Controversial footage which purports to show the death of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in Gaza 11 years ago is to be examined again by the French courts.
The highest French appeal court yesterday ordered a retrial of allegations that a French television crew staged the apparent shooting by Israeli troops of Mohammed al-Dura as he sheltered in his father's arms in September 2000.
Philippe Kersanty, founder of media watchdog Media Ratings, was convicted of libel by a French court in 2006 after he accused France 2 of faking footage which had shocked television audiences all over the world. An appeal court overturned this verdict in 2008, arguing that Mr Kersanty had a right to express his opinion. The Cour de Cassation, the highest French court, rejected this ruling yesterday and ordered the lower court to hear the case again. The ruling was hailed as a victory by France 2 and its veteran correspondent in Israel, Charles Enderlin, who insist the report was accurate.
The death of Mohammed on 30 September 2000 has become one of the most hotly disputed incidents in the media war between Israel and the Palestinians. It has become an article of faith to Israeli activists – and more recently the Israeli government – that Mohammed's death was staged. In the Arab world, the boy has become a martyr to the Palestinian cause, appearing on t-shirts and banners and even having streets named after him.
The original France 2 report showed the boy cowering in his father's arms during an exchange of fire in Gaza between Israeli troops and Palestinians. The boy was then shown lying dead. Mr Enderlin's voice-over said he had been killed by Israeli bullets.