Is the Duma “guess- timation” the next Al Dura narrative?
I am not going to discuss the painful issue of the recent Duma tragedy. We have had enough of that, enough of self flagellation, breast beating and guilt ridden national conscience. The incidence has been debated, written about, discussed and analyzed ad nauseaum to the point of exhaustion.
It is time to heal and move on.
Herein, however, is where our problem rests. Any doctor will tell you that no healing process can commence until the problem has been fully diagnosed and the source of it has been identified. How can we, Israelis, prescribe a cure for the malignancies in our midst if so many of us refuse to confront them? How can we stop a small but loud segment of our society from breast beating and projecting upon the rest of us their dysfunctionalities by pointing a blaming finger at us and declaring us as the “usual suspects?”
These questions seem legitimate following another very well publicized example; one that continues to resurface; one we had allowed to remain an open wound for too long, a wound that still comes to haunt us probably because we took too long to address and cure it. I am referring to the Al Dura case of September 30, 2000.
The image of the twelve year old Gazan boy hiding behind his father who was allegedly killed by Israeli fire, is still a symbol of “martyrdom” in some parts of the world, mainly the Arab world. It appears on posters, stamps and is still fuels hatred and violence towards Israel.
Following the incident, France 2 T.V. station aired a clip of the alleged killing and distributed it for free to other networks that broadcasted it, inspiring further violence directed at Jews and Israelis.
My dear friend, Philippe Karsenty, the founder and president of Media-Ratings (www.M-R.fr) claimed that the footage was staged. He was ready to defend his claim in court. Karsenty was sued for defamation by the French-Israeli journalist of the France 2 T.V. station. Karsenty lost in court.
On May 21, 2008, justice briefly prevailed and Karsenty won his appeal. In 2012, however, the French Supreme Court overturned the Appeals Court‘s decision on procedural grounds. According to it, Karsenty had no legal right to show the footage during the proceedings at the Court of Appeals.
It was not until May 2013, though, that a victory for Israel took place. Following the recommendation of an investigative committee set by the Israeli government, Israel formulated its official position that there is no evidence to support France 2’s claim that the young Al Dura was killed by Israeli fire, if at all.
Clearly, only some of pieces of the Duma firebombing puzzle are strewn around. These include, a dead baby, a wounded family and two burnt houses in the middle of a small Arab village. All the other details are circumstantial.
Uncertainties and unsolved issues are a nightmare. No one deserves to live with them for too long, if at all. Hopefully, the relevant Israeli authorities would, like in the Al Dura case, initiate their own probe into this case and hopefully sooner. Otherwise, in the words of my dear friend and fellow blogger, Varda Meyers Epstein, “Duma might become the next Al-Dura case.”