Does anybody remember Muhammad Al-Dura? He was the 12-year-old boy from Gaza who was allegedly killed by IDF fire during the Second Intifada as he crouched behind his father, Jamal, crying. He became the most potent symbol of the Palestinian struggle. His name can still be heard around the world even to this day.
At first, Israel did not deny that its forces had hit Al-Dura, who had been caught in the crossfire between Palestinian and IDF forces at the Netzarim junction on September 30, 2000. The IDF admitted that it had hit and killed the boy.
Following an investigation, however, the official IDF version changed: the IDF did not actually hit the boy. But it was too late: the narrative had already gone viral.
In the meantime, 13 years have passed, during which various and sundry conspiracy theories have been suggested, including claims that the boy Muhammad Al-Dura was never even injured.
A few days ago, MK Nachman Shai (Labor) met with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to give him a copy of his new book, Media War Reaching for Hearts and Minds, which deals with the role of media in current military conflicts, including the Al-Dura affair.
Ya’alon then surprised Shai by saying that an investigation carried out by Israel shows that Al-Dura was never hurt. In other words – he is alive and well.
As I mentioned above, this theory has been circulating on the Internet for a few years already, including in a detailed account on the Israeli Connection TV program I myself prepared.
But this was the first time that an Israeli defense minister was stating this so publicly. Now it’s official. Not only was Muhammad Al-Dura not killed by IDF fire during the incident filmed by France 2 TV channel and watched by people the world over – but he was not even hurt. Today, Al-Dura should be about 25 years old, alive and kicking somewhere (unless he was killed later in a separate incident).
It turns out that Ya’alon had formed a secret special investigative committee for the Al-Dura affair. Without anyone knowing about it, his office had carried out a comprehensive investigation that had lasted several years.
The committee was headed by Brigadier-General (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, who was the former head of the Research and Analysis Division of the IDF Directorate of Israeli Military Intelligence, and is currently Director General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
The committee comprised numerous specialists from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, as well as other academic institutions. The committee also collected information from physicist Nahum Shahaf, who proved, based on the angles and rate of fire, that the scene had been staged. Kuperwasser himself even met with Shahaf a number of times.
I spoke with Kuperwasser this week and he confirmed that the committee’s conclusion was that that Al-Dura had not been hurt at all and that the video clip had indeed been staged. This means that the France 2 TV channel report was erroneous, perhaps even knowingly.
I asked Kuperwasser when the official Israeli findings would to be publicly broadcasted and if anyone knew where the boy was. He replied that the investigation would be ready in the near future, and that most of the work had already been completed.
As to where the boy is – no one knows. Moreover, he’s no longer a boy.
The article originally appeared on Sof Hashavua. Translated from Hebrew by Hannah Hochner.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Muhammad-Al-Dura-The-boy-who-was-not-really-killed-312930