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Jamal Al-Dura: Israeli Report was 'Fabricated'

Jamal al-Dura, father of Muhammad al-Dura, rejects report which shows his son wasn't killed by IDF and suggests he might still be alive.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/20/2013, 4:15 AM

The al-Dura Incident
The al-Dura Incident
Screenshot

Jamal al-Dura, father of Muhammad al-Dura, rejected on Sunday a report by an Israeli investigative committee which determined that allegations that the IDF killed his son were untrue, and that his son may not even be dead.

Speaking to AFP, al-Dura said the Israeli report was "completely fabricated."

"The Israelis are lying and trying to cover the truth," he said, adding he had requested the formation of an international commission of inquiry, including his family and the Israelis.

12-year-old al-Dura and his father became famous in September 2000, when they were turned into a symbol that had international opinion accusing Israel of causing preventable civilian casualties during the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War, which was initiated by Palestinian Authority Arabs.

The two 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 PA 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, the channel’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.

Media critic Philippe Karsenty, who succeeded in getting the courts to see the unedited films, courageously exposed the al-Dura "big lie", but was sued by France 2 and the verdict is still not in. Israeli physician Dr. Yehuda David revealed that in 2007 that he had treated the father for wounds sustained in an Arab gang attack – injuries that al-Dura later claimed had been inflicted by the Israeli army. He, too, was sued for libel, but won the case.

The IDF initially apologized for al-Dura's death, but issued a retraction after an initial investigation indicated that it was Arab terror gunfire, not shots fired by IDF soldiers, that killed the boy. The recorded false version of the incident, however, quickly spread and continued to be a top story for weeks after the video was broadcast.

The government investigative committee, that was set up to determine the truth of the allegations that IDF soldiers killed the 12-year-old and which released its report on Sunday, determined that not only were the allegations a lie, but that al-Dura may not even be dead.

“As opposed to the media reports that stated that the child was killed, an examination of the raw video shot by the France 2 staff shows the child alive,” the committee said. That portion of the video was never broadcast.

“In addition, there is a great deal of evidence to indicate that al-Dura and his father were never hit by any bullets. The investigation shows that it is very unlikely that the bullet holes seen in the wall behind the two came from shots fired by IDF soldiers.”

Yossi Kuperwasser, Director General of the Ministry of International Relations who authored the report, told AFP on Sunday that France 2 did not provide the original raw footage of the incident.

"We asked France 2 for the original footage many times, if we had it we could have known more things," he said.

In response to an AFP query, Enderlin said, "We are ready for an independent public inquiry."

"We have always said, including to the supreme court, that we were ready for an independent public inquiry by international standards,” he added.