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13-Year Controversy Over Al Dura Incident Continues

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The infamous picture of 12-year old Muhammed al Dura. The boy who was never really murdered.

 The infamous picture of 12-year old Muhammed al Dura. The boy who was never really murdered.

The infamous picture of 12-year old Muhammed al Dura. The boy who was never really murdered.

A review by an Israeli government investigative committee concluded this week that a Sept. 2000 France 2 broadcast alleging Israeli soldiers shot dead 12-year-old Mohammed Al Dura – – a claim which spawned intense violence and terrorism against Israel – – had no basis in fact. This confirms what many skeptics have been contending for almost 13 years, but has not laid the issue to rest.

Charles Enderlin, the France 2 journalist who made the apparently false claim, continues to insist he was right and the Israeli committee is wrong. Those journalists and human rights activists who routinely portray Israel in a negative light continue to support Enderlin’s version of events, dismissing evidence suggesting the event was staged, and attacking those who promote such evidence as conspiracy theorists and liars.

Meanwhile, the Paris Court of Appeals once again postponed its ruling on the defamation case by Charles Enderlin against media analyst Philippe Karsenty, who suggested on his website the Al Dura event was staged.

Karsenty was initially sued by Enderlin and France 2 in a libel suit that lasted two years. France 2 won that suit, the judgment was overturned by the Paris Court of Appeal in May 2008 because the network had refused to release the full footage it claimed to have of the event. Enderlin and France 2 then re-appealed to France’s highest court, which annulled the ruling exonerating Karsenty, on technical grounds, and sent the case back to the Court of Appeal. After a delay of more than a month, the latest court decision was to have been rendered but has been postponed once more until June 26th.

Review of the Latest Developments

The Israeli Government Review Committee was set up by Prime Minister Netanyahu to examine the information that has come to light regarding the Al Dura incident and to formulate an official Israeli government position. The committee, directed by Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon, summarizes the evidence hitherto gathered indicating that France 2’s report was false.

A) Conclusion of the Committee, May 19, 2013

Following an extensive review of materials related to the affair, the committee determines that the France 2 report’s central claims and accusations had no basis in the material which the station had in its possession at the time of the report. Contrary to the report’s claim that the boy was killed, the committee’s review of the raw footage showed that in the final scenes, which were not broadcast by France 2, the boy is seen to be alive.

The review revealed that there is no evidence that Jamal or the boy were wounded in the manner claimed in the report, and that the footage does not depict Jamal as having been badly injured. In contrast, there are numerous indications that the two were not struck by bullets at all. There is no evidence that the IDF was in any way responsible for causing any of the alleged injuries to Jamal and the boy. The review showed that it is highly-doubtful that bullet holes in the vicinity of the two could have had their source in fire from the Israeli position, as implied in the France 2 report.”

B) Evidence Summarized in Israeli Report Suggesting Event was Staged

1) Footage sent to France 2 did not confirm the Palestinian cameraman’s two central claims – that shots fired at Mohammed and Jamal Al Dura came from an Israeli position and that the boy’s death were captured on film.

The final scenes of the video footage do not show Mohammed’s death throes (as Charles Enderlin had indicated) but show him picking up his head and moving his hand to his face.

Although Mohammed was said to have sustained a critical wound to his stomach, he did not clutch his stomach, but lifted his arm in a movement that would have been rendered impossible by such a wound.

2) There is no outflow of blood in the direction of the wall, nor any bloodstains there, as would be expected by the type of bullet wound he was said to have sustained. Media images the following day show no blood on the pavement where the boy had been.

Blood appears at one point on the boy’s leg, but is subsequently absent. The boy’s leg, which was presumably hit by bullets, is not shattered, as would be expected from such high velocity bullets.

3) The movement and position assumed by the boy after allegedly being shot is not natural or compatible with what would be expected had he had fallen over as a result of a bullet wound to the stomach. His position is more compatible with a situation in which he had intentionally repositioned himself.

4) While a doctor at Shifa Hospital reported that Jamal Al Dura, Mohammed’s father, sustained a severe paralysis of the right hand and a tear in the femoral artery and vein as a result of eight bullets entering his body, he is not seen bleeding in the video. Moreover, a femoral tear caused by high velocity bullets would be expected to lead to death within a short time from exsanguination (bleeding to death), but according to witnesses, Jamal was only evacuated to hospital after 45 minutes, yet recovered.

5) Jamal Al Dura’s scars that were claimed to have resulted from the Sept.2000 incident were recognized as the result of earlier injuries sustained by Al Dura in an axe attack by Palestinian thugs, for which he was treated by Israeli orthopedic surgeon Yehuda David.

6) In the course of a libel suit brought by Jamal Al Dura against the doctor for claiming the scars were not the result of the Sept. 2000 incident, records were sent presumably from Jordan’s Royal Hospital where Jamal was treated. These contained numerous contradictions regarding date of admission and descriptions of medical injuries, suggesting those records were fabricated.

7) There were notable discrepancies between records by the Royal Hospital that were displayed on film by Jamal Al Dura and the alleged hospital records brought by Al Dura’s legal team, with omissions that supported Dr. Yehuda’s claim of Jamal’s previous injuries.

8) There were three soldiers stationed at the IDF position on the date of the incident – a sniper, a sharpshooter, and a soldier operating a grenade launcher directed toward Palestinian shooters, not the Al Duras. The launcher could not have been physically moved to redirect the aim toward the the Al Duras. Moreover, snipers and sharshooters fire in single mode at armed gunmen, not in automatic mode, and are highly trained to hit their target in a matter of seconds, rendering the claim that Israeli soldiers fired at the father and boy for 45 minutes dubious.

9) To date, France 2 has refused to provide a full copy of the footage to any official Israeli body for analysis.

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