Guardian

A blood libel is born: Fisking the Guardian’s original report about Mohammed Al Durah


Today, an Israeli Government Review Committee published a long-awaited report on the Mohammed Al Durah incident, determining that the Palestinian boy was in fact not harmed by Israeli forces and did not die in the exchange of fire on September 30, 2000 at the Netzarim Junction in Gaza.  

The Israeli committee arrived at the conclusion which had been reached by other serious observers who have studied the incident (and its tragic consequencesover the years: The incident was in all likelihood a hoax.

The report was released just three days before a French court is to rule on a defamation case involving the producer who broke the story for France 2, Charles Enderlin, and the French media analyst who accused Enderlin of fabricating the story, Philippe Karsenty.  (You can learn more about the background, evidence, and consequences of the Al Durah incident here.)

The following is my fisking of the original report in the Guardian on the Al Durah incident, written by Suzanne Goldenberg and published on Oct. 3, 2000 and titled ‘Making of a martyr’:

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Suzanne Goldenberg begins her Oct. 3, 2000 Guardian account of an incident which had taken place three days earlier, near the Netzarim Junction in Gaza, ‘Making of a martyr’, thus:

“A circle of 15 bullet holes on a cinder block wall, and a smear of darkening blood. That is what marks the spot where a terrified 12-year-old boy spent his final moments, cowering in his father’s arms, before he was hit by a final shot to the stomach, and slumped over, dead. Those last minutes in the life of Mohammed al-Durrah, captured in sickening detail by a Palestinian cameraman working for French TV, have taken on a power of their own. His death, aired around the world on Saturday night, has become the single searing image of these days of bloody rioting.”

Goldenberg, as with nearly every journalist who reported on the incident, was relying entirely on a one minute, deceptively edited, France 2 video, as well as uncorroborated Palestinian “eyewitness” accounts.

While the the video purported to show the boy’s final moments – filmed by stringer named Talal Abu Rama, and which was cut by France 2 producer Charles Enderlin – the last few seconds showed a clearly alive boy lifting his hands and peeking out through his fingers and then slowly putting his arm down.

There is no video or still photos – despite the numerous journalists at the scene – of the boy being carried away in a stretcher, or being loaded onto an ambulance.

Additionally, despite claims that the IDF fired on the boy and his father for 40 minutes – which somehow only managed to produce a dozen or so bullet holes in the wall and barrel – and supposedly died of a stomach wound, it evidently didn’t seem odd to Goldberg that there was only a “smear” of blood?

Goldenberg:

“The pictures of Mohammed’s death seemed not just to encapsulate the horror of these last five days but also to have become its motor.

Though more Palestinians have been killed since Mohammed’s death – including a two-year-old yesterday – it is his image that haunts Israel. For all of the claims of the prime minister, Ehud Barak, and other officials that their soldiers only fire to protect Israeli lives, Mohammed’s death seems an irrefutable reply.”

Here, any semblance of objective reporting is shrewn to pieces. Not only in the last sentence of this passage is Goldberg determining Israeli guilt in the boy’s death, but imputing malice to the entire army – all based on 63 seconds of video.

Goldenberg:

“By the end of the weekend the evidence was pointing to a still more chilling conclusion: that the 12-year-old boy and his father were deliberately targeted by Israeli soldiers.”

The blood libel begins.

Goldenberg has now established – a mere four days following the incident – that the 12-year-old Palestinian child was deliberately targeted by Israeli soldiers.

“Caught in a burst of firing, the pair sought shelter behind a concrete water butt, about 15 yards to the east of the Palestinian post, diagonally opposite the Israeli position. The father gestured frantically towards the Israelis, as if pleading with them to stop firing. They did not.

They were cleaning the area. Of course they saw the father,” says Talal Abu-Rama, the camera man who watched the horror unfold. “They were aiming at the boy, and that is what surprised me, yes, because they were shooting at him, not only one time, but many times.”

Goldenberg takes the hideous claim that the IDF decided to fire mercilessly at a young boy until he was dead at face value, without even a hint of journalistic skepticism.  It didn’t occur to the Guardian journalist to ask why, if the  the camera man was filming for 40 minutes, there is no footage of the IDF shooting at the boy and his father, no footage of the Israeli position – and, thus, no evidence even demonstrating where the fire was coming from.

Goldenberg:

“The result of that salvo is visible on the cinderblock wall. Aside from the circle of bullet holes – most of them below waist level – the expanse of wall is largely unscarred. This appeared to suggest that the Israeli fire was targeted at the father and son.”

The ballistic tests had proved that the three bullets shown in the filmed sequence by Abu Rahma came from the Palestinian side and not from the Israelis. The bullets kicked up dust in a way that could not come from a 30-degree angle of a bullet shot against the wall behind the barrel. Furthermore, given the protection provided by the barrel, it would have been nearly impossible for the Israelis to have hit either father or son once, yet alone over a dozen times.

Goldenberg:

“Inevitably, the Israeli army version of Mohammed’s death is rather different.”

“Inevitably”? You can see her eyes rolling. Her mind was made up. Judgement was passed.

Goldenberg:

“Although the army expressed regret about the boy’s death, it said the soldiers in their armoured post had been under fire.”

The incident occurred on the Jewish New Year, so it took a few days for a proper investigation to get under way.

However, Nahum Shahaf, an Israeli physicist, later conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that the killing of Muhammad al-Durah was staged.

Goldenberg:

“Abu Rameh also believes it unlikely that the Israeli fire could have been directed further down the road from the water butt where the al-Durrahs sought shelter. “In that whole area, there was nobody except me, the boy and his father,” the camera man says.

“Whatever the truth about the circumstances surrounding his death, Mohammed’s terrified face has now entered the grim gallery of images that have come to symbolise – and often to powerfully influence – a conflict.

“Nothing good will come of this. We will have many more martyrs, and nothing will change.””

The image had a spectacular effect, inflaming Palestinian-and Israeli Arab-violence and justifying the Intifada  and the insidious use of suicide bombings, to the West.

There was a mass demonstration in Paris on Oct. 6, 2000.  There were large banners, including one indicating that a Star of David = a swastika = a picture of the father and the son behind the barrel, with ‘They kill children too‘ written over it. The crowd shouted ‘Death to the Jews’ and ‘Death to Israel’ for the first time since the Holocaust.”

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Goldenberg’s protagonist in the story, Abu-Rama, was correct about one thing: Nothing good would come of this media manufactured event, for Israel, Jews or the West.

38 replies »

  1. And now think of all the Syrian children who really have been killed by both sides.
    Where’s the outrage? Where are the demonstrations? Where are the Muslims = Nazis slogans?

    • It is absolutely shocking that Suzanne Goldenberg is still employed by the Guardian – or anyone else, for that matter – and reigns as the Guardian’s Environmental reporter in Washington DC.

      This was not her only libel against Israel – the famous Jenin Massacre libel was largely due to her.

      Presumably the Guardian feels that by sacking her they would admit culpability for the Al Durah lies.

      In the meantime, she attended a Guardian hate fest to give her views on Israel a year or so ago.

  2. Blood libels are cheap in the illiterate Arab world. That the more literate West was taken in for so long by the Al Durah affair owes a lot to media bias, Goebbels-style antisemitic propaganda, the power of the Internet, the pc. anti-Zionist movement fuelled by Maghreb immigrant communities in Europe and championed by useful left-wing idiots like Suzanne Goldenberg in search of a cause….

  3. Jamal A Dura (the boy’s father) sounds the usual liar in the interview he gave to Ynet today.

    http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4381642,00.html

    He asks why Israeli buldozers destroyed the wall after the incident.

    Not sure if they did but there could be neumerous reasons such as clearing the area from sniper hideouts.

    But to the Conspirecy theorists there is only one answer…

    And speaking of the usage of strange reporters how about Talal Abu Rahma?

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/15/world/meast/gaza-israel-strike

    Yes, it is the same guy…

  4. Suzanne Goldenberg we all know was one of the promoters of the Jenin massacre Hoax fraud.
    The fact Goldenberg was a promoter for the Mohammed Al Durah hoax and tries to say lies that Israel was targeting Palestinian civilians, when everyone knows it was the Palestinians who were trying to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible.

  5. We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children…. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
    Golda Meir, former Israeli Prime Minister.

    Who says Golda Meir wasn’t right.
    Just google, Hussam Abdu 72 virgins.

    Fatah promised the boy $22 and 72 virgins if he blew himself up.
    Sent To Die (March, 2004).

    If you needed more evidence of Islam’s vile and heinous nature, the cover story from the March 25, 2004 edition NY Daily News certainly obliged. For $22.00 and the promise of 72 virgins in Allah’s paradise, a mildly retarded Palestinian boy was coerced into becoming a human bomb by Islamic clerics. Compelling young children to do their dying for them seems to have become a favorite tactic of the Islamic fundamentalists in control of Yasser Arafat’s political party called Fatah.

    Islamic Imams and warlords are cowards, hiding behind little boys. They corrupt, coerce, and recruit children with promises of perverted rewards, while they themselves remain in the comfort and safety of their mosques and madrasas. No doubt they know Muhammad’s dogma is fraudulent and morally bankrupt and that Islam is simply a means to wealth and power.

  6. Akus, i didn’t even know this, that Suzanne Goldenberg is still employed by the Guardian, till you mentioned it.

    I did a search for Suzanne Goldenberg online and your totally right.
    She still writes for the Guardian.

    How it is possible that this woman who wrote 2 of the biggest hoaxes in journalist history, (Jenin and Al Durah) can be still be writing for this paper.
    Can someone answer that question?

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  8. The blood-libel in this case is that on the Palestinians – who have never murdered other Palestinians (unlike the Zionists, 200 on the Patria is 5 times more than any atrocity by Palestinians ever).

    Nobody in their right mind thinks this case was a hoax – the kid and his dad were indeed pinned down by Israeli shooting for several hours.

    Could they have been shot dead for the benefit of the camera, even though its never happened before or since? It cannot be entirely discounted – but it was Israel that destroyed the evidence.

    Then Israel went on to kill a further 80 Palestinian children before a single Israeli child died. Even if this allegation were true, it is indeed a disgusting blood libel from murderous racists.

      • I don’t see mention of “the Jews” in either of those reports.

        Did you perhaps introduce “the Jews” yourself in order to make false accusations?

        Have the Jews not suffered enough from false accusations in 2000 years?

        • So you believe Hamas and the UN extend their reprimands and diatribes to Israel’s 1.5 million, fully-fledged Arab Citizens?
          For instance, in the case of the typical libellous charge(revised to fit Israel, rather than Jews) — that Israel supplied Carbon Monoxide instead of Nitrous oxide for anaesthesia to Gaza — do you suppose Hamas also blames Israel’s hundreds of Arab physicians, scientists, and other related workers for the “poisoning”?
          I’ll leave you to decide, Nazi scum…

          • Our honored guest is a real equal opportunity racist:
            As long as we glorify the mass-killing of civilians in Muslim lands – and, even more importantly, glorify the theft of homes and lands and businesses in the Middle East, then there will be violence. Probably quite a lot, culminating in the deaths of 100s of 1000s of Europeans either here or in the Middle East. (We will likely retaliate by killing 10s or 100s of millions).

            I’m horrified by the murder of one man and desperate that not even a tiny amount of that violence take place here. I’m also very keen to block all Muslims (except the very most technically educated) from settling in this country.

            But that doesn’t blind me to the obvious truth.

        • Have the Jews not suffered enough from false accusations in 2000 years?
          They definitely did Nick. And their accusers were exactly your kind of trash.

          • Its not me accusing the Jews of being responsible for the real or imaginary crimes of which Israel is said to be guilty.

            People who do that want the Jews to be hated – in fact, its rather remarkable how little success they have.

            However, CIFwatch is notorious for spiteful responses to people with real concerns and banning them.

    • The charge set on the “Patria” was never intended to sink it. I think you deliberately omitted the fact that the British were planning to deport the passengers of the ship to desolate Mauritius. Now that’s(!) racist.
      (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patria_disaster)
      The bomb implanted had only been meant to disable it, but then, you already knew that; you like spreading lies against Zionism, so that’s why we hear about the Patria)
      The Palestinians haven’t murdered other Palestinians?! Really?!
      Then what this) about then? I guess those 120 Fatah members can rest assured that they’re “alive”, somewhere, in limbo…
      “Pinned down by Israeli shooting”… against whom? Against a savage ‘police force’ that targeted them, and instigated this incident. Al-Durah & Father were caught in the cross fire, not the AIMS of the guns.
      “Then Israel went on…” — Do you have any proof that Israel purposefully targets children? How many of those 80 children(dubious figure, by the bye), were over 16, and thus, potentially combatants?
      What happened to the terrorist attacks ravaging Israel at the time, necessitating a forceful response from the Israeli armed forces?
      Is war really run on an “Eye-for-an-Eye” basis?
      I would ask you about Dresden, but then, I’m already aware that you’re a Nazi-sympathizer, and I wouldn’t want to give you this soapbox to rhapsodise bout Nazism further.

    • “the Palestinians – who have never murdered other Palestinians”

      Nick that is such a ridiculous statement and is either a deliberate lie or an example of incredible ignorance, if you can hear a whistling noise it is your credibility flying out through the window.

      • The attack on the Patria was intended to damage the Allied war-effort. And to recklessly endanger Jews who were not going to be safe in Palestine.

        I meant to say “never killed Palestinian children” – but killing the collaborators of Fatah, armed by Israel for a coup against the Palestinian democracy was wholly justified. Its pathetic to claim otherwise!

        The number of children murdered by Israel in their war on the undefended is indeed dubious, its probably far more than 80 who died before a single Israeli child died.

        Meanwhile, the Zionists continue to recklessly endanger their own children by moving them into homes full of guns, condemned by the whole world because they’re built on stolen land, and within yards of the very angry people who’ve been robbed.

        And the Zionists boast of endangering their children, exposing them on the deck of the Exodus and making a film of it.

        And of course, boast of using their children in the Warsaw Ghetto, even photos of them crawling through the wall.

        • “I meant to say “never killed Palestinian children” – but killing the collaborators of Fatah, armed by Israel for a coup against the Palestinian democracy was wholly justified. Its pathetic to claim otherwise!”

          ‘Nick’ so you meant to write; “I meant to say “never killed Palestinian children..”, but actually wrote “the Palestinians – who have never murdered other Palestinians”. Clearly you not only have a problem with the truth but a problem with the English language as well.

          ‘Nick then you write “but killing the collaborators of Fatah, armed by Israel for a coup against the Palestinian democracy was wholly justified. Its pathetic to claim otherwise!” So summary execution and throwing people off a roof is perfectly acceptable to you and your ‘Palestinian democracy’

          Tell me ‘Nick’, and be honest, do you wear a flashing bow tie and a big red nose when you write or copy and paste your posts?
          Because you should that way you could look like a clown as well as write like one!

          Now, ‘Nick’ buzz off because you are behaving suspiciously like a ‘gnat’.

          • ‘Nick’ repeating your mantra of lies and distortions of history and truth might convince you but believe me it only works with the intellectually challenged. People like yourself who would not recognise historical fact or the truth if it bit them on the arse as they walked by.

  9. The blowing up of the Patria was intended to damage the Allied war-effort and stop Jews escaping the reach of the Nazis. If Rommel had broken through the last line of defence at Alamein, he’d have been in Palestine. The British (while also appalled at the damage the immigrnts were said to be doing) sought to take in Jewish refugees (particularly children) but were blocked by the Zionists and their antisemitic allies. (Just as with Theodore Herzl in 1902 and Ben-Gurion and Weizmann in the 1930s).

    On murder, I mis-spoke – Palestinians murder collaborators attempting a coup (with Israeli arms) against their (first ever) elected leaders. In the words of one Holocaust survivor “Before the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (the planning of which only started after the extermination of the majority of Jews in Warsaw), the Jewish underground killed, with perfect justification, every Jewish collaborator they could find. If they had not done so the Uprising could never have started.”

    However, Palestinians have never murdered Palestinian children (that we know of) – and its pretty disgusting to suggest they did it to al-Durah.

    Do we have any proof that Israel purposefully targets children?

    Of course we do, over and over again – in their classrooms, going to and from school, in their homes, enticing them out with loud-speaker “Come on dogs,” the voice booms in Arabic. “Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!” I stand up. I walk outside the hut. The invective continues to spew: “Son of a bitch!” “Son of a whore!” “Your mother’s cunt!”

    The reporter continues: “Children have been shot in other countries I have covered – death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo – but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.”

    • “On murder, I mis-spoke”

      No, ‘Nick’ you lied either deliberately or because of your ignorance. Either way you have no credibility whatsoever.

    • “Damage the allied war-effort”?! HOW?! By preventing the deportation of those poor Jews to Mauritius?! How would that have hampered the war effort?
      “Palestinians murder collaborates” — Humm, some lives are worth more than others, right?
      Nice try tying the Holocaust into this, you execrable idiot. Notwithstanding the fact that this happened AFTER Israel had fully disengaged from Gaza.
      “Palestinians have never murdered Palestinian Children”…
      Why do you call these, then:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_suicide_bombers_in_the_Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_conflict
      As for the rest of your truly lurid tale, it is utterly false. At no point did Israel “shoot [anyone] sport”. A malicious, unsubstantiated invective; bolstered by the fact that for the entirety of the Israeli-Pal. conflict, there have only been ~15,000 killed, on both sides(!).
      If Israel had really been engaged in “killing for sport”, it surely would’ve reached Serbian proportions where the dead are estimated in the tens of thousands, or Algeria — in the hundreds of thousands.
      In conclusion, you’re a piece of anti-Semitic, Nazi filth.