Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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...

  • Blogs Book Reviews Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    It is cocktail hour on an April afternoon in 2004. The sun is hot on Amsterdam’s canals, and I am sitting at Café den Leeuw on the Herengracht with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is still a member of the Dutch Parliament, and we talk about Islam. Specifically, we talk about the concept of “moderate Islam,” or what she calls “liberal Islam.” And she has one word for it. “It’s absurd,” she says. “It’s complete nonsense. There is no ‘liberal […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    JNS.org – A fairytale ending to Jewish basketball coach David Blatt’s first season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was not meant to be, as the Blatt-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night dropped Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, 105-97, to lose the best-of-seven series 4-2. Blatt, who just last year coached Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv franchise to a European basketball championship, failed to finish a second straight hoops season on top. But after the Cavaliers began the NBA […]

    Read more →