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.
You have chosen to use irony to attack my friend Philippe Karsenty. In so doing, you have indirectly attacked me. Because, for the record, it was I who introduced Philip to the Al Dura case, when we were both members of a Jewish organization. I gave him my file. I got the same organization to buy the first film by Esther Schapira, that I had previously helped, by giving her all my contacts in Israel and my own version of events.
Much ink has flowed since this tragic case. We have both written, been published, and we have both made a number of documentaries and news stories. You have done so with the means of a TV Channel that supports you. I have done so... with the means at hand.
And this sums up the whole history of Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda, which has developed in the world like a virus. Huge means on the Muslim side. Little enthusiasm for propaganda, nor the time to implement it in the the Israeli side. I use the term Muslim here, because if it was just a territorial dispute, it would have been solved long ago!
Comfortably settled in Jerusalem, walled up in your indefensible positions, don't you feel, though, this nauseous wind blowing, which has already and more than once in our common history, forced us to adopt a position of survival?
In our discussions, you have almost made me doubt, when you have claimed you are a true Zionist, who would not take over the destiny of a people with a different culture. This view that requests to give everything up to finally live in peace is, basically, honorable, if not acceptable. But in this case, why systematically demonize Israel and ignore the reality that exists in the opposite camp?
So that both parties can reach an agreement, it is necessary for their hopes and goals to be realistic, if not achievable. You know, as well as I do, that the Palestinian leadership and the Arab dictatorships that support them, have never had any other purpose than the destruction of Israel and that, failing to achieve it by military force, they have chosen the path of demonization. Thanks to you, among other "bona fide journalists," it is working pretty well. From one provocation to another;from one death to another. Tragedy settles in. And the world is convinced that the Jew, and only the Jew, carries evil. Nothing new here.
I will conclude this column I am sending you with a little anecdote, I have already told you and you did not believe.
While I was shooting "The Road to Jenin" (which was broadcast again last week on Arutz 1, to commemorate the battle), and, to please my Palestinian fixer (it was also a matter of survival) I was hypocritically singing Talal's praise and his scoop, the fixer having taken a liking to me asked me if I "could be interested in a similar case", claiming it could be arranged if I had available means. You did not believe my story. For my part, I refused to have a child killed so as to make me famous and to advance the Palestinian cause.
To compensate, my fixer was kind enough to arrange the false testimony of a Palestinian woman who was supposed to have given birth at a checkpoint, because of the wicked IDF soldiers. This false testimony, and its preparation, including the intervention of the doctor who made her repeat her lines, are an integral part of this film that I sent you and I recommend you should watch.
Even if you claim you have done so. And even if, to use your own words, you did not want to make any comment after viewing it, out of kindness to me.
I regret all this. And, just like you, I dream of going back in time, to the precise moment when you took the decision to broadcast this live death without knowing any better. Getting a scoop before anything else!
What would you do if you could start it all again?
All I wish you is that you can manage to get to sleep occasionally.
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