Charles Enderlin: Further Cover-Up of Al Dura Affair?

Faced with criticism of his coverage of the recent Gaza beach explosion which killed seven members of a Palestinian family, France 2 Jerusalem correspondent Charles Enderlin, is once more retreating behind a shield of lies.

Back in September 2000, Mr. Enderlin helped fuel the Palestinian intifada by claiming 12-year-old Mohammed Al Dura was targeted and shot dead by Israeli forces. As evidence mounted to suggest an Israeli bullet could not have killed Al Dura, Enderlin and France 2 refused to apologize or retract, responding instead with defensive lies and threats of lawsuits. (See “Mohammed Al Dura, or Anatomy of a French Media Scandal“)

On Saturday, June 17, 2006, Enderlin appeared on the French public network program L’Hebdo du médiateur (Weekly Mediator) to defend his coverage of the Gaza explosion. The segment gave television viewers the opportunity to challenge Enderlin and his colleague Eric Monier on air about France 2‘s reporting on the incident and ensuing IDF investigation. The coverage, said viewers, was partisan because it unquestioningly accepted the Palestinian claims that Israel was responsible and cast doubt on the IDF investigation. After one viewer compared the coverage of the Gaza blast to the network’s earlier inaccurate reporting on Al Dura, Enderlin tried to discredit the Israeli army inquiry into the Al Dura incident whose conclusions disproved his on-air assertions of September 30, 2000. He said:

Let me recall that last month, a Tel-Aviv court ruled that the Israeli army investigation after the death of little Mohammed….was not scientific, not professional, and started off with pre-conceived ideas.

According to Metulla News Agency (MENA), this assertion is false. MENA’s staff investigated whether there had in fact been any such ruling and found that the case Enderlin cited did not at all address the quality of the Israeli army investigation. Rather, the court found that one particular member of the investigative committee, Yosef Duriel —who was dismissed by the IDF committee leader weeks before the inquiry concluded —had been unprofessional in his inquiry into events. (This ruling was issued in context of a defamation suit brought by Duriel against someone who had criticized his inquiry in a letter-to-the-editor in Ha’aretz. The court ruled that Duriel had not been defamed.)

The IDF sent MENA the following statement in reaction to Enderlin’s claim and talked about summoning the France 2 journalist and perhaps taking legal action:

…In no way did this court consider the quality of the definitive investigation undertaken by the Israeli army [in the Al-Dura case] and, moreover, it specifically rejected a proposal requesting that it further examine this [the IDF] investigation, although it was requested by the defending party [the letter writer].

The court only gave its decision concerning the subject that was limited to Mr Duriel’s inquiry.

This misrepresentation is an attempt by Enderlin to discredit critics and deflect attention from his own ethical lapses. It mirrors an earlier attempt by France 2 to cast aspersions on the Israeli army investigation into the Al Dura incident. In an October 2005 email, a France 2 viewer representative falsely alleged that an “authoritative American opinion” by the US government “discredits” the IDF investigation that concluded Al Dura was not killed by an Israeli bullet.

In fact, there was no such congressional statement. Rather, France 2 was falsely characterizing inaccurate and biased testimony by a pro-Palestinian partisan as official US opinion. (See “The Al Dura Affair: France 2 Misleads About U.S. Congressional Report” )

And so it continues, with Enderlin and France 2 pouncing on every opportunity to attack and discredit the IDF investigation that proved their coverage false–repeatedly resorting to lies to achieve this goal.

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