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Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to French journalist Charles Enderlin who helped publicize the infamous and discredited video of the supposed shooting death of Palestinian Muhammad al-Durrah, which fanned the flames of the Second Intifada against Israel. The author of this letter, Pierre Rehov, is a French filmmaker and novelist who, along with French journalist Philippe Karsenty, was at the fore of the effort to debunk the al-Durrah video.
In our previous discussions we had taken the habit of addressing each other in an informal way, so I will not adopt a pseudo-official tone to speak to you publicly.
The open letter you have published against Philippe Karsenty has put me in such a rage after years of silence on this matter, I have to intervene or to speak in a familiar way, to add “my two cents.”
The reasons for this anger? The underlying bad faith in each of your sentences makes me feel ashamed for the special correspondent I used to respect … once upon a time.
You probably already know I was the very first, with the support of the Bn’ai Brith, to be revolted against the deadly false report that your TV channel and yourself released in September 2000. My disbelief in the face of such images, the certainty that there was rigging, manipulation, or at best, misinterpretation of facts led me at the time to involve myself body and soul into the conflict and, without you, and the phony images of your activist cameraman, I would probably not have embarked on this career of independent documentary filmmaker, which launched me in your line of work. But quite obviously not on the same track.
Between September 2000 and January 2001, I traveled to Israel four times and once to Gaza to meet most of the participants, some politicians, and the Druze soldiers of Magen Shaloch accused of the “murder” of al-Dura, whom you, as you yourself said in your open letter, have never even approached.
During this same period, I hired a lawyer, Maître Julien, to file a complaint against France 2 “for spreading false news causing a disturbance of public order.” Had it not been shouted “death to Jews” on the streets of Paris the next day? In the complaint, I added a folder which you can still find traces on the net today: debriefing.org/A-Dura.
Strangely enough, the case was dismissed by the prosecutor in less time than it takes for an Arab propagandist to convince his audience of the monstrosity of Israel. My attorney, who specializes in defamation cases, could not believe it.
I was hoping that thanks to our exchanges I would perceive some form of regret on your part, because I was convinced that you had been manipulated and that somehow you were now defending your honor the best you could. I had come to feel compassion for you. Indeed, what a burden it must be for a Jew to know he has been indirectly, unintentionally and out of clumsiness, responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Innocents on both sides, Charles!
As, if instead of preparing his Al Aqsa Intifada for two years, Arafat had not refused the proposal of Barak, if he had accepted the truce proposed by Bill Clinton after Ariel Sharon went on Temple Mount, if Mr Chirac had not meddled with it with all the arrogance and all the smugness that characterize French politics towards Israel, and if, finally, you had not been fooled,if you had not had wool pulled over your eyes by the nephew of one of the founders of the PLO, I mean your beloved Talal, thousands of lives would have been spared on both sides and, perhaps, today, the Arabs living in the disputed territories (I do confirm, this is official language, rooted in international law) would have a country by now, provided they are able to have one, without foreign help and that of Israel.
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