HonestReporting together with Take-A-Pen covered this afternoon's hearing in France where raw footage of the Mohammed Dura was publicly screened for the first time. HonestReporting/Take-A-Pen's Alain Benjamin, who saw the video in court, discussed by phone the proceedings with MediaBackspin editor Pesach Benson.For background, see Honest Reporting's summary.
What did the raw footage show?
We can definitely say that nobody can say who was shooting at who. Charles Enderlin said in court that the Palestinians started shooting first, but in the end, there's no way we can say what happened that day. You can't tell who did what. The assertion from Charles Enderlin, that the Israeli army killed the boy, is totally wrong. The least he could've said was that the boy was killed--but we don't know by who.
There was a dispute over how much footage was to be screened. Was the full video shown?
Charles Enderlin submitted 18 minutes of footage. The judge, without any prompting from Philippe's lawyers, asked what happened to the 27 minutes. Enderlin said on record in court that he had to manipulate some footage that was not relevant to that day. He said he transferred the footage onto DVD for the court. That was amazing.
So she asked if anyone in attendance had seen the full footage. Luc Rosenzweig was there, stood up , and said he saw a tape that was more than 20 minutes long. Richard Landes also stood up. He saw the footage at Enderlin's office. He said the timer he saw was at least 21 minutes long. The judge basically let that issue rest, but there was serious doubt hanging over the room that the footage was tampered or doctored.
After the hearing ended, how did people react to what they saw?
Not one person believed that the version of France 2 was right. Some people maintained that the footage was staged. Others think the footage was real. Clearly, nobody believed that anybody died.
Does the footage vindicate Karsenty?
Everyone was going, "Wow" and talking about whether he'll take action against France 2 for trying to swindle the court. He can wait for the verdict, or sue France 2 for tampering with the tape. He has quite a few options. Clearly, the judge wasn't convinced by France 2's version. The judge's verdict is to be given on February 27.
For exhaustive analysis, see Augean Stables.