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Al-Dura Exclusive: Esther Schapira’s Open Letter to Charles Enderlin

You quote Dr. Tawil, whom you have referred to now, more than nine years after the fact, as saying he couldn’t remember what he told which camera crew, but the important thing was what he read at the death certificate. Well, we did the interview with Dr. Tawil shortly after the event: back then his memory was fresh, and he could remember well and vividly what happened on the 3oth of September. He was certain that it was around 10 a.m. when two dead people arrived, a boy and a man. He was sure about that, and he would not forget or mix it up because he knew the dead man quite well. He was an ambulance driver. The boy he did not know, and he only heard his name much later. The timing of course is crucial because, as you yourself write, correctly for once, at this time the shooting at the junction had not even started.

Furthermore: what is your explanation for the arrival of the boy together with the ambulance driver, when according to Talal Abu Rahme, Mohammed and Jamal Al-Dura were taken to the hospital together in the ambulance?

You ask where I got the image of Mohammed Al-Dura on the stretcher being taken into the Shifa hospital. I answered this question already when your company asked, and I even said so in the film: we got it from a Palestinian journalist in Gaza back then, in 2001. It is part of a Palestinian documentary about Mohammed al-Dura which aired on Palestinian TV shortly afterwards.

I am astonished that you didn’t have it. It was as available as the filmed material inside the Netzarim military outpost and the aerial shots which we got from the Tsahal Archive. Every journalist could have it. It was just a question of asking and researching. It was a question of good journalistic work. We got it, you did not. That is the difference.

You complain that we showed Philippe Karsenty while he was jogging and Dr. Yehuda David in the operation theater to make them more likeable and credible, whereas Prof. Raphael Walden, Arlette Chabot, and you were just shown in an office. You forget to tell your readers: it was your decision where you were filmed, as it was Arlette Chabot’s and Prof. Walden’s, and we showed you working in the editing room as well. If this doesn’t count for your credibility, it is due to you.

I could continue, but it is not worth the effort. I have said now what I felt should be said. All I want to add is that I pity you. You shot yourself in the foot, and you continue doing so because of your vanity. Yes, you are getting old, but maybe with age comes wisdom, or the courage to try something new before it is too late.

Try to save your reputation. Try to admit a mistake. Try the truth. If you feel like doing so, let me know. Then we’ll meet for the fifth time. This, then, would be a meeting I look forward to.