By Shlomo Cesana and Israel
government review of the death of 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura during the
Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000 has officially debunked a French television report
suggesting he was killed by direct Israel Defense Forces fire.
Click photo to download. Caption: On Feb. 19, 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulates Dr. Yehuda David upon his acquittal in France’s highest court after he had been sued for libel by Jamal al-Dura for refuting claims that Jamal was injured in a 2000 shooting in the Gaza Strip. Israel was further vindicated in relation to the incident Sunday when a government report said the IDF was not responsible for the death of Jamal’s son, Muhammad. Credit: Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90.
report, which was presented to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday,
further concluded that it was highly likely that the boy survived the incident
unscathed and therefore may still be alive. The boy’s father, Jamal, urged an
international inquest into the shooting.
The incident took
place on Sept. 30, 2000–the early days of the Al-Aqsa Intifada– when Jamal
al-Dura and his 12-year-old son Muhammad were filmed by a France 2 news crew as they were taking cover behind a concrete
barrier after they were caught in a crossfire between Israeli soldiers and
Palestinian police forces in Netzarim Junction, on the Gaza Strip’s main
France 2 reported that the boy was killed by direct fire from a
nearby IDF post. The story was widely covered by the international media, and
the footage of the boy and his father, crouching in fear and sobbing as bullets
whistled over their heads, quickly became one of the Second Intifada’s most
potent symbols, causing Israel’s international image considerable damage.
The IDF had
initially accepted responsibility for the incident, but an inquest headed by
then-GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen Yom-Tov Samia concluded that the boy was not
hit by IDF fire.
edited to support biased reporting
The Israeli government
review committee was formed in 2012 by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who at
the time served as strategic affairs minister. The committee examined the raw
footage filmed by the France 2 crew,
and found that it was edited to exclude a part at the end in which the boy–declared
dead by the reporter on film merely a moment earlier–is clearly seen alive and
which was presented to Netanyahu by Minister for International, Intelligence
and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz, further found that there was no evidence
that the boy and his father were injured at all, let alone severely, by IDF
fire; concluding that the French television station edited the footage to
support its biased reporting.
The report also
criticized other media outlets for basing their coverage of the case solely on France 2’s report, disregarding the fact
that the incident was witnessed by multiple reporters. “The French reporter’s
own account of the events has varied over the years and is riddled with
contradictions and falsities,” the report said.
The review also
found gross inconsistencies in the medical reports detailing the treatments the
two underwent at Shifa Hospital in Gaza: “None of the bullets that supposedly
hit both was ever recovered, not by the journalists who witnessed the incident,
not by Palestinian security forces and …read more