Monday, 29 June 2009

Neda is not Al Dura, by Emmanuel Navon

"When Charles Enderlin claimed that Mohamed Al Durah and his father were the target of fire coming from the Israeli position, he had a major impact on global Jihad. According to the Sharia, Muslims may not kill the women and children of their enemies, unless those enemies kill Muslim civilians. When Osama bin Laden made a recruiting video before 9-11, he had a special section on Muhamed Al Durah, explaining that when "the Israelis" murdered the boy, they killed every Muslim child in the world. Daniel Pearl was beheaded with a picture of Mohamed al Durah behind him and scenes of Al Durah spliced into the slitting of his throat. So, no, the world has not forgotten about Mohamed Al Durah, and Israel was wrong all the way to try and ignore the issue, hoping it would evaporate. Indeed, Enderlin's ultimate defense and punching line to that day is that the very fact that Israel did not sue him or investigate his report it the proof that he did nothing wrong."

Last Saturday (June 20), an Iranian teenager named Neda was murdered on the streets of Tehran because she was exercising her right to protest. Her murder, agony and death were captured by a camera, and the shocking scene was posted on YouTube.

Neda, which means "voice" in Persian, has become the icon of the anti-Ahmanidejad movement. An Iranian blogger dedicated his post on to the memory of Neda saying that "she will be the new symbol of Iran" and that "her murder by the regime is the beginning of our movement and we will continue this movement and carry her name everywhere." A Twitter re-posting compared Neda to Muhammad Al Dura: "Like Mohammed Al Dura the kid killed by Israeli soldiers in 2000, the image of Neda killed by a Basij [the paramilitary voluntary militia controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, NDLR] in 2009 will remain with me forever."

I wish well to Iranian protesters and I hope, like them, that Neda will become the symbol of their struggle for freedom. But the comparison with Al Dura is inappropriate. The fact that Al Dura is still a pervasive symbol around the world just goes to show how wrong Israeli officials are when they brush off the affair, claiming it has already been forgotten.

The comparison with Al Dura is inappropriate, because Mohamed Al Dura was not killed by Israeli soldiers and because the scene of his alleged killing was almost certainly staged. This is no conspiracy theory or slander. On May 21, 2008, a French court (the "Court d'Appel de Paris") ruled that media analyst Philippe Karsenty is entitled to claim that the Al Dura scene is a hoax. The court did not rule whether or not the scene was staged (it wasn't asked to do so); but by ruling that it is legitimate for Karsenty to claim that the scene was staged, the court implicitly admitted that Karsenty's claim is not unfounded.

Full piece here

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