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France 2 television fabricated the events surrounding the death of Muhammad al-Dura in Gaza in 2000, according to Government Press Office director Danny Seaman.

The death of the Palestinian boy during an exchange of fire between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen at the Netzarim junction became a cause celebre in the Muslim world.

In a letter to the Shurat Hadin legal NGO, Seaman cites an Israeli investigation that heard testimony from medical and legal experts and determined that the events as described by the TV station were fabricated and defied the laws of physics.

France 2 claimed that al-Dura was killed by IDF fire, but Seaman cites the Israeli experts as concluding that the soldiers couldn't even see the boy from their positions.

Seaman was responding to a letter sent to him by Shurat Hadin earlier this year demanding that the Israeli press credentials of France 2 crew members be revoked. Seaman responded that although he believed that the crew members had acted unprofessionally, this was insufficient reason to take away their credentials.

The Prime Minister's Office said Seaman's letter did not necessarily represent the position of the government.

An appeals court judge in Paris ordered France 2 last month to show the court about 25 minutes of raw video footage shot at the Netzarim junction on September 30, 2000, when the 12-year-old boy was shot. The court gave France 2 until November 14. France 2's original broadcast showed 55 seconds of edited footage.

Then, al-Dura became an instant icon for Palestinian suffering, but the IDF, after initially apologizing for the death, concluded after an investigation that the boy could not possibly have been hit by Israeli bullets.

In 2006, after Philippe Karsenty, director of the media watchdog group Media-Ratings, called France 2's exclusive video of the incident 'a hoax,' he was found guilty of slander.

Karsenty was slapped with two $1,380 fines - one to be paid to France 2 and one to the station's reporter - and ordered to pay another $4,000 in court costs when he wrote that the incident constituted a "masquerade that dishonors France and its public television." He appealed that decision, and the appeals judge ordered that the video be released.

Several French and US journalists who have seen the raw footage have indicated the shooting might have been staged by Palestinians.

Karsenty maintains that France 2 TV and Enderlin staged the incident with the active participation of their cameraman in Gaza, Talal Abu-Rahma.



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