Not only was 12-year-old Gazan Muhammad al-Dura not killed by IDF fire in 2000 – he was not even hurt.
That was the preliminary finding of a special commit- tee formed several years ago by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and headed by Brig.- Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, the former head of the Research and Analysis Division of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, and the current director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry.
Dura 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 as a symbol of the Palestinian struggle.
At first, Israel did not deny that its forces had hit 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 army 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 suggest- ed, including claims that the boy was never even injured.
A few days ago, MK Nachman Shai met with 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 cur- rent military conflicts, including the Dura affair. Ya’alon then surprised Shai by saying that an investigation carried out by Israel shows that Dura was never hurt.
This theory has been circulating on the Internet for a few years already, but this was the first time that an Israeli defense minister was stating so publicly.
Today, Dura should be about 25-years-old, alive and kicking somewhere (unless he was killed later in a separate incident).
Kuperwasser confirmed the committee’s conclusion that that Dura had not been hurt at all and that the video clip, which was filmed by France 2 TV and aired around the world, had indeed been staged. This means that the France 2 TV channel report was erroneous, perhaps even knowingly.
Kuperwasser added that the full results of the investigation would be ready in the near future, and that most of the work had already been completed.
The committee was comprised of 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 used angles and rate of fire to prove that the scene had been staged. Kuperwasser met with Shahaf a number of times.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.