Claim No. 3: “The wound in the back is an exit wound”

Charles Enderlin – based upon photos presented by Dr. Abed El Raqez El-Masry, (the morgue pathologist at Shifa Medical Center who performed a limited autopsy on the body that France2 claims was that of Muhammad Al Durah) – says Muhammad Al Durah “…was not shot from the back. The wound in the back is an exit wound.” Jamal Al Durah, Muhammad’s father –  who was with Muhammad during the incident –  also claims a bullet exited Muhammad’s back. critique

The exit wound appearing in Dr. El-Masry’s autopsy photographs, should have resulted in massive blood spatter at the scene of the alleged shooting. However, there was none. All the contemporaneous video evidence of the alleged incident and its aftermath – and video of the scene taken following evacuation of the Al Durahs – is also inconsistent with Muhammad Al Durah‘s having suffered the posterior exit wound, as described by Jamal Al Durah, Dr. El-Masry and Charles Enderlin, at the scene of the alleged shooting.

In addition, as thoroughly explicated by Esther Schapira, there are substantial evidentiary inconsistencies regarding the true identity of the body autopsied, how and when the body sustained the injuries reported and – perhaps most important – by whom the injuries were inflicted.

At this juncture it is appropriate to highlight the two chief problems that characterize the Palestinian narrative of the Al Durah incident.  First and foremost is that the key factual elements of the narrative are subject to legitimate, serious – and often overwhelming – doubt.  The second problem involves the unwarranted jump by progenitors of the narrative from a particular fact to a conclusion about its causation. It is one thing to say that a particular person has been hurt or killed at a particular time and place. However, even if that fact were to be proven, one cannot justifiably jump to the conclusion about who or what caused that injury – let alone the intent of any party involved – without specific proof of causation in addition to proof of the injury alleged.  However, as we have shown, those documenting and promoting the Palestinian version of the Al Durah narrative have largely assumed both the facts of the incident and their causation – mostly in steadfast opposition to the actual evidence.

Charles Enderlin – even when he acknowledges the substantial limitations of his own knowledge about what happened to the Al-Durahs – consistently elevates presumption over logic in piecing together hard evidence.  For example, consider the following exchange between Esther Schapira and Enderlin:

Enderlin: “We got the pictures of Muhammed Al Durah’s body in the morgue of – uh – Shifa Hospital. The wounds look to me consistent with the shooting that happened that day. The kid was not shot from the back. The wound in the back is an exit wound. Again, nobody can be sure – I – we cannot prove anything. And – uh – from my point of view from as a journalist, it’s a story. If somebody brings new facts – but real facts, not propaganda, not disinformation, we will give it.”

Despite Enderlin’s admission that “we cannot prove anything” he simply echoes Jamal Al Durah’s claim that bullets exited Muhammad’s back. Worse, despite Enderlin’s expressed commitment to examine new objective evidence and revise his views accordingly,  he does the opposite. When confronted with the thoroughly implausible phenomenon of a gaping exit wound – that is spectacularly bloodless – in the posterior of the body presented as Muhammad Al Durah’s, Enderlin, a reputable investigative journalist, simply refuses to ask the hard questions. Instead, Enderlin resorts to a bizarre theory of immaculate wounds, which is examined below in our critique of Claim #4.

All contemporaneous visual evidence from the scene of the alleged shooting shows absolutely no blood spatter – not on Jamal Al Durah, nor on the wall behind Muhammad Al Durah, nor anywhere at the scene, at all. Notwithstanding that all the video evidence of the incident and its aftermath – including video of the wall following the alleged shooting  – is completely inconsistent with Muhammad‘s purported exit wound at the scene of the alleged shooting, Enderlin still chooses to neither reexamine his assumptions nor to question the integrity of his sources.