A major U.S. Jewish umbrella group is asking France’s president to get involved in the al-Dura shooting slander trial.
In a statement Wednesday, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations asked Nicolas Sarkozy, who is on his first official visit to the United States, to pressure France 2 TV to make available its raw video footage of the shooting of Mohammad al-Dura in Gaza in September 2000.
The 12-year-old’s shooting death immediately became an icon for Palestinian suffering at the hands of Israeli brutality, but the Israeli army, after initially apologizing for the death, concluded after an investigation that the boy could not possibly have been hit by Israeli bullets.
After French Jewish activist Philippe Karsenty claimed the shooting was staged by Palestinian propagandists in conjunction with a Jewish French 2 TV journalist, Charles Enderlin, the TV station sued Karsenty for slander and won.
But Karsenty appealed the judgment, claiming that raw footage of the incident supports his account. A Paris judge ordered the TV station to release the raw footage by Nov. 14.
“Until now, France 2 has consistently refused” to “comply with the order of the French Appellate Court to make available all of the raw footage on which its reporter based the allegation that al-Dura was killed by Israeli fire,” the Presidents’ Conference statement said. “Instead, it released only 55 seconds of edited footage, which does not actually show al-Dura being killed.
“The unproven charges have already done much damage to Israel, and it is time to establish the truth,” the statement said.