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November 29, 2000
The New York Times, challenges camera and cameraman
By Ahmed Amr.

The Israeli Army Says Palestinians May Have Shot Gaza Boy. That was the big bold letter headline of an article in the New York Times on Tuesday, November 28, 2000. The boy they were referring to was Muhammad Al-Durrah who was shot by Israeli soldiers in front of a cameraman for France 2 television. By now those who care have seen the picture of this 12-year-old Palestinian who was shot along with his father as they pleaded for the Israeli soldiers to hold fire.

The cameraman who filmed the shooting testifies that IDF soldiers, firing blindly while safely sheltered behind concrete walls, killed the boy during a sustained 30-minute fusillade. Since then, the Israeli Army has destroyed all the physical evidence in a 'site-clearing operation'.

To those of us who believe our eyes, this is a close and shut case of random Israeli murder of another unarmed Palestinian civilian child. This time the IDF was caught committing the crime on camera. But the New York Times is always willing to give the Israeli occupation soldiers a chance to challenge the camera and the cameraman.

At the very end of the article you learn that even Haaretz, a leading Israeli daily was not buying into this elaborate IDF hoax. It is instructive to note that the Israeli army went to great efforts to come up with its 'Findings', including a full re-enactment at a 'similar' site and analysis of the French videotape. Haaretz reacted to the IDF investigation with the embarrassing statement that "it is hard to describe in mild terms the stupidity of this bizarre investigation".

The Times reports that "at one point in the investigation, two Israeli civilians who worked as unpaid advisers to the inquiry went so far as to suggest that the boy's killing had been set up by the Palestinians, with the possible connivance of the cameraman."

What is wrong with this picture? Well, at the New York Times, they just don't see things in black and white. They see things in blue and white. They will doubt their eyes in an effort to make the rest of us doubt our eyes.

William A. Orme approvingly concludes his article with this appalling bit of journalism; "The army report contained no inference that the killing had been a premeditated publicity ploy". Really? What question was William Orme responding to? Probably an inquiry to back up New York Times editorials in which Safire and Friedman suggested that Palestinians throw their kids at Israeli bullets as a publicity stunt.

When it comes to Israel, the New York Times is almost jingoistic. It’s the old line about "our boys in the IDF couldn't have done that." Got it.

By now, there have been over 250 Palestinian fatalities in this latest round of Israeli carnage. William Orme and the New York Times should spend less time discrediting the French video tape and more time finding how many other innocent Palestinians were needlessly killed and maimed by the the overkill tactics of the IDF. Is it possible that any of the other Palestinian victims were killed in circumstances similar to Muhammad Al-Durrah? But that would be journalism and good journalism might not be good for Israel.


  January 3, 2001