Government Report Finds IDF Not Responsible for 2000 Al-Dura Shooting

May 20, 2013 10:04 am 1 comment

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. Photo: Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90.

An Israeli 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.

The 36-page 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 north-south highway.

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.

Footage 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 moving.

The report, 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 not by the doctors who treated them.”

“The al-Dura case clearly demonstrates the need for the media to adhere to the strictest ethical and professional standards when covering asymmetric conflicts,” the report stressed.

The truth will prevail’

“It is important to focus on this incident, which has slandered Israel’s reputation,” Netanyahu said Sunday. “This is a manifestation of the ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimize Israel. There is only one way to counter lies, and that is through the truth. Only the truth can prevail over lies.”

Meanwhile, Jamal al-Dura was quoted by Army Radio on Monday as saying, “Israel keeps changing its version of the events, but I want an international investigation. There’s a body—my son in buried in Bureij [refugee camp].”

The Israeli government “is afraid of the results of an independent investigation… When Israel agrees to an international inquest, I will agree to have the remains exhumed,” he said.

Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, who headed the review, told Army Radio, “Israel has never opposed an international inquest in the case. If anyone wanted to hold one, it could have been done 13 years ago.”

A statement by France 2 said, “It is hard to understand why no one in the committee contacted France 2 or (as far as we know) Mr. al-Dura in the matter, despite his willingness to have his son’s remains exhumed.” Yarden Vatikai, head of the government’s National Information Directorate, disputed France 2’s assertion that it was not consulted or contacted for the report, saying that “numerous attempts were made” to get their input.

This case was fabricated’

Dr. David Yehuda, who was sued by France 2 for libel after he refuted claims that the boy’s father was injured in the incident, and was later cleared by a Paris court, welcomed the report’s findings, saying, “This whole case was fabricated. The boy didn’t die. This is a very important day, not just for me but for the country.”

The government review committee had asked Yehuda to submit the same records and expert opinion he had presented the French court during his trial, in which he provided proof that scars Jamal al-Dura claimed to be the result of the incident were in fact caused years earlier.

“I operated on [Jamal] in 1994 after he was abused by Hamas operatives who suspected he was collaborating with Israel,” Yehuda said. “He was shot in the backside and his right arm was mangled from knife injuries. In 2005 and for some years after that, he presented those scars as if they were the results of that incident.”

Yehuda stated that the medical findings concerning the boy’s injuries were also fictitious: “We know that on the day of the incident a boy named Muhammad al-Dura was pronounced dead at Shifa at 9 a.m. The boy in the report, who allegedly suffered gunshot wounds, was hit at 3 p.m. He is not Muhammad al-Dura and I have no doubt that the boy in that report is still alive. We know where he is and I’ve asked the Shin Bet to produce him.”

“This case is nothing but a pile of lies and it has caused Israel tremendous damage I hope it can still be rectified,” he said.

Last February, Netanyahu called Yehuda a “hero” who set out to determine the truth in the Muhammad al-Dura libel campaign.

IDF not responsible for 2000 al-Dura shooting, government report finds

By Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom/JNS.org

An Israeli 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.

The 36-page 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 north-south highway.

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.

Footage 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 moving.

The report, 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 not by the doctors who treated them.”

The al-Dura case clearly demonstrates the need for the media to adhere to the strictest ethical and professional standards when covering asymmetric conflicts,” the report stressed.

The truth will prevail’

It is important to focus on this incident, which has slandered Israel’s reputation,” Netanyahu said Sunday. “This is a manifestation of the ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimize Israel. There is only one way to counter lies, and that is through the truth. Only the truth can prevail over lies.”

Meanwhile, Jamal al-Dura was quoted by Army Radio on Monday as saying, “Israel keeps changing its version of the events, but I want an international investigation. There’s a body—my son in buried in Bureij [refugee camp].”

The Israeli government “is afraid of the results of an independent investigation… When Israel agrees to an international inquest, I will agree to have the remains exhumed,” he said.

Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, who headed the review, told Army Radio, “Israel has never opposed an international inquest in the case. If anyone wanted to hold one, it could have been done 13 years ago.”

A statement by France 2 said, “It is hard to understand why no one in the committee contacted France 2 or (as far as we know) Mr. al-Dura in the matter, despite his willingness to have his son’s remains exhumed.” Yarden Vatikai, head of the government’s National Information Directorate, disputed France 2’s assertion that it was not consulted or contacted for the report, saying that “numerous attempts were made” to get their input.

This case was fabricated’

Dr. David Yehuda, who was sued by France 2 for libel after he refuted claims that the boy’s father was injured in the incident, and was later cleared by a Paris court, welcomed the report’s findings, saying, “This whole case was fabricated. The boy didn’t die. This is a very important day, not just for me but for the country.”

The government review committee had asked Yehuda to submit the same records and expert opinion he had presented the French court during his trial, in which he provided proof that scars Jamal al-Dura claimed to be the result of the incident were in fact caused years earlier.

I operated on [Jamal] in 1994 after he was abused by Hamas operatives who suspected he was collaborating with Israel,” Yehuda said. “He was shot in the backside and his right arm was mangled from knife injuries. In 2005 and for some years after that, he presented those scars as if they were the results of that incident.”

Yehuda stated that the medical findings concerning the boy’s injuries were also fictitious: “We know that on the day of the incident a boy named Muhammad al-Dura was pronounced dead at Shifa at 9 a.m. The boy in the report, who allegedly suffered gunshot wounds, was hit at 3 p.m. He is not Muhammad al-Dura and I have no doubt that the boy in that report is still alive. We know where he is and I’ve asked the Shin Bet to produce him.”

This case is nothing but a pile of lies and it has caused Israel tremendous damage I hope it can still be rectified,” he said.

Last February, Netanyahu called Yehuda a “hero” who set out to determine the truth in the Muhammad al-Dura libel campaign.

1 Comment

  • Conclusion: A blood libel, which was initiated by French state television, caused suffering to Jews in many places throughout the world. The suffering spread also to the French city of Toulouse, and was the cause of increased antisemitism among (gentile) French citizens of North African origin. Many Jews felt forced to emigrate as a result of increased antisemitism. I believe that the French government should pay reparations to the the Jewish community of Toulouse, the post 2000 French immigrant community and others who suffered as a result of the French Public TV blood Libel.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    JNS.org – The 75th anniversary of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on Dec. 15 presents an opportunity to examine the Jewish influence on one of the most popular films of all time. That influence starts with the American Civil War epic’s famed producer, David O. Selznick. Adjusted for inflation, “Gone with the Wind” remains the highest-grossing movie ever made. It earned the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture, the same honor another Selznick film, “Rebecca,” garnered in 1940. Selznick [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.