A television film crew from the CBS program, "60 Minutes," was accused today of enticing an Arab youth to throw stones at an Israeli vehicle to dramatize a report of tensions between Arabs and Jews in Galilee.
Mike Wallace, correspondent for "60 Minutes", denied tonight that his crew had any foreknowledge of the stoning and said that the filming began after an Arab youth smashed a window of an Israeli car.
However, the youth told Israeli police that he was invited to throw a stone at a passing car, and was promised payment.
Three Israeli soldiers at the scene claimed that Wallace's crew filmed the stoning as it happened, and appeared to be positioned in a prearranged manner.
Zeev Chafets, director of Israel's government press office, commenting on Israeli radio accounts of the incident, said, "There is no conclusive evidence of what happened. The soldiers said the Wallace crew filmed it, and the Arab kid says he was put up to it.The police haven't talked to Wallace yet, so we don't know what happened."
Wallace said tonight that he and his camera crew were driving south in the Galilee yesterday when they saw an Israeli car surrounded by Israeli soldiers. He said his crew filmed the car, which had a broken windshield. Soldiers intervieweed on film blamed an Arab youth.
Wallace said that when he returned to Jerusalem today for scheduled interviews, he was told by Chafets that they had been canceled because of the allegations.
CBS tapes of the incident appeared to confirm Wallace account, since they showed interviews of soldiers who were commenting on an incident that occurred earlier.