Dr. Yehuda David, who was sued for libel by the father of Muhammad al-Dura – and eventually won his case – expressed great satisfaction at the issuing of a special report by a government panel that revisited the infamous incident, in which IDF soldiers were accused of killing the 12 year old Arab boy at the start of the second intifada. The committee determined that not only were the allegations – and a report by French television purporting to show IDF soldiers shooting and killing the boy – a lie, but that the al-Dura is not even dead.
According to David, the whole incident stinks of a coverup – and the evidence that shows that not only was al-Dura not killed, but that the entire story was a hoax, perpetrated with the assistance of a French television station, is there for all to see.
Jamal al-Dura and his 12-year-old son, Muhammad, were filmed by Talal Abu Rahma, 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 security forces.
The footage, which lasts just over a minute, 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.
Fifty-nine seconds of the footage were initially broadcast on France 2 with a voiceover from Charles Enderlin, France 2's bureau chief in Israel, who did not witness the incident himself but his only information was received by phone from the cameraman.
Enderlin reported that the al-Duras 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. They noted France 2 had cut the final few seconds of video in which he appeared to lift his hand from his face.
David, a physician at Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, entered the al-Dura fray on December 13, 2007 when he 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. He was initially convicted of a charge, but that decision was overturned by the French Supreme Court in February 2012. The decision was widely seen as a national victory for Israel.
The Israeli committee, in its final word on the subject, said Sunday that “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 pair came from shots fired by IDF soldiers.”
The new report also questions whether or not the younger al-Dura was even killed. The fact that he was still alive at the end of the French television video, after the gunfire had stopped, could mean that the boy is alive even now. “Since this issue was first raised there have been many contradictions and cold trails, based on the story the French television company told. There are many unanswered questions about many aspects of this incident,” the committee said.
According to David, the answer to this question is clear, and is supported by evidence. “We know that a child whose name is Mohammed al-Dura was taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza at 9 AM,” David told Arutz Sheva, relying on publicly released information. “We know that the event in which it was claimed that the child was killed actually only began at 3 in the afternoon. So how is it possible that there was a dead child at 9 AM, and they want us to believe that it is the same child who was shot by Israeli soldiers at 3:00?”
So who was the child in the famous video? Most likely a brother of Mohammed, David said. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest this already, David said: According to the results of an investigation by a German group, for example, the shape of the skull of the buried child was different than the shape of the skull of the child seen in the video. The real identity of the child could be confirmed by disinterring him. David is willing to bet that the child will turn out to be the “real” Mohammed al-Dura, the one who died in Shifa Hospital in the morning, as opposed to the “fake” one – the one seen in the video, who is alive and well.
David said that it was regrettable that it had taken the state so long to take a definitive stance on the hoax. “Now we know that Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government acknowledge the truth – that Jamal al-Dura is a liar, and that all the information supplied by France 2 during the event on Septerm 30, 2000, is a hoax. This has caused a tremendous sacrifice of Israeli lives, because it was the beginning of the second intifada, which led to the loss of 2,500 Israeli lives,” he said, including the victims of the 2012 attack by a Muslim fanatic on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, who specifically said he was “avenging” the death of al-Dura.