Members of Israel’s Knesset hosted on Wednesday Israeli orthopedist Dr. Yehuda David, who was sued for slander by the father of Muhammad al-Dura and acquitted by the French Supreme Court last week.
Jamal al-Dura and his 12-year-old son, Muhammad, were filmed by a local Arab cameraman freelancing for France 2, as they sought cover behind a concrete cylinder after being caught in crossfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian Authority security forces.
The footage shows the pair holding onto each other, the boy crying and the father waving, then a burst of gunfire and dust, after which the boy is seen slumped across his father's legs.
The footage was initially broadcast on France 2 with a voiceover from Charles Enderlin, France 2's bureau chief in Israel, who reported that the two had been the “target of fire from the Israeli positions” and that the boy had died. After an emotional public funeral, Muhammad was hailed throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds as a martyr.
An IDF investigation in October 2000 concluded Israeli soldiers “probably did not shoot the al-Duras.” Three senior French journalists who saw the raw footage in 2004 said it was not clear from the footage alone that the boy had died.
Dr. David later entered told Israel's Channel 10 that he had treated Jamal in 1994 for knife and axe wounds to his arms and legs sustained during an Arab gang attack.
David said the scars Jamal claimed as bullet wounds from the 2000 incident were actually scars from a tendon repair operation that David performed in 1994, leading Jamal to sue him for libel. The French Supreme Court overturned a judgment against David last week.
The MKs on Wednesday hosted a special reception for Dr. David, after earlier this week the Ministerial Committee on Legislation endorsed a government-sponsored bill to pay his legal expenses.
MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem gave the opening remarks and said, “Dr. David got up and, out of the enormous responsibility he felt for the people of Israel, spoke strongly and vehemently denied the lies against the Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers.”
MK Zevulun Orlev (The Jewish Home) called to re-open the al-Dura and use it to prove the morality and righteousness of the IDF.
Dr. David himself also gave a short speech and said, “The campaign has just started. In eight days there will be a hearing in the third trial being conducted against the French journalist French media commentator Philippe Karsenty [who was sued for libel by France 2 for saying he believed local Arabs had staged the shooting themselves to create a media incident –ed.], after he won two previous trials. In recent days following my acquittal, new discoveries are being made and validated in the case. We should make sure that no one will ever dare slander the IDF and Israel.”
MK Rabbi Amsalem handed Dr. David a special award in recognition of his determination and his dedication to the people of Israel.
Dr. David told Arutz Sheva that he, along with some friends, has formed a new organization with the purpose of defending the IDF and the State of Israel against any lies that are spread against them.
He invited everyone to visit his Facebook page, “Dr. Yehuda David”, which includes all the details of the new organization which is called “For Israel Survival: For Truth, Against Lies.”