weeks earlier, in June 2006, pictures shocked the world when an Israeli shell was blamed for the killing of a Palestinian family of seven on a Gaza beach. But the footage appeared to be staged because no crater caused by a shell was seen in the area.

This year, a Palestinian mother and her four children were killed in Gaza, ostensibly by an Israeli tank shell. An army investigation determined that the shell hit two Hamas terrorists, and the blast from explosives they were carrying blew up the house.

In all of these cases, the damage to Israel had already been done by the time the truth came out. In fact, the truth is rarely reported because by then it’s “old news.”

“Israel is quickly blamed for the deaths of Palestinians,” said Siemen. “The foreign media do not verify the news and rely almost exclusively on Palestinian journalists with an agenda. Without a doubt, Palestinian journalists are using the foreign media in their struggle against Israel.”

ENDURING SYMBOL: From paintings to postage stamps, al-Dura is an enduring symbol of the Palestinian cause

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