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Ballistics expert supports verdict in al-Dura libel case: Gaza child wasn't killed by Israeli gunfire

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    Sun., March 02, 2008 Haaretz Ballistics expert supports verdict in al-Dura libel case: Gaza child wasn t killed by Israeli gunfire By Adi Schwartz
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2008
      Sun., March 02, 2008 Haaretz
      Ballistics expert supports verdict in al-Dura libel case: Gaza child
      wasn't killed by Israeli gunfire
      By Adi Schwartz


      A report presented to a French court last week by an independent
      ballistics expert maintains that the death of Mohammed al-Dura, a
      Palestinian child seen being shot in the Gaza Strip during the first day
      of the intifada in September 2000, could not have been the result of
      Israeli gunfire, corroborating claims that the shocking footage was

      The ballistics expert, Jean-Claude Schlinger, presented his conclusions
      after reviewing the footage, which shows Dura and his father cowering by
      a wall after being caught in the crossfire between Palestinian gunmen
      and Israel Defense Forces soldiers at the Netzarim junction.

      The case revolves around a libel suit brought by the France 2 television
      channel and its Middle East correspondent, Charles Enderlin, against
      Phillipe Karsenty. On November 22, 2004 Karsenty wrote on his Web site,
      Media Ratings, that Dura's death had been staged and that France 2's
      conduct "disgraces France and its public broadcasting system."

      A few weeks later France 2 and Enderlin sued him for libel. In October
      2006 Karsenty was found guilty and was required to pay symbolic damages
      of 1 euro (and 3,000 euros in court costs).

      Karsenty appealed. The judge asked to examine all of the film footage in
      the report of the shooting before rendering a verdict.

      Yesterday Enderlin rejected Schlinger's findings, arguing that "only
      partial evidence was given to him for evaluation."

      In his report, Schlinger wrote, "If Jamal [the boy's father] and
      Mohammed al-Dura were indeed struck by shots, then they could not have
      come from the Israeli position, from a technical point of view, but only
      from the direction of the Palestinian position."

      He also wrote, "In view of the general context, and in light of many
      instances of staged incidents, there is no objective evidence that the
      child was killed and his father injured. It is very possible, therefore,
      that it is a case [in which the incident was] staged."

      Schlinger confirmed these statements in a telephone conversation with

      Schlinger has served as an adviser on ballistic and forensic evidence in
      French courts for 20 years.

      In his examination, he recreated the incident emphasizing the angle from
      which the shots could have been fired, the types of injuries and the
      types of weapons used by the IDF and the Palestinians.

      According to his report, there is no evidence that the boy was wounded
      in his right leg or in his abdomen, as was originally reported.

      Regarding the injuries reportedly suffered by the father, Schlinger
      wrote that ?If the injuries are genuine, they could not have occurred at
      the time of the events that television channel France 2 reported.??

      Regarding the angle of the shots, Schlinger wrote, "Assuming that the
      shots came from the Israeli position, only the lower limbs could have
      been hit, because the rest of the body was protected by the house at the

      This is the first time that an independent ballistics expert, not
      representing the State of Israel, undertook to examine Karsenty's claims.
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