France2 Raw Footage Presented to Court
Here you can see what the judges and those in attendance at the courtroom saw on November 14, 2007.
These are the “raw footage” or “rushes” that Talal Abu Rahma, stringer for France2, shot throughout the day of September 30, 2000. For a comparison, see the two hours shot by the cameraman for Reuters.
Although Charles Enderlin was charged with giving the court the full raw footage shot by Talal Abu Rahma that day, he in fact only gave a bit more than 18 minutes. (Here, we note that Abu Rahma gave sworn testimony to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, on October 3, 2000 that he filmed “approximately 27 minutes” of the Al Durah incident alone “which took place for 45 minutes.” Only 78 seconds of that scene has ever been revealed by France2.) Richard Landes saw at least 21 minutes of the rushes on three different occasions in late 2003, and presumably France2 showed the longer version to the three journalists in October 2004. Landes claims that the most embarrassingly obvious scenes of staging were cut. But even still, there are some clear examples of staging, some almost comic.
They were certainly enough for the judges to criticize Enderlin harshly for his professional work. Indeed, reports are that the chief judge in the case actually commented ruefully to someone at a reception: “And to think I asked for those rushes as a favor to France2!”
The Cours de Cassation reversed this ruling on the basis that, since Karsenty had not seen the rushes when he wrote his article (although he had several accounts of what they contained), they were immaterial to the defamation case before the court.
France2 Raw Footage as Presented to the French Court
The above footage is what Charles Enderlin, under court order, presented to the initial panel of the appeals court in Paris on November 14, 2007. It contains most of the raw footage preserved by Enderlin from September 30, 2000.
It poses multiple problems:
- this footage is only 18 minutes long. But Talal Abu Rahma, who filmed it, made a statement under oath to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, on October 3, 2000 that he filmed “approximately 27 minutes” of the Al Durah incident alone “which took place for 45 minutes.”
- When interviewed by journalist Esther Schapira in 2001 Abu Rahma gave a different account, saying that he filmed 6 minutes out of 45 minutes of the Al Durah sequence. (Only 78 seconds of that scene appears in the rushes. No more of that scene, if t exists, has ever been revealed by France2.)
- Tala Abu Rahma also told Esther Schapira that on September 30, 2000 he filmed nearly two cassettes worth of material and that the end of Al Durah sequence ended approximately 15 minutes before the end of the second tape. Charles Enderlin, in a subsequent interview with Schapira gave a third version of filming, that flatly contradicted Abu Rahma’s account. Enderlin claimed that Abu Rahma filed only one tape that day, which was sent by microwave from Gaza to Jerusalem and recorded on a second tape, “something like” 23 minutes in length.
- France2 revealed only 18 minutes of footage shot by Talal Abu Rahma from that day. However, Abu Rahma told Esther Schapira that by the end of the tape capturing the Al Durah sequence his batteries were dying? If Abu Rahma’s batteries were indeed dying, presumably he had been shooting for a long time. After all, Abu Rahma by his own account was at Netzarim Junction from about 7:00 in the morning and he filmed the Al Durah sequence that afternoon. The Reuters cameraman took over two hours of footage that day. It’s almost certain that there’s more to Abu Rahma’s footage than the 18 minutes France2 provided the court. (NB: Abu Rahma’s claim of a dying battery was one of the various explanations offered as to why he couldn’t shoot more than about a minute of alleged 45 minutes of shooting targeting the Al Durahs, a claim that Enderlin accepted without question in all his interviews and his book.)
- the 18 minutes produced are an edited version of what Enderlin showed to a number of people beforehand, including Richard Landes. When Richard Landes viewed the tape at Enderlin’s office on October 21, 2003 the footage was over 21 minutes (i.e., with about three minutes missing), including a particularly embarrassing scene of an obvious and failed fake.
- the abbreviated version of the footage provided the court still contains multiple examples of clearly staged footage (which presumably prompted the judges in the first panel of the Appeals Court to render a harsh judgment of Enderlin’s professional behavior).
For published material on what the tapes contain, see:
On seeing the France2 Tapes: Testimony by Richard Landes (November 2003)
Conversations with Charles Enderlin (November 2003)
France2 Tapes: Al Durah material (November 2003)
The Al Durah Case: A dramatic conclusion (November 2004)
Transcript of Radio Interview with Daniel Leconte and Denis Jeambar (November 2004)