Enderlin Defends Himself: What Planet is he on?

Charles Enderlin has responded to Elie Barnavi’s article in Marianne at his blog. It is vintage Enderlin — no real evidence, just indirect logic. If the Shabak doesn’t think he’s a criminal, then he isn’t; if Israeli journalists visited him in the hospital and the King of Jordan shook his hand, then he’s not a faker… I present below the French, followed by my translation and comment. I recommend visiting Enderlin’s blog, where he has an exchange with one of his critics, a Fracophone Israeli blogger named Victor Perez.

Cher Elie Barnavi

Vous avez toujours su défendre avec talent les positions israéliennes et j’attendais votre intervention dans ce débat avec curiosité, mais, là, vous m’avez étonné. Ancien ambassadeur, vous avez certainement un niveau d’habilitation « sécuritaire » vous permettant l’accès à certains dossiers du Shabak, le service de sécurité intérieur israélien. Un simple coup de fil à Tel Aviv vous aurait évité de publier des inexactitudes. Pour le Shabak, Talal Abou Rahmeh qui a filmé la mort de Mohammed A Dura n’est pas un propagandiste palestinien et n’est soupçonné d’aucune activité subversive anti-israélienne comme vous l’affirmez. La réponse que nous avons reçue de ce service – et d’autres – lorsqu’il a fallu obtenir pour Talal une autorisation d’entrée en territoire israélien était la suivante : « Il est blanc comme neige ». Les accusations que vous portez contre lui sont fausses et inadmissibles.

Vous mettez en doute la crédibilité des rushes tournés par Talal. Là aussi, je dois prouver que l’absurde est faux. Que des images tournées par un cameraman sous le feu ne sont pas l’équivalent d’une caméra de surveillance, comme dans un super marché… Oui, Talal n’a filmé que ce que les circonstances permettaient. Ces scènes d’Intifada ont également été tournées par d’autres cameramen qui se trouvaient sur place, notamment d’Associated Press et de Reuters.. De nombreux confrères y étaient dés le lendemain, le 1er octobre 2000, ainsi que les jours et les semaines suivantes. Plusieurs se sont retrouvés, couchés au sol, entre deux feux. Nous avons présenté à la justice des témoignages qui contredisent l’opinion de vos « experts » parisiens. Pourquoi vous contentez-vous de l’avis de gens qui n’ont jamais mis les pieds à Gaza ou assisté à ce genre d’affrontement ? Pour notre part, lorsque cette campagne de diffamation a débuté, nous avons présenté les images à un médecin légiste qui a conclu que les mouvements de l’enfant étaient consistants avec l’agonie. (Selon le dictionnaire : les instants qui précédent la mort).

Selon vous les cicatrices du père, Jamal a Dura, seraient dues à des coups de couteau et donc, ne proviendraient pas de balles reçues le 30 septembre 2000 à Netzarim. Si vous aviez contacté Jamal avant de publier votre éditorial, il vous aurait décrit les soins qu’il a reçu à l’hôpital Shifa de Gaza; communiqué les radios qui montrent sa blessure au bassin. Le compte rendu des opérations subies à l’hôpital militaire d’Amman où d’ailleurs il a reçu les visites de deux journalistes israéliens, Tom Segev et Semadar Peri, également du Roi Abdallah. Croyez-vous qu’il aurait serré la main d’un imitateur ? Vous laissez entendre qu’il y aurait « bien d’autres choses ». Jamal aurait des choses à cacher. Décryptage : l’accusation circule sur le net : trafiquant de drogue il aurait été blessé au cours d’une bagarre avec d’autres narcos… Problème : Israël n’accorde pas de permis de travail à de tels criminels. Or, Jamal a travaillé – en toute légalité – chez une enseignante de l’université de Tel Aviv qui le raconte dans un livre. Soyons logiques : cela fait beaucoup d’acteurs. Des centaines de jeunes palestiniens devant la position israélienne de Netzarim à Gaza, les médecins palestiniens, les chirurgiens jordaniens, le roi Abdallah, les cameramen d’AP et de Reuters. Et les services de renseignement israéliens n’auraient pas la moindre preuve ?

Vous proposez une enquête internationale mais sur quoi ? Les accusations contre France 2 et moi-même portent sur une mise en scène avec fausses blessures du père et fausse mort de l’enfant. Nous avons depuis longtemps indiqué que nous étions favorables à une expertise médicale réalisée par des experts internationaux sur l’origine des cicatrices (déjà publiquement montrées) de Jamal Al Dura. De même le père de Mohamed est d’accord pour que l’on procède à l’exhumation du corps de l’enfant pour réaliser des tests ADN (sous expertise internationale). De notre côté nous attendons la preuve de ce qu’affirme notre accusateur depuis des années : « Mohamed est vivant et vend des fruits à Gaza ».

Quand à la comparaison avec le massacre de Deir Yassin en 1948, qui, selon vous, « seul, aurait-eu des conséquences plus graves» je vous en laisse l’entière responsabilité.

Charles Enderlin

Below, translation and commentary:

Dear Elie Barnavi,

You have always been able to defend with talent the Israeli positions and I anticipated your intervention in this debate with curiosity; but here, you have astonished me. Former ambassador, you surely have high security clearance, allowing you access to a number of Shabak, the Israeli internal security, dossiers. A simple call to Tel Aviv would have avoided printing incorrect information.

For the Shabak, Talal Abu Rahmah, who filmed the death [sic] of Mohammed A-Dura, is not a Palestinian propagandist and not suspected of any subversive anti-Israeli activity as you claim. The response you would have received from this service — and others — would when it was time to get Talal permission to enter Israeli territory is the following: “He’s as white as snow.” The accusations you make against him are false and inadmissable.

This is vintage Enderlin: if the Israelis don’t say anything, then Talal is innocent. Never mind that he lied under oath, that he lied to Enderlin, that he lied to Esther Schapira, that he has publicly stated that he went into the field of journalism to fight for his people [link to be supplied later], that he is a member of the Palestinian Journalists Association, an organization with a record of advocacy, of intimidation, and of violence in the service of the Palestinian cause. As long as some closed records in the Israeli intelligence services say, according to Charles, that he’s “white as snow” (I’m sure a typical term used by Shabak), then he must be.

You put in doubt the credibility of the rushes shot by Talal. There again I have to prove that the absurd is false. That images shot by a cameraman under fire are not the equivalent of a surveillance camera in a supermarket…. Yes Talal only filmed what the circumstances permitted. The scenes of the Infifad were also filmed by other cameramen who were there, notably AP and Reuters. Numerous colleagues were there the next day, the 1st of October 2000, as well as in the days and weeks that followed. A number of theme found themselves, lying on the ground, in the crossfire.

First of all, this argument does not even address the issue in question: the extensive evidence of staged scenes in the rushes before the final shooting. There, there’s no issue of filming under fire since there’s no evidence of a) Israeli guns shooting, or b) people who are being evacuated being injured.

Second, if we turn to the problem of what Talal filmed of the Israelis shooting at the al Durahs, this is specifically one of the issues Talal lied to Enderlin and the rest of the world about: he claimed he had shot 27 minutes of the 45-minute-long “bullets like rain” Israeli assault on the two figures behind the barrel. I may not have been filming “under fire”, but as far as Talal’s concerned, he’s sheltered behind a van, and has 45 minutes to film. To come away with 59 seconds, each take no longer than 12 seconds, strikes me as close to unbelievable. Why did he just not turn his camera on and film? Certainly once the boy was hit? And if his camera was out of batteries — as Enderlin claims — we should have far more footage from him that day than 18, or 27 minutes.

We presented to the court testimonies that contradicted the opinion of you Parisian “experts”. Why are you satisfied with the opinion of people who have never set foot in Gaza or witnessed this kind of confrontation? For my part, when this campaign of defamation began, we presented the images to a medical forensics expert who concluded tha tthe movements of the child were consistent with death throes (according to the dictionary: the instants before death).

Some of this testimony included claims that Israeli gunships were firing on the al Durahs, that the ambulance driver scooped up Muhammad’s entrails when he evacuated him (a scene Talal failed to film because, according to Charles, he was changing his batteries, a procedure that should take no more than a matter of seconds). The testimonies from the eye-witnesses are classic “according to Palestinian sources” — as the French would say, “n’importe quoi.” The Judges dismissed this testimony out of hand.

As for why trust people who never set foot in Gaza… maybe because they a) read maps rather than make them up; b) don’t have to worry about pleasing Palestinian sources who might express their unhappiness if, for example, Enderlin didn’t claim the fire was coming from the Israeli position; and c) they’ve examined the evidence available, unlike the person who should know this material the best.

As for your forensic expert, please produce the report. I have shown this to medical experts and gotten exactly the opposite answer: a) it’s not death-throes (which are convulsive, not any “seconds before death”), b) anyone shot in the stomach clutches his stomach in a fetal position, not stretched out, hand over eyes, lifting up an elbow and stretching the stomach. So please, Charles, the report.

According to you, the scars of the father, Jamal a-Dura, were due to knife cuts, and did not come from the incident of September 30, 2000. If you had contacted Jamal before publishing your editorial, he would have described his treatment at Shifa Hospital in Gaza. He would have sent you his x-rays which show his would in the groin, the record of his operations undergone at the military hospital in Amman, where, for that matter, he received the visit of two Israeli journalists, Tom Segev and Semadar Peri, as well as King Abdallah. Do you think that the king would have shaken hands with an imposter?

What? No mention of the medical records of these scars being treated by Dr. Yedudah David in 1994? What will x-rays show that can help us date the wounds? Where are the bullets they took out of the father’s bullet-ridden body? Visits from Segev and Peri are hardly decisive if we go by Segev’s take in which it doesn’t matter if it’s real, it’s “true.”

You hint that there were “lots of other things.” Jamal had things to hide. In other words, the accusation circles on the internet: drug dealing, he’d been wounded in a fight with other narcos.. Problem: Israel doesn’t give work permits to such criminals. But Jamal worked — legally — at the home of an instructer at Tel Aviv University, who wrote about it in a book.

This would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. If Jamal had been tried and convicted, then the Israelis would not let him in, but as Enderlin himself admits, this is just a rumor circulating on the internet. But the very topic, and the irrelevant references to books by people who hired Jamal are red herrings.

Let’s be logical. There are too many actors here. Hundreds of young Palestinians in front of the Israeli position at Netzarim in Gaza, the Palestinian doctors, the Jordanian surgeons, King Abdallah, the cameramen of AP and Reuters. And the Israeli intelligence services found no proofs?

I have addressed this argument in my response to Larry Derfner, Enderlin’s (far more energetic) Anglophone epigone. But the idea that Enderlin can claim that the hundreds of young Palestinians, who appear in Talal’s tapes (and those of others) as eager participants in Pallywood, would denounce the al Durah scene as staged (if it were), defies logic. As Enderlin said to me when I pointed out how many scenes were staged, “Oh yes, they do that all the time… it’s a cultural thing.” And if they do it all the time and never admit it, why would they do it in this case?

You propose an international inquiry but on what? The accusations against France2 and myself claim a staged scene with fake wounds of the father and fake death of the son. We indicated a long time ago that we were favorable to a medical expertise, undertaken by international experts, on the origin of the scars (already publicly displayed) by Jamal al Durah. Moreover, the father of Muhammad agrees to exhuming his son’s body to make DNA tests (under international expertise). On our side, we’re still waiting for proof of what our accusers have claimed for years: “Muhammad al Durah is alive and selling fruits in Gaza.”

Straw men all around. Since when have Philippe Karsenty, Nidra Poller, Richard Landes, Gerard Huber, or Stephane Juffa ever said he was alive and selling fruit in Gaza? You’ve got far more serious charges to answer.

As for the DNA tests, if they prove parentage, that only proves the boy who’s buried there is related to Jamal, hence, almost certainly Muhammad. But it doesn’t prove who killed him or when. The real investigation has to be of the evidence provided by video footage that day and the next, most of which France2 has either hidden or destroyed.

As for your comparison with the massacre at Deir Yassin in 1948, which, according to you, “alone had more serious consequences,” that’s entirely your responsibility.

I’d say the damage of al Durah was worse than Deir Yassin, far worse.

If this is the best Enderlin has to offer in response to Elie Barnavi, then I would, were I one of the blind signatories of the Nouvel Obs letter of support, be worried… very worried.

9 Responses to Enderlin Defends Himself: What Planet is he on?

  1. [...] journalists visited him in the hospital and the King of Jordan shook his hand, then … Source: Enderlin Defends Himself: What Planet is he on? Who Would Be A Worse Mom? Paris or Lindsey? Vote Now And Get A Free iPhone. Cher Used This FREE [...]

  2. Solomonia says:

    Being a French journalist means never having to say you’re sorry…

    French journalist Anne-Elisabeth Moutet has an excellent piece on the Al-Dura matter with particular focus on the petition circulated in French media circles in defense of Charles Enderlin, here, at The Weekly Standard: L’Affaire Enderlin. She picks u…

  3. Barry Meislin says:

    Since I believed, with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my might, that this exquisite fabrication was the truth, how dare you impugn my honesty?…

  4. Anat says:

    I’m probably being superficial, but it does cross my mind that we are finally witnessing the victory of the American Revolution over the French Revolution. No ‘fraternite’, no ‘greater good’, but only ‘That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men …’

    Anat, you have put your finger on an interesting issue. the American Revolution was considerably less radical (so much so that people like Howard Zinn don’t even consider it a revolution — apparenty if you don’t kill a lot of dissidents, you’re not truly revolutionary), and as a result more enduring. the French, competing with the Americans, legislated not for their nation but all mankind, and as a result got so absolutist they a) went into a terror, and b) regressed to a monarchy. i think you’re right to see some really fundamental issues at work here, in particular the deep trust that the American system has for the commoner, and the residual aristocratic contempt that the European elite has for its “masses”.

  5. Barry Meislin says:

    E. M. Forster is well (or perhaps notoriously) known for having described courage in the following way:

    If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.

    The courageous defenders of Enderlin have one-upped Forster, claiming in essence:

    If I had to choose between betraying the truth and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray the truth.

    Truly courageous in a way that only fellow travelers can understand….

    this is the key to the difference btw honor-shame clan based, my side right or wrong loyalties and civic commitments to rules that apply to everyone. -rl

  6. Eliyahu says:

    as to Deir Yassin, it was more a battle than a “massacre.” See the recent book by Uri Millstein. I think that it has been translated into English.

  7. Zeph says:

    There are too many actors here. Hundreds of young Palestinians in front of the Israeli position at Netzarim in Gaza, the Palestinian doctors, the Jordanian surgeons, King Abdallah, the cameramen of AP and Reuters.

    That is exactly what they are ACTORS.

    Enderlin has restated the oft repeated question of whether there is any honor among thieves and the answer- as has been demonstrated by Enderlin’s and his colleagues at France2 is sadly NO!

  8. Cato says:

    France 2 lied – people died
    France 2 delenda est

  9. Eliyahu says:

    I guess I qualify as an expert on Gaza, by Enderlin’s standards anyhow. I have indeed set foot inside Gaza. I have been there several times [although not for years]. And maybe Enderlin has been there more often than I. But I am an expert, according to his criteria. So I can say with authority that the
    al-Durah “killing” film footage is a fake, a set up, a sham, a hoax, a staging.

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