The IDF has ended a seven-year silence on the al-Dura controversy, which countless critics of Israel has used to cast its military as a brutal and inhumane force. It now wants France's Channel 2 to release all of the outtakes from the report, claiming that the video sequence that purports to show the murder of a child was staged by Palestinian propagandists working in league French television:
The IDF has abandoned its official silence in a seven-year-old case that has been characterized as a "blood libel" against the IDF and the State of Israel.
On September 10, the deputy commander of the IDF's Spokesman's Office, Col. Shlomi Am-Shalom, submitted a letter to the France 2 television network's permanent correspondent in Israel, Charles Enderlin, regarding Enderlin's story from September 30, 2000, in which he televised 55 seconds of edited footage from the Netzarim junction in the central Gaza Strip purporting to show IDF forces shooting and killing 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura.
After its exclusive broadcast that day, France 2 offered the edited film free of charge to all media outlets. The footage, and the story of the purported IDF killing of al-Dura, was quickly rebroadcast around the world. ...
In his letter, Am-Shalom asked for the entire unedited 27-minute film that was shot by France 2's Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu-Rahma that day, as well as the footage filmed by Abu-Rahma on October 1, 2000. Am-Shalom requested that the broadcast-quality films be sent to his office no later than September 15. France 2 has yet to hand over the requested film.
Roger Simon started a petition at Pajamas Media almost two weeks ago, demanding that Channel 2 publish the entire video sequence to determine the veracity of its reporting. I posted a link at The Crow's Nest on September 6th, four days before the IDF requested the outtakes for their own investigation. The refusal of Channel 2 to release the footage after seven years have passed indicates that the media outlet has less interest in truth than in covering their backsides.
Three years ago, a French media critic accused Channel 2 of duplicity in the report. Phillippe Karsenty published a letter reporting that the broadcaster staged the al-Dura report, and Channel 2 sued Karsenty. A judge ruled in Channel 2's favor despite acknowledging significant evidence of Channel 2's guilt because Karsenty allegedly only used a single source for his report and that the IDF never challenged the video, a finding that both Karsenty and the IDF have challenged. The IDF submitted a brief to the judge which explained that the IDF had quietly asked for the complete videotape for years, and had been rebuffed repeatedly.
Why not release the whole tape? If the original Channel 2 reporting is accurate, the entire tape will show no staging and just the normal manuevering and set-up work of any camera crew in a war zone. That would put an end to the controversy and allow the IDF to conduct a thorough investigation into the actions of its soldiers. The French broadcaster apparently believes that its video will show something else -- and whatever that might be, Channel 2 doesn't want anyone to see it.
That should tell us all we need to know about Channel 2's credibility. A real news organization would have allowed the entire videotape to be seen, at least by media critics and the military investigators who could have done some good with the information. A propaganda outlet would hide it. Channel 2 has made its decision about how it sees itself.