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French Jews call for al-Dura probe

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The leader of French Jewry called on Nicolas Sarkozy to authorize an investigation into France 2 TV’s coverage of the al-Dura incident.

Richard Prasquier, the president of the umbrella group CRIF, at a news conference Wednesday called on the French president to create an independent investigative committee into the authenticity of a France 2 TV broadcast showing the supposed shooting death of 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura by Israeli soldiers in 2000.

The footage roiled global anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment at the start of the second Intifada.

More than a month after media watchdog Phillippe Karsenty was acquitted by a Paris appeals court of libel charges based on his claims that the French TV station and its Jerusalem correspondent, Charles Enderlin, manipulated the al-Dura images, the CRIF organization is taking official steps toward shedding light on the controversial report.

Though Prasquier said at the news conference that for more than a year he has pushed for an investigative committee into the al-Dura video, the court’s ruling for Karsenty set the stage for a more official and public request.

Sarkozy has not yet responded to CRIF’s demand. Prasquier said he has not received an answer to previous requests on the subject in the past.

“Prasquier wants to put Sarkozy against a wall,” said Karsenty following the CRIF announcement. “If [Sarkozy] refuses to instigate this committee, he will take on the responsibility of these images which inflamed the world against Jews and Israel.”

A petition in favor of Enderlin, which denounces the Paris court’s decision, was signed by more than 200 journalists and French personalities, and published in the liberal French magazine Nouvel Observateur.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled against stripping Enderlin of his press credentials.

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