Israeli government publishes report on controversial video allegedly portraying death of Palestinian boy during intifada, claims boy alive at end of video, thus absolving Israel of responsibility for his death; ‘With my own eyes I saw that we were shot at from nearby Israeli post,’ boy’s father says in interview with Ynet
Attila Somfalvi, YNET
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a government report Saturday, presenting the findings of a special governmental inquiry committee into the death of Muhammad al-Dura during the al-Aqsa Intifada. The report focuses on the controversial September 2000 France 2 broadcast – in which the boy is seen hiding behind his father while the two were under IDF gunfire – and conclude that al-Dura was still alive at the end of the video.
Video of al-Dura moving hand
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According to the committee findings, in contrary to what had been published before, there was no evidence that the boy or his father were injured at the time the video was shot, thereby noting there was reasonable doubt regarding IDF’s responsibility to the boy’s death.
Upon receiving the committee’s findings, Netanyahu said that “focusing on this incident is important as it slandered Israel and serves as an example for the delegitimization Israel constantly faces.
“There is only one way to fight lies,” the prime minister concluded, “and that is with the truth.”
According to the committee, France 2 framed the story as if at the time of its broadcast there was concrete evidence supporting the claim that the boy had died as a result of IDF gunfire, despite the fact that at the time, the responsibility for Al-Dura’s death was still disputed, thus putting into question the entire credibility of the news report.
The committee, formed in 2012, was first headed by now Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and concluded its inquiry recently under the chairmanship of Yuval Steinitz.
Steinitz also commented on the report saying “This was a blood-libel against Israel. The French report was simply false.”
‘Erasing the truth’
“So they’re basically saying that Muhammad is alive?” Muhammad’s father, Jamal al-Dura, asked ironically during a Sunday phone-interview with Ynet.
“If Muhammad wasn’t hurt by the bullets, then who shot at me and injured me? When the Israeli army shot and hit us, Israel admitted to have done it. Why does it keep changing its version?”
“If Israel is willing to form an international inquiry committee that will prove how Muhammad died, I will cooperate with it.”
Would you be prepared to have his body exhumed for that purpose?
“First of all, Israel would have to consent to an international inquiry. Then we could talk about exhumation. But I doubt that Israel would be willing to do so because it is afraid that IDF might be found responsible for my son’s death. Netanyahu and his government are afraid of it.”