In 2000, Israel was dealing with the Intifada, Arafat’s response to the serious peace proposals negotiated by Bill Clinton as he was about to leave office. It was as good an offer as the Palestinians would ever have short of the annihilation of Israel planned by Ahmadinejad of Iran. Of course, Ahmadinejad’s plan would annihilate the Palestinians too. In the midst of this crisis an incident occurred that became the image of the Palestinian argument. A boy named Muhammed al-Dura was allegedly killed by Israeli bullets while crouching with his father behind a wall. The incident became a cause celebre for supporters of the Palestinians. In recent years, others have taken up the matter and published stories that doubt the original version.
Philippe Karsenty, a French TV critic who runs a web site in France, raised the question of whether the entire incident was staged by the Palestinian TV crew. He was then sued by France 2, the TV network that had run the footage and began the controversy. It was their crew who had filmed (or staged) the incident. They even obtained a judgment against him in spite of the fact that the French judge had refused to allow him to obtain the “out takes” of the film. Karsenty contended that a portion of the film, not shown on French TV, had shown the boy still moving when he was alleged to be dead. Maybe it was all a hoax. Outrage followed. I heard him interviewed on the Dennis Prager show about a year ago after the trial.
This entire affair is an example of the dishonesty of the entire Israeli-Palestinian controversy. In 2000, the Palestinians had a unique opportunity to move beyond the 50 years of squalor they had been offered by their Arab brethren. They could have had 96% of everything they said they wanted. Dennis Ross, the Clinton negotiator, has written that there were venture capitalists ready to invest in the West Bank and economic success was there for the asking. The response was Intifada and the sort of dishonest propaganda that followed. Now the Washington Post is reporting that the Bush Administration has little leverage and the Arabs are turning to Iran. What they do not tell you, is that there is no US solution for the problem. Only when the Palestinians decide to join the 21st century will they achieve a solution. It is in their hands and the al-Dura affair shows that they are not clean hands.