It was eight years ago this week that France 2 TV introduced the world to Mohammed al-Dura, the Palestinian boy who was allegedly shot and killed during a gunfight between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen, in a video whose authenticity has increasingly been called into question years after it inspired anti-Semitic violence around the world. The American news media not only highlighted the story -- as the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning newscasts collectively aired the video at least 28 times between September 30, 2000, and June 30, 2003 -- but the networks also showed other clips depicting Palestinians involved in fighting, supposedly with Israelis, that have been challenged by some media analysts, calling into question how many of the scenes shown by American media during times of Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be faked video that were passed off to international media as genuine. ABC's Good Morning American notably seems to have ignored the al-Dura story.
Boston University Professor Richard Landes has been a leader in delving into the practice by some Palestinian cameramen of staging scenes of violence to be used as propaganda against
RICHARD LANDES, FROM HIS WEB SITE: As one journalist at ABC put it, “I’m convinced by your argument about Pallywood, but I don’t know how much appetite there is for this kind of thing here.” At the time, I didn’t realize fully how intimidated our MSM are. Or, as another put it, making allusions to the omnipresent commitment to “even-handedness,” “if we did something on this, we could not do it on this alone. ... We’d have to do something on what the Israelis do to manipulate images."
LANDES, QUOTING HIS RESPONSE: "And if you don't have anything remotely resembliing this degree of dishonesty?"
LANDES QUOTING THE UNNAMED JOURNALIST: "Then we won't do anything."
LANDES: And they didn't.
The media also gave little attention to an investigation by the Israeli Defense Forces that concluded in November 2000 that the gunfire seen hitting the wall near the al-Dura’s in the video most likely came from Palestinian gunmen, challenging France 2 TV’s claim that Israeli troops had deliberately shot the boy. And, earlier this year, a French court ruled against France 2 TV, bolstering the credibility of French media critic Philippe Karsenty, who went so far as to charge that the al-Dura footage was a hoax and that the boy was not really injured.
Regarding the importance of the al-Dura case, Landes writes: “But this image goes beyond blood libel and anti-Semitism, beyond blackening
The below transcripts not only document how the American television news media reported on the Mohammed al-Dura story over the years, but it also indicates when some portion of the infamous al-Dura footage was aired, but also when clips from two other scenes of questionable authenticity, detailed in the film Pallywood, were aired.
In the documentaries Pallywood and Pallywood Strikes Again II: France 2 vs. the Evidence, Landes analyzes one scene depicting a Palestinian man standing next to a jeep who appears to be shot and falls to the ground just seconds before an ambulance arrives near him, as if the emergency vehicle were on cue. The alleged shooting victim is then dragged to the ambulance. All the broadcast networks showed some portion of this scene at least once, but without the portion that clearly shows the immediate arrival of the ambulance. Because France 2 TV supplied the footage, it is possible that the portion containing the suspicious arrival of the ambulance had already been edited out before the clips were received by the American networks.
A second scene depicts a Palestinian man firing a rifle through an opening in a wall, presumably fighting with Israeli troops. But because there were multiple cameramen who were filming in this area, Landes was able to view another recording which shows earlier scenes of the same man with other Palestinians seeming to rehearse for the scene, which also shows that the opening in the wall that the man was firing his weapon into actually led to an empty room.
All of Landes’s films on the subject of Pallywood can be found here.
Landes recounts some of the holes in the al-Dura story, and challenges the credibility of the Palestinian cameraman who filmed the al-Dura footage, Talal Abu Rahmeh, who was featured in some of the stories on American television news shows giving his account of events. Landes shows one scene in which Rahmeh is asked about the recovery of the bullets from the al-Dura shooting scene. After claiming at first that France 2 TV had collected the bullets, apparently realizing this story was implausible since bullet collection should be the role of the authorities, he then backs off this assertion and evades answering the question claiming that “we have some secrets, you know, for ourselves. We cannot give everything”:
On November 28, 2000, after an Israeli army investigation concluded that bullets seen in the video more likely came from Palestinians than Israelis, American newspapers like the New York Times covered the story: "The 12-year-old Palestinian boy shot to death eight weeks ago as he crouched beside his father, in a scene that television broadcasts made well known around the world, might have been killed by Palestinian gunmen, not Israeli soldiers, the Israeli Army said today."
TALAL ABU RAHMEH: We have evidence, the kind of the bullet, I film it, the kind of the bullet, we pick up, the bullets from the wall.
2 collected. [STARTS SMILING] France
ESTHER SCHAPIRA: So you are doing a better investigation job than the police?
RAHMEH: No, no, no, no, we have some secrets, you know, for ourselves. We cannot give anything, everything.
After having reported in October that Israeli troops produced the fatal gunfire, as the Israeli military initially took responsibility and apologized, the American media generally did not show much interest in updating viewers and correcting the record. On November 28, nearly all television news shows ignored the finding. But CBS's Early Show did run a full report on the story. David Hawkins: "The 12-year-old boy whose televised death has come to symbolize
On the November 12, 2000, 60 Minutes, CBS correspondent Bob Simon mentioned that the Israeli military was planning to investigate the shooting but dismissed the belief of Israeli General Yom-Tov Samia that Israeli troops were not responsible as "predictable." Simon: "But before the soldiers even opened fire [in the simulation], the general and his scientists had reached their conclusions, predictable conclusions: Mohammed al-Dura and his father had not been shot by Israelis." General Samia: "I am very sure that they were shot from the Palestinian side." Simon: "The general may believe that, but it will be a hard sell even to Israelis."
On the March 20, 2002, Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, Hume reported that "A German TV network, ARD, has aired a documentary casting doubt on the widely-held belief that Israeli gunfire killed the boy. ARD raised questions about, among other things, whether it was even possible for him to be hit from the Israeli position. Of why the bullets in the boy's body have seemingly disappeared, and why Palestinians never investigated the incident."
On the May 20, 2003, Lester Holt Live, MSNBC's Holt interviewed James Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly about his article on the subject: "The Arab world blamed Israeli soldiers for the Palestinian boy's death. And al-Dura became the symbol of a Palestinian struggle against
A Nexis search reveals no apparent evidence that ABC or NBC ever reported on the Israeli military's conclusion that they were likely not responsible for the gunfire seen in the video.While it may be partially understandable that the media would want to wait until the court process runs its entire course before reporting the possibility that the al-Dura shooting was itself a hoax, especially since the Israeli government has been reluctant to join in this aspect of the dispute, the media should at least have reported that the Israeli military disputes the charge of its culpability. Plus, there should be some interest in the general issue of Palestinians staging events to use for propaganda, especially since some apparently staged footage made it onto a number of American news shows such as 60 Minutes.
Below are examples of transcripts from evening, morning and primetime news programs showing that the al-Dura affair was covered numerous times, with most news programs at some point reporting that Israeli troops were responsible for the shooting, and also relaying to viewers that a substantial amount of violence was inspired after the al-Dura shooting. There are also a few stories listed below which report on the possibility that Palestinians may have been responsible for the shooting:
On the September 30, 2000, CBS Evening News, David Hawkins described al-Dura as being caught in a crossfire between Israeli troops and Palestinians: "Thousands of stone throwers clashed with Israeli troops all across the
On the September 30, 2000, NBC Nightly News, anchor John Seigenthaler hinted that al-Dura was killed by Israeli troops when they "opened fire":
JOHN SEIGENTHALER, IN OPENING TEASER: The worst violence in years in the
Middle East. A bloody confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians. [SHOWS BRIEF CLIP OF AL-DURA'S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE] A child killed in the crossfire. Tensions increasing.
SEIGENTHALER: Good evening, everyone. On Rosh Hashanah, a religious holy day marking the Jewish new year, a bloody confrontation erupted in the West Bank and
strip. Israeli troops opened fire today on Palestinian rioters, killing 12 people, including a 12-year-old boy caught in the crossfire, 500 others wounded. New violence which threatens to derail the peace process. NBC's Tom Aspell reports from Tel Aviv. Gaza
Correspondent Tom Aspell merely described al-Dura as being "caught in the crossfire" without implying which side was responsible:
TOM ASPELL: There hasn't been violence like this in four years. On the third straight day of clashes, Palestinians brought out their guns. In the
strip, [SHOWS CLIP FROM PALLYWOOD OF PALESTINIAN MAN NEXT TO JEEP APPEARING TO BE SHOT, BUT NOT THE AMBULANCE SHOWING UP] firefights near Israeli army outposts guarding isolated Jewish settlements. [SHOWS THE CLIP OF THE AL-DURA'S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE, THEN THE BOY IS LYING AS IF HE'S BEEN SHOT] A Palestinian man caught in the crossfire tries to protect his 12-year-old son. Chaos all around them but both are shot. The father is badly wounded and the boy is killed. Gaza
ABC's World News Tonight Saturday did not air on September 30, 2000.
On the September 30, 2000, CNN World View, correspondent Mike Hanna's story on the Middle East violence did not mention al-Dura, but used footage from Pallywood of the man next to the jeep being dragged across the pavement, but the scene of him appearing to be shot or of the ambulance arriving are not shown.On the October 1, 2000, World News Tonight Sunday, ABC correspondent Gillian Findlay blamed the al-Dura shooting on Israeli gunfire: "Four days of fighting, dozens of new martyrs and an image that will haunt everyone in this conflict for years to come. It happened yesterday in
More of World News Tonight Saturday’s October 1 coverage:
[DURING OPENING TEASER, PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE AL-DURA FOOTAGE ARE SHOWN, AND A BRIEF CLIP OF JAMAL AL-DURA WAVING WHILE HIDING FROM GUNFIRE]:
CAROL SIMPSON, IN OPENING TEASER: And the image that will not soon fade: The man who captured it tells the story behind it.
'S REPORT, SHE SHOWS THE CLIP FROM PALLYWOOD OF THE MAN FIRING HIS GUN INTO A HOLE IN A WALL. SHE ALSO SHOWS THE CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND APPEARING TO BE SHOT. THEN A CLIP OF A FUNERAL PROCESSION CARRYING A BOY’S BODY IS SHOWN.] FINDLAY
BEFORE THE FIRST COMMERCIAL BREAK, THE
AL-DURA CLIP IS SHOWN AGAIN, AND SIMPSON SAYS: And an enduring image of the latest Mideastfighting: An interview with the cameraman who captured it.
BEFORE THE FINAL COMMERCIAL BREAK, A BRIEF CLIP OF THE AL-DURA'S IS SHOWN AGAIN, SIMPSON SAYS: When we return, recording the horrors of the
At the end of the same October 1 show, ABC anchor Carole Simpson aired comments from the Palestinian cameraman, Talal Abu Rahmeh, who described his version of events:
CAROLE SIMPSON: Finally tonight, a disturbing image of loss, a father and child in a moment of terror. The Palestinian cameraman who recorded it is 45-year-old Talal Abu Rahmeh who works in
for France 2 TV. In tonight's "Reporter's Notebook," he recalls the moment. Again, we warn you that what follows is difficult to watch. Gaza
[THE AL-DURA SEQUENCE IS DIVIDED INTO CLIPS AS RAHMEH TELLS THE STORY]
TALAL ABU RAHMEH: The shooting, it start, became like rain, unbelievable. Never, ever, I saw shooting like this. I looked at the wall, I find there the boy and the father, (SOUNDS LIKE HE SAYS "beside the biggest storm"), the bullet came to the boy leg. He got injured in his, in his leg. And after that the shooting start coming faster and faster and faster with them. And the father was moving his hand and trying to get some help. He looked at me, and, "Help." I said, "I can't." He was squeezing the boy to his side, you know, to try to protect him. In that minute right, he was squeezing the boy, the father got bullet in his arm. I saw something, "boom." It just big, big dust. I look in my frame, I find out the boy is being laying down and his father left and the father got more bullet and he was going like this. (MOVES HIS
UPPER BODY IN A CIRCLEIMITATING JAMAL AL-DURA) That minute I was screaming on the camera, "The boy is dead, the boy is dead." Well, I hope this picture I filmed yesterday to be, and from the Palestinian and the Israeli initiation, when they initiate because a lot of civilians did die for nothing. I want them to understand one of these days, the Israeli and the Palestinian negotiator, maybe one day their own sons will be in the same position.
SIMPSON: And that's our report. I'm Carole Simpson. For all of us here at ABC News, have a good week and good night.
On the October 1, 2000, CBS Sunday Morning, David Hawkins slanted the story in favor of criticisms by Palestinians of "excessive force" by Israelis: "But 18 Palestinians have been killed, including a young boy caught in the crossfire during a firefight in
[REPORT SHOWED THE CLIP OF THE AL-DURA'S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND THEN APPEARING TO HAVE BEEN SHOT, FOLLOWED BY A BRIEF CLIP OF THE FUNERAL PROCESSION BUT WITHOUT SHOWING THE BOY'S BODY. REPORT ALSO SHOWED THE CLIP OF THE MAN NEXT TO THE JEEP APPEARING TO BE SHOT, AND THE AMBULANCE CAN JUST BARELY BE SEEN ARRIVING ALONG THE FAR RIGHT EDGE OF THE SCREEN]
The October 1, 2000, CBS Evening News led with the story. David Hawkins reported: "In four days of clashes, 29 Palestinians killed, more than 700 injured. About a dozen Israeli soldiers are reported wounded, one dead. The lopsided casualty figures, proof, the Palestinians say, that
[THE HAWKINS REPORT ALSO SHOWED THE CLIP FROM PALLYWOOD OF THE MAN FIRING INTO AN OPENING IN A WALL]
On the October 1, 2000, Sunday Today:
TOM ASPELL: Among the dead after three days of rioting, [SHOWS CLIP OF BOY'S BODY IN FUNERAL PROCESSION] 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura. Thousands of Palestinians marched at his funeral in
last night. [SHOWS CLIP OF AL-DURA'S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND APPEARING TO BE SHOT] The boy's death in the arms of his father caught in a crossfire. His father trying to protect his son, who in the chaos is hit by a bullet in the stomach. It has galvanized Palestinians, who have been battling Israeli soldiers for three days in Gaza Gaza, in Jerusalem, and all over the West Bank. Palestinian officials blame for using excessive force. Israel
ABU ALLAH, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: They held all the responsible about what's happening. They killed the Palestinians. They killed them.
says an appeal from Yasser Arafat would stop the violence. But Palestinian casualties are mounting, and the rioting has now taken on a momentum of its own. The Palestinians have guns now. They're shooting at Israeli soldiers in the worst violence here in four years. [SHOWS THE CLIP FROM PALLYWOOD OF THE PALESTINIAN MAN WHO APPEARS TO BE SHOT NEXT TO A JEEP. EDGE OF AMBULANCE CAN BARELY BE SEEN ARRIVING AT FAR RIGHT SIDE OF SCREEN] This morning, Arab governments are condemning Israel and backing the Palestinians. The violence is threatening to kill the peace process. Tom Aspell, NBC News, Tel Aviv. Israel
Later on the October 1, 2000, Sunday Today, Maurice DuBois reported: "There was more violence in
On the October 1, 2000, NBC Nightly News:
JOHN SEIGENTHALER, IN OPENING TEASER: The mounting bloodshed in the
Middle Eastbetween [SHOWS CLIP OF PALESTINIAN MAN FIRING THROUGH HOLE IN A WALL FROM PALLYWOOD] Palestinians and Israelis.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I'm sorry to say we are in a war.
ASPELL REPORTED: Palestinians have been enraged by the death of 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura. [SHOWS CLIP OF BOY'S BODY IN FUNERAL PROCESSION] Thousands attended his funeral after television pictures [SHOWS CLIP OF THE AL-DURA'S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND APPEARING TO BE SHOT] yesterday showed the boy's father trying to protect him from gunfire, but in the chaos, the boy was killed by a bullet in the stomach. His father, badly wounded.
On the October 1, 2000, CNN World View, anchor Andria Hall reported: "Now, putting a human face on the troubles in the Middle East, a funeral was held Sunday for a 12-year-old boy who was shot during the violence in the Gaza Strip. [SHOWS A CLIP OF THE AL-DURA'S, WITH THE BOY LYING WITH HIS HANDS OVER HIS EYES, THE FATHER'S HEAD MOVING IN CIRCLES LIKE HE WAS DELIRIOUS, THEN A CLIP OF THE FUNERAL PROCESSION BUT WITHOUT SHOWING ANY CLOSE-UP OF THE BOY'S BODY] The boy died in his father's arms. Israeli authorities say the boy was caught in the crossfire. Palestinians said the boy had been intentionally targeted by Israeli sharpshooters.
On the October 2, 2000, Good Morning America, the al-Dura clip was not shown or mentioned, nor were other clips from Pallywood.
On the October 2, 2000, World News Now, anchor ABC’s Liz Cho reported: "People on both sides have died. Thousands of mourners joined the funeral procession of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy killed in the cross fire of a gun battle. His death has caused widespread outrage. Rioters ignored a cease-fire declared last night and continued their rock throwing and gun fire." And correspondent Gillian Findlay again described al-Dura and his father as being "trapped under Israeli fire."
On the October 2, 2000, World News Tonight, ABC's Peter Jennings reported that the al-Dura shooting "exacerbated" the violence which started "when the leader of the Israeli opposition made a provocative visit to the holiest site in Jerusalem."
Possibly with the intent to scold Israeli media for not showing the al-Dura shooting on television enough, Gillian Findlay relayed that "It has appeared on
On the October 2, 2000, CBS Evening News, David Hawkins reported on Palestinian complaints of "excessive force" by Israelis:
DAVID HAWKINS: "Despite calls for a cease-fire from the leaders of both sides, 13 more people died in today's fighting -- 11 Arabs and two Jews -- more than 40 dead and about 1,000 hurt, almost all the victims Arabs – proof, the Palestinians say, that Israel is using excessive force. [SHOWS CLIP OF THE AL-DURA'S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE, THEN THE CLIP OF THE BOY LYING WITH HIS HANDS OVER HIS EYES AND THE FATHER APPEARING DELIRIOUS. THEN A CLIP FROM THE FUNERAL PROCESSION, BUT NO CLOSE-UP OF BOY'S BODY] These horrifying pictures, taken by a crew working for French TV: A man tries in vain to protect his son. Twelve-year-old Mohammed al-Dura died in his father's arms -- his father, Jamal, seriously wounded. The boy now a symbol to angry Palestinians and a watching world.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I mean, I was, literally, watching it as if it were someone I knew, you know? And I, it was a heartbreaking thing to see a child like that caught in a crossfire.
's soldiers are showing the utmost restraint, says Prime Minister Ehud Barak. He accused Yasser Arafat of instigating the violence to improve his bargaining position in peace talks. Israel
EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We are sorry for casualties and loss of life on both sides of this conflict, but it's clear to us that the responsibility for the events lies with the Palestinian Authority.
HAWKINS: Palestinians say the Israelis started it, that riots were touched off by a provocative visit last week to a Muslim holy site in
by Ariel Sharon, a right-wing politician reviled by many Arabs. Only Jerusalem , says Yasser Arafat, can stop the escalation of bloodshed. Israel
On the October 2, 2000, CNN Morning News, ITN reporter Kevin Dunn blamed the al-Dura shooting on Israeli troops: "But for a fifth day, clashes erupted in the
[DUE TO THE SHOW’S ABSENCE IN THE MRC’S ARCHIVE OF RECORDINGS, WHICH FOOTAGE WAS SHOWN IN THE REPORT WAS NOT VERIFIED]
On the October 2, 2000, Today, NBC's Ann Curry reported: "The fighting was ignited Thursday when Israeli hard-liner Ariel Sharon visited the
The October 2, 2000, NBC Nightly News ran a full report on the story, anchored by Tom Brokaw:
TOM BROKAW, IN OPENING TEASER: High stakes: On the eve of the first
U.S.presidential debate, new violence explodes in the Middle East. [SHOWS A CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE] That haunting image, a young boy caught in the crossfire.
MARTIN FLETCHER: “Inevitably, the innocent are killed. [SHOWS CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE, THEN APPEARING TO BE SHOT] In these pictures that stunned the world, a Palestinian father shields his 12-year-old boy in vain. He was shot dead, the father wounded. The head of
Israel's right-wing opposition sparked the fighting when last week he set foot in a Muslim shrine in , a holy site that Jews claim is also theirs. Palestinians, already frustrated by lack of progress in the peace process, reacted with fury." Fletcher later added: "As the fighting gets worse, Jerusalem is ready to use heavy weapons, helicopter gunships, tanks and armored carriers deployed around Palestinian towns. An already brutal confrontation dangerously close to spinning out of control." Israel
Fletcher's report also ran on the same night's News with Brian Williams on MSNBC.
[BROKAW INTRODUCES THE NEXT STORY WHILE A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE IS DISPLAYED IN THE UPPER LEFT QUADRANT OF THE SCREEN]
BROKAW: "There is so much violence in so many areas in
, it is difficult to sort out one image from another with that one heart-breaking exception. Fair warning, this is a graphic example of the violence – a young Palestinian victim, the picture of innocence and helplessness. Here's NBC's Andrea Mitchell." Israel
[THE REPORT BEGINS BY SHOWING CLIPS OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM
SEEN ON SEVERAL DIFFERENT TELEVISION STATIONS, FOLLOWED BY A CLIP OF MOHAMMED AL-DURA’S MOTHER CRYING] GUNFIRE AS
ANDREA MITCHELL: A powerful image broadcast on Palestinian television, Israeli television and around the world. The face of a child in terror, a father helpless to protect him. A mother now in mourning points to the picture of her son's death. She says, "What a tragedy for us. Look for yourself." And the world is looking.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I kept wondering if there was something else that the father could do to shield the child.
[CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE IS SHOWN AGAIN]
MITCHELL: The 12-year-old boy, Mohammed al-Dura, and his father trapped in a storm of gunfire. A television cameraman, 15 yards away, unable to save them.
TALAL ABU RAHMEH, PALESTINIAN CAMERAMAN FOR FRANCE 2 TV: It was raining from the bullets, just, just bullets all over.
[CLIP IS SHOWN OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND THEN APPEARING TO BE SHOT]
MITCHELL: The child is hit in the leg. The father calls for help. For almost an hour the child bleeds. The father screams. Then the fifth hail of bullets.
RAHMEH: I scream in the tape, as you hear me, "The boy is dead. The boy is dead."
MITCHELL: Most observers believe the image will incite more violence, at least in the short term.
: This little boy certainly will become a martyr for the Palestinians, and they will remind the world again and again of his unnecessary death. WOODROW WILSON CENTER
PROFESSOR MAMOUN FANDY,
: This is a make-or-break picture. Either it makes people extremely sensitive to the need for a conclusion of the peace process right now, or it could contribute to tremendous violence in the region. GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY
MITCHELL: Tonight, with the violence growing,
officials still hope this powerful image could force all sides to take stock, halt the cycle of violence, rethink their negotiating positions. U.S. : When the smoke clears here, it might actually be a spur to both sides, as a sober reminder to what the alternative to peace could be. CLINTON
[CLIP OF A FUNERAL PROCESSION IS SHOWN, BUT NO CLOSE UP OF THE BODY. THEN THE CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE IS SHOWN AGAIN AS THE REPORT ENDS]
MITCHELL: But experts see little chance that the smoke will clear any time soon, leaving only the senseless death of a 12-year-old child. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News,
On the October 2, 2000, Fox Report on FNC, Shepard Smith teased the show:
SHEPARD SMITH, IN OPENING TEASER: The Mideast kill zone. Scores dead as intense street fighting rages for the fifth straight day, threatening the stability of the entire region. [SHOWS CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE] Tonight, the heartbreaking story of one father, one son, and the brutal cost of battle, as Fox reports right now.
[AS SMITH INTRODUCES THE FIRST STORY, THE CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE IS SHOWN AGAIN, INCLUDING THE LATER PARTS WHEN THEY APPEAR TO BE SHOT AND THE FATHER APPEARS TO BE SITTING UP WOUNDED]
SMITH: A holy war over one of the holiest sites in the world. As Fox reports tonight, at least 40 people killed in five days of violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. One of the victims, a 12-year-old boy whose father desperately tried to shield him from a barrage of bullets, and a two-year-old girl gunned down in her family car on the way to the hospital. The White House and world leaders calling on both sides to call a cease-fire, and the President saying he’s not giving up hope on the peace process.
BILL CLINTON: When the smoke clears here, it might actually be a spur to both sides as a sober reminder to what the alternative to peace could be.
[CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE IS SHOWN AGAIN, INCLUDING THE LATER PARTS WHEN THEY APPEAR TO BE SHOT AND THE FATHER APPEARS TO BE SITTING UP WOUNDED]
RITA COSBY: Now, one of the most heartbreaking incidents happened on Saturday, and was captured on videotape. It showed a terrified 12-year-old Palestinian boy dying in a crossfire of bullets, as he huddled near a cement block with his father, who was trying to protect him.
[A 2-SECOND CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE IS SHOWN AGAIN DURING THE 7:30 RECAP OF TOP STORIES]
FNC also ran the clip of the al-Dura’s hiding from gunfire during the newsbrief before the O’Reilly Factor and again before Hannity and Colmes.
On the October 3, 2000, The Early Show on CBS:
JIM NANCE, SUBSTITUTE ANCHOR, IN OPENING TEASER: In Israel, a shaky cease-fire. World leaders rush to a summit in
[AT 7:18 AM, A REPORT BY DAVID HAWKINS RAN UPDATING VIEWERS ON THE CEASE-FIRE, AND USED THE CLIP FROM PALLYWOOD OF THE MAN FIRING A GUN THROUGH A HOLE IN A WALL]
JULIE CHEN: And later, we'll talk with the man many believe triggered the latest
At 7:30 AM, Jane Clayson interviewed Ariel Sharon, and asked a line of questions blaming him for the violence, and asking him did he "take any responsibility for what happened to that child?"
JANE CLAYSON: As we've reported, there is a shaky cease-fire this morning, after five days of pitched battles between Israelis and Palestinians. Most believe the peace will not hold, though. Political heads meet in
ARIEL SHARON, LIKUD PARTY LEADER: Good morning to you.
CLAYSON: A lot of people say that you are responsible for the violence in
CLAYSON: But didn't you anticipate that the violence would break out when you went to the
CLAYSON: Anyone can go anywhere, but you went there, but you went there with armed guards, and you must have known that this would instigate some sort of a conflict.
CLAYSON: Mr. Sharon, explain what you mean by Mr. Arafat being responsible for this.
CLAYSON: Okay. Let me ask you about one of the most disturbing and provocative images [SHOWS THE CLIP OF THE AL-DURA'S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND THEN APPEARING TO HAVE BEEN SHOT] from the violence so far. It came this weekend. It's a picture of that 12-year-old little boy who was caught in a crossfire, who eventually died in his father's arms. Do you take any responsibility for what happened to that child?
CLAYSON: Well, Mr. Arafat has been working on, has been working on peace negotiations. In fact, all of this violence breaks out as Mr. Clinton, President Clinton, is trying to work on the peace process. How derailed are these talks now? Do you think we can ever, you can ever pick up again?
CLAYSON: In one answer, yes or no, are you optimistic that today's cease-fire will hold? Yes or no?
Later, Julie Chen reported: "A cease-fire declared this morning by Israeli and Palestinian forces has already been broke. Five days of bloodshed has left more than 50 people dead. The trouble began last week when Israeli politician Ariel Sharon visited a
On the October 3, 2000, CNN Morning News, Mike Hanna reported:
MIKE HANNA: At around 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jamal and his 12-year-old son Mohammed al-Dura are caught in the conflict. Relatives say the two were on their way back from a secondhand car market when they attempted to cross a junction with Palestinians on one side and Israeli security forces on the other. Jamal was seriously wounded in a hail of gunfire. His son died in his arms. Killed too an ambulance driver who attempted to rescue them. Israeli security forces contend the boy was killed in crossfire and say an investigation into the death will be carried out if the Palestinian Authority cooperates. The death one of many in a cycle of violence that began Thursday. That was when Israeli opposition politician Ariel Sharon erected to visit a holy site in the old city of
NABIL SHAATH, PALESTINIAN CABINET MINISTER: There was no use of the proper instruments of so-called riot control. This was premeditated murder of people shot by snipers that escalated the situation to a very dangerous situation.
GENERAL DAVID TZUR, MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY: We had to use the rubber bullet. We had to use tear gas. And when it started to be more and more escalated, so we used the rubber bullet from a very short distance. Unfortunately, there were casualty.
HANNA: On Saturday, intense conflict erupts in the Gaza Strip, as in this Palestinian-controlled territory, demonstrators outside the Jewish enclave of Netzarim are fired on by Israeli forces. Palestinian police open fire on the Israeli position and a running gun fight ensues. It is on this day at a nearby junction that Muhammad al-Dura is killed. The violence is now intense throughout the
[DUE TO THE SHOW’S ABSENCE IN THE MRC’S ARCHIVE OF RECORDINGS, WHICH FOOTAGE WAS SHOWN IN THE REPORT WAS NOT VERIFIED]
On the October 3, 2000, World News This Morning, Hillary Brown reported: "[FIRST SCENE SHOWS MAN FROM PALLYWOOD FIRING INTO AN OPENING IN A WALL] It has seemed like all-out war between Palestinians, their police force, and Israeli soldiers. Now, in its sixth day, more than 50 people have died -- mainly Palestinians. Yesterday, 10 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and
The October 3, 2000, Good Morning
On the October 3, 2000, World News Tonight, Peter Jennings relayed calls by the mother of Mohammed al-Dura that President Clinton should "stop the Israelis from doing what they're doing."
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: People are sick from the situation. People are not ready to accept it anymore.
On the October 3, 2000, CBS Evening News, Dan Rather reported: "More than 50 have died since last Friday, including a young Palestinian boy whose death was caught on video, and whose wounded father called for vengeance today from his hospital bed. As CBS’s David Hawkins reports, this is a level of rage not seen in the region in years."
From the October 4, 2000, Nightline on ABC:
TED KOPPEL, IN OPENING TEASER: Seven days of violence in
[SHOWS CLIP OF MAN WITH WHITE SHIRT AND BLUE PANTS FIRING A GUN THROUGH A WALL, THE SAME SCENE SHOWN TO BE STAGED IN PALLYWOOD. AFTER ANOTHER CLIP OF VIOLENCE IS SHOWN A CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S AFTER THE ALLEGED SHOOTING WHEN THE FATHER IS SITTING UP SUPPOSEDLY WOUNDED]
More than 60 dead, almost 2,000 injured. Tonight, late world of a possible deal that may stop the bloodshed. But will it work? [SHOWS A CLIP OF ARIEL
KOPPEL: What does he now think about the likelihood of peace? I’ll be talking live to Ariel Sharon, the man in the eye of the storm, tonight.
Gillian Findlay relayed the anger over the al-Dura shooting, and that Palestinians see Ariel Sharon as "the devil." During the following portion of her report, the footage is shown of the al-Dura’s hiding from gunfire, and appearing to be shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Mr. Sharon is a provocateur, he and all the people who joined him. He came here in order to build up the area. Al-Aqsa mosque is an Islamic place. Al-Aqsa is in the Palestinian territory.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Mr. Sharon's visit started it.
EHUD BARAK, ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER: It was quite predictable, at a certain point toward the end of negotiation, the Palestinians might consider kind of violent steps as creating certain advantage for them.
MARWAN BARGOUTI: I don't think that the Palestinian people need after the massacre and the aggressive visit of Sharon to the mosque, need any kind of planning, need any kind of inciting from anybody or orders from Mr. Arafat or from anybody.
KOPPEL: Gillian, let me just ask you quickly to fill in our American audience on the domestic political role that Ariel Sharon plays in Israel and on how that may fit into this current situation.
KOPPEL: And joining us now live from his farm in the
You must have known, Mr. Sharon, that what you did when you went to the
KOPPEL: If I may, then, Mr. Sharon, I can only say it looks as though you played right into the hands of the Palestinians then. If, as you say, they were already trying to provoke violence, then having Ariel Sharon, who is after all not just any Israeli, go to the
KOPPEL: Mr. Sharon, forgive me for interrupting you. We're going to have to take a short break. Let me just tell you before the break that the White House appears to be almost as angry, almost as frustrated with you and your behavior as some of the Palestinians are. Let me ask you to consider that for a moment as we take a short break, and I'll ask for your reaction when we come back. Back with Ariel Sharon in a moment.
KOPPEL: And we're back once again with Ariel Sharon. I am told by my colleagues over at the White House this evening that officials there are both frustrated and extremely angry at you personally. They believe that you may have undermined whatever chances for peace there were between the Israelis and the Palestinians. First of all, do you care?
KOPPEL: We have only about a minute left, and let me just ask you one political question. The Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, has a razor-thin majority. It is feared that he will not be able to continue ruling without forming some kind of a coalition government with your party, with the Likud. If that happens, will there be a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, anything near along the lines of what was negotiated last summer here in
KOPPEL: Mr. Sharon, I'm afraid we're out of time. It was very good of you to join us live this evening. And I look forward to talking to you again soon. Thank you, sir.
Host Ted Koppel later interviewed Sharon, blaming him for inciting the violence: "And joining us now live from his farm in the Negev Desert in Israel, Ariel Sharon, the chairman of the Likud party and the man whom the Palestinians are still calling a devil."
From the October 4, 2000, Special Report with Brit Hume: One of the victims of the conflict has now become a symbol that continues to fuel the trouble, as Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin reports from Gaza.
ALMA AL-DURA, MOTHER, THROUGH TRANSLATOR: The Israelis are heartless. They shot him once and didn't stop shooting until he was dead. Don't the Israeli soldiers have children of their own?
[CLIP IS SHOWN OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND THEN APPEARING TO BE SHOT]
On the October 4. 2000, Fox Report, Shepard Smith introduced the same story by Griffin as the clip of the al-Dura’s hiding from gunfire and then appearing to be shot being played on screen. Smith: "Well, six of those people dying today. Fierce fighting in the
On the October 9, 2000, CBS Morning News, David Hawkins reported that "on the border with Lebanon, three Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah guerrillas -- revenge, the guerrillas say, for the murder of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy during last week's clashes."
On the October 10, 2000, CBS Morning News, David Martin called the violence "the worst
Martin also relayed that Saddam Hussein "already has named a school after that 12-year-old Palestinian boy caught in a crossfire that now threatens to have consequences far beyond the tragic death of an innocent child."
On the October 13, 2000, Nightline, titled "Snapshots of a Conflict," the show looked at the images both of the al-Dura shooting and the beating death of two Israeli reservists by a Palestinian mob and discussed the effects such images have on feelings of anger that Palestinians and Israelis feel toward each other.
From the October 13 Nightline:
ANNOUNCER: This is a Nightline Friday Night Special.
[SHOWS PHOTOGRAPH OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE STARTING WITH A CLOSE-UP OF MOHAMMED’S TERRIFIED FACIAL EXPRESSION]
TED KOPPEL: The image, the power of a single image-
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: We have people being killed, as we saw, and people being wounded.
KOPPEL: -to move us-
BILL CLINTON: It was a heartbreaking thing to see a child like that caught in a crossfire.
[SHOWS PHOTOGRAPH OF PALESTINIAN MAN IN A WINDOW HOLDING UP HIS BLOODY HANDS AFTER TAKING PART IN BEATING TO DEATH OF TWO ISRAELI RESERVISTS]
KOPPEL: -to define a moment-
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: This image is saying that this is their revenge.
KOPPEL: -to reduce an entire conflict to a single picture.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: The horrible pictures shock every human being.
KOPPEL: But does it tell the whole story?
KOPPEL: Tonight, "Snapshots of a Conflict," the power of an image.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, this is Nightline. Reporting from Washington, Ted Koppel.
KOPPEL: During the First World War, propagandists on the British side purveyed stories of the German Kaiser's troops raping Belgian nuns, tossing babies in the air and catching them on their bayonets. There is no evidence that any such events actually took place, but the stories had their desired effect.
Prior to the Spanish-American war in
The pictures we have seen these last few days from
One horrible image struggles for our attention with the next. The latest among them: the mutilated body of that Israeli soldier lynched inside a Palestinian police station and tossed out of an open window, a young Palestinian appearing a moment later, triumphantly exposing his bloody hands to the crowd below. And each of us imposes on each picture the template of his own fears and prejudices. The images, as Nightline correspondent John Donvan reminds us, are tools of war as much as any gun or rocket.
[JOHN DONVAN’S SETUP PIECE STARTS BY SHOWING A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE PALESTINIAN MAN WITH BLOOD ON HIS HANDS STANDING IN A WINDOW, WHO HELPED BEAT TO DEATH TWO ISRAELI RESERVISTS, AND SHOWS FOOTAGE OF THE MOB THAT BEAT THE TWO ISRAELI RESERVISTS TO DEATH. ONE ISRAELI’S BODY IS SEEN DROPPING FROM A WINDOW AND BEING SURROUNDED BY THE MOB WITH ONE PALESTINIAN BEATING HIM WITH A LARGE OBJECT.]
JOHN DONVAN: Let's just admit it: The word that comes to mind the very first time you lay eyes on this photo is "savage." Politically incorrect it may be, but when the news tells you that two Israeli soldiers were beaten to death yesterday by a crowd in and around a Palestinian police station, a crowd that looked like it was enjoying itself, and then the headline photo is one of the killers with his hands dipped in the dead man's blood, grinning from a window, then it seems obvious he is a savage, they are savages, and everything you really need to know about the people the Israelis are fighting is right here in these pictures. Surely the camera doesn't lie.
[CLIP IS SHOWN OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND THEN APPEARING TO BE SHOT]
And if the camera doesn't lie, then what essential truth did it tell us two weeks ago about the Israelis? You probably saw this wretched scene, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Dura, and his father pinned against a wall, shooting all around. Repeatedly the father implores the Israeli soldiers to stop shooting, but Israeli bullets smack into them one after the other. The boy died, and the father finally keeled over. And what this tells you about the Israelis is that when it comes to Palestinians, even Palestinian kids, they are without mercy. That's who the Palestinians are fighting.
The thing about pictures is that you know, or at least you think you know, that what you see is real. But the truth about pictures is that they don't necessarily tell the whole truth. And yet, in a place like the
Another image that had enormous impact, it was 1982. The Israelis had invaded
For many years, most of us in the
In 1967 it is true that
And then how the images reversed. In 1987 the Palestinians learned to play underdog. In the Intifada, they let the world see who had the guns in
[SHOWS PHOTOGRAPH OF THE PALESTINIAN MAN WITH BLOOD ON HIS HANDS AND THE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM
And now we have these two new horrifying pictures to deal with. They are very different episodes, very different circumstances, not necessarily morally equivalent. And already Nightline viewers are using them to draw conclusions about the Palestinians as a people and the Israelis as a people.
This e-mail from Y. Schwartz, who calls the Palestinians "a bunch of vicious animals with no mercy." And this from Mourad Ouazzi, who writes that the Israelis "have shown us the true face of terrorists and sinners."
Were there extenuating circumstances surrounding both sets of pictures? Perhaps. Nightline obtained this aerial photograph from the Israeli Defense Ministry taken at the time of 12-year-old Mohammed's death. They claim it shows Mohammed and his father caught between two Palestinian snipers, here and here, who were firing on an Israeli position in this building. The Israelis say the angle at which they fired back at the second sniper would have brought the gunfire dangerously close to the father and son, that it was an accident, not a deliberate killing, as many Palestinians now believe.
As for the mob that attacked the Israeli soldiers yesterday, ABC producer Nasser Atta saw it happen, and reports that most of the crowd had just come from burying someone the Israelis killed earlier in the week, and they were reacting to a wild rumor that the soldiers were assassins.
NASSER ATTA: This was the story, that those are two soldiers from the "elite forces"--this is the way the Israelis call them--and they are from the "death squad," "undercover units," that wear like dresses like Arabs, and they were trying to come to the funeral so they would be able to assassinate the head of Fatah, who is the street leader, Marwan Barghouti.
DONVAN: Palestinians also raise reasonable questions about the Israeli version of what happened. How could the Israeli soldiers have stumbled accidentally into a major Palestinian city? And can the Israelis really know that the Palestinian police were accomplices in the killings?
Does any of this justify what happened? Absolutely not. But it shows us how the stories that pictures tell may leave out some critical details. Of course, it's easier to picture your enemy as purely evil--easier except when the time comes to make peace.
And tonight, we Americans have a new set of pictures to try and make sense of. Today they began bringing home the bodies of the 17 men killed by a suicide attack against the USS Cole anchored in
TED KOPPEL: When we come back, two of our colleagues, two ABC News producers, one Palestinian, one Israeli, give their personal insights into the images and their own experiences.
On the October 24, 2000, 60 Minutes II, correspondent Bob Simon reported on the effect of the al-Dura shooting image on the Arab world:
BOB SIMON, TEASING THE SEGMENT: When 12-year-old Mohammad al-Dura was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers as he lay cradled in his father's arms, the entire world was appalled. This kid, throwing stones one minute, was a corpse the next. Just like that. There have been nearly 40 Palestinian children killed in the past few weeks, hundreds more injured. They just keep on falling.
SIMON: Why are your soldiers killing so many kids?
BRIGADIER GENERAL BENNY GANTZ: First of all, I hope that we are not killing too many kids, though I know there were cases which kids were killed.
SIMON: Do you think that the Palestinians are actually pushing their kids to the frontline?
SIMON INTRODUCED THE SEGMENT: When 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers as he lay cradled in his father's arms, the entire world was appalled. And before you could say Intifada, posters of the newest Palestinian martyr went up in every Arab nation. On the poster, three little words: 'to be continued.' Fighting this part of the world has continued now for half a century, and when you go to the
SIMON LATER ADDED: "And resistance creates victims who become martyrs, hardening the hearts of both peoples, making compromise even more difficult to imagine. Just think of two pictures from the last few weeks. An Israeli soldier thrown out of a window, his body ripped apart by an Arab mob. That Palestinian 12-year-old, Mohammad al-Dura, shot to death by Israeli soldiers while wrapped in the arms of his father. They weren't even part of the protest. They were shopping for a used car and got trapped in the crossfire. Two pictures, icons now, bringing home more than any images of the last 50 years just how savage and senseless this conflict has become."
On the October 25, 2000, CBS Evening News, Dan Rather ran a full story on the al-Dura shooting:
[AS RATHER PLUGGED THE STORY BEFORE A COMMERCIAL BREAK, A BRIEF CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE WAS SHOWN]
RATHER: And later, revelations about the death of a Palestinian child from the man behind the camera.
[SAME CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S IS SHOWN AGAIN BEFORE ANOTHER PLUG BY RATHER]
RATHER: Ahead on the CBS Evening News, new information about the on-camera death of a Palestinian child.
In his report, David Hawkins reported that the Israeli military had just picked up a copy of the videotape to investigate. He also included a clip of the Palestinian cameraman with France 2 TV claiming that the al-Duras "were the target for the shooting" after Palestinian gunmen had fled:
DAVID HAWKINS: There's no question it was chaos that day. The Israeli post at Netzarim Junction, a crossroads in the Gaza Strip, was under siege by stone-throwing teenagers. [CLIP IS SHOWN OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE] Jamal al-Dura and his 12-year-old son, Mohammed, were dropped off in the middle of all this by a taxi driver who refused to drive through the melee. There's no evidence that either of them ever picked up a rock. When Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen exchanged fire, the al-Dura’s took cover behind a concrete block along a wall on the southeast corner of the crossroads. According to the Israeli military's description of the scene, the Palestinians were firing from positions about 30 yards to either side of the al-Dura’s. The cameraman who took the shot seen round the world was across the street.
TALAL ABU RAHMEH, PALESTINIAN CAMERAMAN WORKING FOR FRANCE 2 TV: Then I was filming this way. I'm panning my camera. I saw the boy and the father right here.
HAWKINS: Talal Abu Rahmeh says the firefight was over in five minutes. Outgunned and out of ammunition, the Palestinian gunmen ran away. The Israelis, he says, kept firing for 45 minutes more at anything and anyone that moved.
RAHMEH: The boy was injured. He was scared, even the boy, it was clear for whoever behind me, there is a boy and the man needs help.
HAWKINS: The Israeli military refused our requests for an interview. They did, however, give us this statement: "It was not possible to identify the source of fire. Therefore, it is impossible to determine who injured the boy and his father." Jamal and Mohammed al-Dura, the statement says, found themselves in the line of fire.
RAHMEH: In the beginning, they're caught in the crossfire. But after 10 minutes, they were the target for the shooting. I could tell you that. I am a journalist. I am not biased. Maybe they think I am a Palestinian, but I am a journalist before anything. It's a human life. We're talking about the children. A child got killed here.
[CLIPS ARE SHOWN OF A BOY’S BODY BEING CARRIED IN A FUNERAL PROCESSION]
HAWKINS: Mohammed al-Dura died of stomach wounds. According to the doctor who pronounced him dead, those wounds were caused by a large-caliber, high-velocity machine gun, a weapon only the Israelis were firing that day. If ballistic tests were done, the results have not been released. The Israelis have torn down the wall where Mohammed al-Dura was killed, any evidence destroyed. [CLIP IS SHOWN OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND APPEARING TO BE SHOT] The best remaining evidence, though, may be the videotape.
RATHER: Later this week, on the CBS Evening News, correspondent Hawkins will report in depth on the more radical and violent elements of the Palestinian movement now gaining ground in their attempts to attack and pressure Israel.
On October 26, 2000, ABC's Primetime Thursday showed Diane Sawyer talking to Jamal al-Dura and his wife at a hospital in
On the November 12, 2000, 60 Minutes, Bob Simon reported that the Israeli military was starting an investigation of the al-Dura case. After explaining that the scene of the shooting had to be reconstructed, Simon dismissed the credibility of the Israeli team, calling their beliefs "predictable." Simon: "But before the soldiers even opened fire [in their simulation], the general and his scientists had reached their conclusions, predictable conclusions: Mohammed al-Dura and his father had not been shot by Israelis." General Yom-Tov Samia: "I am very sure that they were shot from the Palestinian side." Simon: "The general may believe that, but it will be a hard sell even to Israelis."
The November 12, 2000, edition of 60 Minutes, which is the same edition that is analyzed in the film Pallywood:
[CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE IS SHOWN DURING THE TEASER AS BOB SIMON BEGINS HIS PORTION OF THE TEASER]
BOB SIMON, IN OPENING TEASER: If the Israelis could erase anything, it would be this picture of the 12-year-old boy who was killed in the cross fire of a battle between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers who were there to protect this Jewish settlement a mile away, so under sieged by Palestinians that their daily bread is delivered by Israeli army helicopter. And when you ask them, "Why are you here?"
SHLOMIT ZIV, ISRAELI SETTLER: God's with us. He promised this land to us. And he's going to give it to us. And I'm sure he has much more patience than I do.
BOB SIMON: One prize President Clinton will not take with him when leaves office in January is peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He tried, but it just didn't work out. In fact, what's happening over there right now is looking more and more like a war, the latest Arab-Israeli war. And the biggest battles are being waged not in
[CLIP IS SHOWN OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND THEN APPEARING TO BE SHOT. DIFFERENT SCENES OF PALESTINIANS SEEMINGLY ENGAGED IN VIOLENCE ARE SHOWN, ONE OF WHICH IS A CLIP OF A MAN BEING DRAGGED ACROSS THE GROUND NEAR AN AMBULANCE – THIS IS FROM THE SCENE SHOWN IN PALLYWOOD IN WHICH THE MAN SEEMED TO BE SHOT AND AN AMBULANCE SHOWED UP RIGHT AFTERWARDS, BUT THE SHOOTING PORTION AND AMBULANCE ARRIVAL PORTION ARE NOT SHOWN]
SIMON: What put it on the map was one incident, one image, which millions have seen and few will forget: a 12-year-old boy, a Palestinian, cowering behind a barrel, his father trying desperately and unsuccessfully to protect him. The boy's family suffered a loss which cannot be measured, and so did
On a quiet day, it's easy to get your bearings here. This is the main artery of the Gaza Strip, where more than a million Palestinians live--runs from north to south. The road crossing it was built by the Israelis to supply a Jewish settlement with 60 families about a mile that way to the west. That bunker behind me, right on the crossroad, is an Israeli army post. It's there to make sure no Palestinians get anywhere near that Jewish settlement.
SIMON: It's called Netzarim, and it's a green and pleasant place: rows of red-roofed houses, clipped lawns, clean air, no crime, a sea view. Ozzie and Harriet would feel right at home here, until they walked to the edge of the community. That's where paradise stops because it's surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers and hatred.
SHLOMIT ZIV: They hate us. When we go through the junction, we see hate in their eyes, we feel the hate. We get stones from children.
SIMON: Shlomit Ziv has lived in Netzarim with her husband and six children for six years, and she doesn't regret a minute, even though it takes an entire army battalion to keep her and her fellow settlers safe, even though soldiers patrol the perimeter 24 hours a day, and there's more security than at Fort Knox; even though food delivery these past weeks has often been by helicopter – daily bread courtesy of the Israeli army, manna from heaven. What's the point of living in the Gaza Strip with 1.2 million Palestinians who do not want you here?
ZIV: The same point as living in all
SIMON: Netzarim was established 27 years ago as an army camp and soon became an agricultural community. Some of the settlers still do some farming, tomatoes in hothouses. A few others teach in the settlement's high-tech elementary school. But most go to work in
SIMON: There are many places in
ZIV: First of all, I can, you see. This is, this is very beautiful settlement. We can live here.
SIMON: And your kids can only leave in a convoy escorted by army soldiers. This isn't normal.
ZIV: Yeah, but my way of life, everything I do, I don't decide what to do by what's easy or by what's comfortable.
SIMON: All the people who live in Netzarim are fervent religious nationalists. They believe that when God gave the
ZIV: Abraham was here. God told him when he walked around here, 'I'll give you this land.'
SIMON: So the Gaza Strip one day will be part of
ZIV: That's what I believe.
SIMON: And what's going to happen to the 1.2 million Palestinians who live in
ZIV: They will decide if they want to stay here peacefully with us, to be citizens of our land, of our state, welcome.
SIMON: Around the crossroad, views tend to get blurred. For a clear vision, you have to step back a bit. Hirsch Goodman is an Israeli military analyst, a senior fellow at the
HIRSCH GOODMAN, JAFFEE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES: These people of the, are a tremendous cost to
[SHOWS FOOTAGE OF PALESTINIANS SEEMING TO BE ENGAGED IN VIOLENCE, WHICH IS SHOWN IN PALLYWOOD. THE CLIP OF THE MAN APPEARING TO BE SHOT NEXT TO A JEEP IS SHOWN, BUT THE IMMEDIATE ARRIVAL OF THE AMBULANCE NEXT TO HIM IS NOT SHOWN]
SIMON: Just how much of a thorn was revealed these last few weeks. Netzarim was directly responsible for one of the most disastrous setbacks
GENERAL YOM-TOV SAMIA: From the very beginning, the reasons from my side is to check and clean up our values, to see that we are still acting as the IDF.
SIMON: The Israeli Defense Forces.
SAMIA: The Israeli Defense Forces, with written values; that we are not shooting kids.
SIMON: It was as if the right of Israelis to be here at all in the settlement, at the crossroad, depended on that picture being erased. So that's what General Yom-Tov Samia set out to prove: that his men didn't kill that kid. But there was a problem. The fighting was continuing, and the soldiers in that army post were receiving fire from surrounding buildings. So the general brought in helicopter gunships and destroyed the buildings: apartment blocks, the factory, the Palestinian police post and the wall where Mohammed and his father were shot. Trouble is he had destroyed the scene of the killing. All the evidence was dust. Why did you rip down the wall and the barrel where they were hiding behind? I mean, wouldn't it be easier to conduct the investigation if they were still here?
SAMIA: I agree with you that it was a mistake. It's my mistake to destroy this wall before ending the investigation, even before starting. So he built a wall at a firing range. He hired scientists. They brought in dummies. Calculations were made – distance, angles. But before the soldiers even opened fire, the general and his scientists had reached their conclusions, predictable conclusions: Mohammed al-Dura and his father had not been shot by Israelis.
SAMIA: I am very sure that they were, they were shot from the Palestinian side.
SIMON: The general may believe that, but it will be a hard sell even to Israelis. How receptive do you think Israelis are to the idea, the general's idea, that the Israelis couldn't have done it?
GOODMAN: I think from the Israeli public's point of view, the damage has been done, and we are perceived as a guilty party here. And all the charts and all the tables and all the explanations are not going to change the Tiananmen Square image of one man in front of a tank or one young boy of 12 years old being shot in a crossfire.
SIMON: And since it happened because of the battle raging by that army post at the crossroad, that army post whose only purpose is to protect the settlement of Netzarim, which the Israeli government admits is of no strategic value whatsoever, why not evacuate the place tomorrow and resettle the settlers in Tel Aviv? Why not just get out of there?
GOODMAN: We cannot be perceived, once again, to be withdrawing under fire. We just cannot do it
SIMON: You have to look tough in this neighborhood.
GOODMAN: You have to look tough and live tough. We're not going to withdraw unilaterally. It would send a disastrous message. Now I, personally, am not one of these great security freaks who say we need all these territories. But I'm saying, for
SIMON: But the Palestinians expected Netzarim to have been closed down a long time ago. That's what they thought the peace process was all about: exchanging land for peace, evacuating settlements. From the refugee camp just down the road, Netzarim is seen as a monument to the continuing Israeli occupation. This place, Bureij, is Mohammed al-Dura's world, the world he lived in, the world he left. It's also where Rhada Abu Shammala comes from. She’s a Palestinian academic and a mother, and when she sees the settlers' convoys moving by the crossroad, she sees incitement. So you think they're here just to be, as Americans say, in your face?
RHADA ABU SHAMMALA, PALESTINIAN ACADEMIC: Yes, just to let everyone feel that they are here. With these settlers, the clashes and the problems and the obstacles for peace will remain forever because when I see them moving, I will not believe in anything called peace.
SIMON: And if Palestinian visions of peace are darkening, so is the situation on the road to the settlement. The Israelis are bringing in tanks, and the death toll is rising. People on both sides are now convinced this is not going to stop anytime soon. And what will count in the end is neither the number of weapons nor the number of martyrs, but endurance, staying power.
ZIV: I have a lot of patience. I believe that our beliefs will come to, come true.
SIMON: You know, the Palestinians say they've got a lot of patience, too.
ZIV: Well, let's see who's going to win. I'll tell you what, in my beliefs, God's with us. He promised this land to us. He’s going to give it to us. And I'm sure he has much more patience than I do.
SIMON: How old is your daughter?
SHAMMALA: She’s four and a half years.
SIMON: Four and a half. Can you imagine, say, in 10 years from now, if there's another round of protests, and your daughter says, 'I want to go out and throw stones at the Israelis with my friends.' Would you let her?
SHAMMALA: My daughter would not come to ask me. She will go by herself. She will not wait for me.
SIMON: So she might get shot.
SHAMMALA: She might get shot, and she will not be the first one, and she will not be the last one. Of course, I wish that she could be alive. I wanted her to be something in this world, to help this country, because it's enough. We lost a lot. But if the Israeli wants us to continue this road, this way, it's okay.
On November 28, 2000, a number of major newspapers reported that, after the investigation, the Israeli army was backing off its initial acceptance of responsibility. William Orme of the New York Times reported: "Today the army did not rule out the possibility that one of its soldiers had killed the boy. But General Samia said the army had ‘great doubt' that it was responsible and believed that the evidence indicated ‘a very reasonable possibility' that the boy ‘was hit by Palestinian gunfire.'"
The Times article also reported: "Local and regional television networks have broadcast the scene hundreds of times. Arab poets and songwriters have composed dozens of tributes to the boy's memory. The boy's wounded father, giving interviews from his hospital bed in
The Boston Globe reported: "Nearly two months after taking responsibility for the shooting death of a Palestinian boy in a Gaza Strip crossfire, the Israeli Army said yesterday that an internal investigation had concluded that 12-year-old Mohammed Dura was more probably killed by shots from Palestinian police." The article also contended that "A videotape of the killing, shot by French 2 Television, helped escalate the conflict into an unparalleled wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence."
On the November 28, 2000, CBS Morning News, Julie Chen reported: "The Israeli army now blames Palestinians for the videotaped death of a Palestinian boy caught with his father in a crossfire. The 12-year-old cowered with his father caught between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli forces.
On the November 28, 2000, The Early Show, a full report ran:
[DURING JULIE CHEN’S INTRODUCTION, A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE IS SHOWN IN THE UPPER RIGHT QUADRANT OF THE SCREEN]
JULIE CHEN: You may remember the pictures of a Palestinian boy shot to death while crouching beside his father. The Israelis now say they may not be to blame. David Hawkins reports.
[CLIP IS SHOWN OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE AND APPEARING TO BE SHOT]
DAVID HAWKINS: The 12-year-old boy whose televised death has come to symbolize
MAJOR GENERAL YOM-TOV SAMIA, ISRAELI ARMY: That there is quite possibility that the boy was hit by a Palestinian bullet in the course of the exchange of fire that took place in the area.
HAWKINS: But the cameraman who took the now famous picture says Palestinian gunmen had stopped shooting and run away at least 10 minutes before Mohammed al-Dura was killed.
TALAL ABU RAHMAH, PALESTINIAN CAMERMAN FOR FRANCE 2 TV: Look, the fire, it was from both sides maybe the first three minutes. Then, after that, all of the shooting was coming from behind.
HAWKINS: Investigators working for the army based their conclusions on tests performed at a reconstruction of the scene because Israeli forces destroyed most of the evidence shortly after the shooting. [CLIP IS SHOWN OF FUNERAL PROCESSION CARRYING THE BODY OF A BOY WHO IS SUPPOSED TO BE MOHAMMED AL-DURA] Dozens of Palestinian youths have been shot and killed by Israeli soldiers during the conflict, but the general said only the death of Mohammed al-Dura has been investigated. David Hawkins, CBS News, Tel Aviv.
On the November 28, 2000, CNBC Early Today, Jennifer Lewis-Hall reported: "Israelis and Palestinians exchanged gunfire today, even as Muslims marked the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Meantime, the Israeli army now says a 12-year-old boy killed in the crossfire last month was shot by Palestinian, not Israeli gunfire. The image of the frightened boy and his father caught in a firefight galvanized world attention on the Israeli response to Palestinian protests."
On the May 8, 2001, NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw relayed that Ariel Sharon "accused Palestinians of deliberately putting their children in the line of fire." And in his report Martin Fletcher informed viewers that actors on Palestinian television were portraying al-Dura's death "in a hail of Israeli bullets," without pointing out that the bullets may have been Palestinian.
TOM BROKAW: In the Middle East tonight, the subject: children of war. On a day that a baby girl killed by the Israelis is buried, the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accused Palestinians of deliberately putting their children in the line of fire. Now, as NBC’s Martin Fletcher reports, there is a shocking new war of words.
MARTIN FLETCHER: "Bury me with my baby," the father cries. His daughter, Iman, just four months old when she died in her mother’s arms yesterday, killed by shrapnel from an Israeli shell – the youngest victim of seven months of fighting. So far, there have been 121 funerals for Palestinian children here, most killed in the crossfire. But now, the Palestinians are calling on the youngest to join the battle, and using a stunning tactic, commercials on Palestinian TV asking children, "Drop your toys. Pick up rocks." Even using actors to recreate the most famous image of the uprising. [SHOWS CLIP OF THE AL-DURA’S HIDING FROM GUNFIRE, THEN APPEARING TO BE SHOT] One that shocked the world: 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura dying in his father's arms, caught in a hail of Israeli bullets. The commercial shows Mohammed in paradise, urging other children to, quote, "Follow him."
JAMAL AL-DURA, THROUGH TRANSLATOR: I was trying to protect my son.
FLETCHER: His father, Jamal, was shot eight times, barely survived. Now undergoing surgery in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE TEACHER: The Israeli army killed our friend. Shame on them!
CHILDREN: Shame on them!
FLETCHER: Already, young boys are learning how to fight. Summer camp teaches how to resist the Israelis. But now they are being taught not to fear death. The greatest glory, they are told, is to be a martyr. Martin Fletcher, NBC News,
On the March 20, 2002, Special Report with Brit Hume, FNC's Hume reported: "Remember that 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot to death in a crossfire two days after the current uprising in the occupied territories began two years ago? His name was Mohammed al-Dura, and he has become the symbol for many people of Israeli Defense Force brutality in the crackdown against terrorist attacks. A German TV network, ARD, has aired a documentary casting doubt on the widely-held belief that Israeli gunfire killed the boy. ARD raised questions about, among other things, whether it was even possible for him to be hit from the Israeli position, of why the bullets in the boy's body have seemingly disappeared, and why Palestinians never investigated the incident."
On the May 20, 2003, on Lester Holt Live, MSNBC's Lester Holt picked up on an article by the The Atlantic Monthly's James Fallows which raised the possibility al-Dura was shot by Palestinian guns. Holt: "In a conflict marked by horrific images of violence, the death of 12-year-old boy Mohammed al-Dura in September of 2000 shocked the world. The boy died in his father's arms during a firefight between Israeli defense forces and Palestinian militants. The Arab world blamed Israeli soldiers for the Palestinian boy's death. And al-Dura became the symbol of a Palestinian struggle against
On the June 30, 2003, World News Tonight, Peter Jennings reported that Mohammed al-Dura’s father, Jamal, had returned to the site of the shooting, but did not mention that there were any questions about the original version of the story:
JOHN YANG: This morning, an Israeli army bulldozer cleared the way for Palestinians to move freely along the main thoroughfare in
MOHAMMED DAHLAN, PALESTINIAN SECURITY MINISTER: At least I need six months.
YANG: "In the meantime," he says, "we will try our best. Already, we have foiled six major attacks." For this truce to hold, Mr. Dahlan says
MOHAMMED DAHLAN: It will allow us to attack as normal against the people who are breaking the law.YANG: Just today, though, renegade militants killed a truck driver in the