French court acquits Israeli in al-Dura libel case

Dr. Yehuda David had been convicted for refuting claims that a former patient of his was injured by IDF gunfire in iconic second Intifada incident.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
February 15, 2012 19:16
1 minute read.
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A French appeals court on Wednesday acquitted Israeli Dr. Yehuda David of libeling the father of Muhammad al- Dura, a symbol of the second intifada, killed in Gaza in 2000.

The court accepted David's appeal of an April 2011 ruling, clearing him of guilt in a lawsuit filed by Jamal al-Dura claiming he had broken doctor-patient confidentiality and slandered him in a magazine interview by claiming his injuries were not sustained in the incident in which his son died, but rather in an earlier incident.

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Muhammad al-Dura, 12, became a symbol of the second intifada when he was shot to death at the Netzarim junction in Gaza on September 30, 2000 – Rosh Hashana.

Television station France 2 showed footage of al-Dura and his father seeking cover while ostensibly caught in the crossfire between Palestinian gunmen and IDF soldiers. The France 2 report controversially reported that the two had been targeted by the IDF. Muhammad al-Dura was hailed as a martyr throughout the Arab world. The accuracy of the France 2 report was widely debated in the following years.

Dr. Yehuda David said in an interview with a French Jewish publication that Jamal al-Dura, on whom he had operated at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer in 1994, had sustained a hand injury in 1992 that he now claimed came as the result of IDF fire in the September 2000 episode.

Al-Dura then filed a lawsuit against David claiming he had broken doctor-patient confidentiality and slandered him in the interview.

In April, David was ordered by the court to pay al-Dura NIS 30,000 in damages. He immediately appealed the verdict.

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke David following his acquittal, telling him he was  "an example in the struggle for truth in the State of Israel and in clinging to the justice of the path of our people."

The prime minister added that on Sunday, the cabinet would support draft legislation according to which the state will pay Dr. David's legal fees. 

Dr. David thanked the Prime Minister and said that, "Today, the justice of the Jewish People has triumphed."

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