The non-killing of Mohammed al-Durah, Palestine 2000

September 21, 2006

In September 2000, shortly after the 2nd intifada exploded in the ocupied territories of Palestine, France2 television broadcast footage of a seminal event: the killing in the Gaza Strip of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Durah. Pinned down behind a barrel by withering Israeli fire for 40 minutes, protected by the sheltering arms of his desperate father, he was finally slain by Israeli bullets.

The images were shown around the world, to outpourings of horror. The incident became both the symbol and inspiration of the renewed Palestinian resistance to the occupation, and provided much of the emotional fuel for five more years of intifada.

Yet it never happened. It was faked. It was staged for the cameras.

This may seem like an old story. But in the recent weeks, the matter has come before the courts in France, where France2 has launched a series of defamation suits against bloggers who have challenged its coverage of the alleged al-Durah killings. As of three days ago, things were going badly for France2.

A public prosecutor here asked the judges to drop the charges against Karsenty, acknowledging that he had defamed Chabot and Enderlin, but declaring that the accusations against them were based on serious and impartial investigations and offered “relatively convincing proof” of fraud.

Judgement is expected sometime in October.

All the details are at Augean Stables.

Update: Lest anyone doubts the impact of the al-Durah “slaying” on the course of the intifada and its reverberations through the Middle East generally, Richard Landes of Augean Stables — one of the defendants in the current case in France — lays them out cogently here.

Update 2: Richard Landes writes in comments that he is a witness in the case, not a defendant. Sorry, Richard, my mistake.


  1. thanks for the link. one minor correction. i’m not a defendant despite having gone out of my way to make clear that i think enderlin is either a knave or a fool (maybe both), but he has yet to sue me. i’m a witness — to enderlin’s inexcusably sloppy practices.


  2. Thanks, Richard, will correct.

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