Update – 16 November 2007

Dear Advocates,

Early last month I sent you an Israel Advocacy Network Update in relation to the Muhammad al-Dura incident, and the French Appellate court case ordering France 2 Television to produce the original tapes of al-Dura’s death. Honest Reporting has an in-depth timeline of the events from 30 September 2000 until today, to view it, click here.

Two days ago the hearing began. Previously, only 55 seconds of the video had been shown. The France 2 Senior Reporter involved, Charles Enderlin, was to produce 27 minutes of footage; only 18 minutes were shown.

For some reports on the hearing please visit the following links:

Those who were at the hearing and have now seen the footage state that none of the frames support that claim that the Israelis were even involved in the particular incident, and that the footage in question appears to look more like Hollywood than a battle site. The fact that Enderlin was not even in Gaza on the day in question appears to most to be a blatant display of irresponsible journalism. For many, it appears that the “hoax is over”, but we will only know the true outcome on 27 February 2008.

In my opinion, the damage was already done seven years ago, and while I am eager to see the results of the trial, and would be keen to see the footage myself, I do not know if this
changes anything. The images were dispatched around the world over seven years ago, and while our own local media were quick to run with the story then, they are not reporting on the story now. And while I would not expect that one court case could change the perception of Israel in the media, it would be interesting to see this kind of journalism being exposed on a really large scale.

In other news, this coming Monday, 19 November 2007, marks thirty years since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat landed at Ben-Gurion airport in 1977, paving the way for a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, and making him the first Arab leader to visit Israel. Israel and Egypt negotiated with each other at a time when Egypt was considered the leader of the Arab world and negotiating with Israel was unheard of. Click here to read about the joint cooperation between the two countries since this historic visit. Despite this cooperation with the Egyptians, and a subsequent peace agreement with Jordan, one element that still remains elusive to Israelis is a true and lasting peace with the Palestinians.

Later this month, the Israelis and the Palestinians will head back to the negotiating tables at the Annapolis Summit. Not many comparisons can be drawn between Sadat’s historic visit to Israel 30 years ago and Abbas’s journey to Annapolis in a few weeks time. My next Update will provide more of an analysis of what we can expect from the Summit.

In other news, the Sderot Media Center was approached by Hanan Yaakobov, a twelve year old boy from Sderot, requesting that they conduct a memorial for his father, who was killed on 21 November 2006, when Kassam rockets hit the factory where he worked. The Center granted his request, and on 21 November 2007 there will be a memorial ceremony near the Sderot City Hall in memory of Yaakov Yaakobov in which the public, along with Israeli and foreign media have been invited to attend. The memorial will serve as a reminder that, in the words of the young Hanan Yaakobov, “Kassam Missiles are not toys. Kassam Missiles kill”. Click here to read a Press Release by the SZC Director of Public Affairs, Elly Shalev, entitled “The twisted ironies of the Kassam missile – reflections of the SZCV ‘Ofakim’ community leadership group in Sderot”.

Finally, to officially launch the campaign for Israel’s 60th Yom Ha’atzmaut the community is invited to join us for an evening of fun and celebration as we mark 60 years since UN
Resolution 181, establishing the State of Israel. Please join us on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the UN Partition Plan, Wednesday 28 November 2007 at 8:00pm at Beth
Weizmann Community Centre. Click here to view the flyer.

Best wishes,

Emily Chrapot
State Zionist Council of Victoria
9272 5507