PM: Al-Dura acquittal a 'victory’ over propaganda

Netanyahu says doctor who challenged evidence in Muhammad al-Dura case - acquitted of libel in French court - an "Israeli hero."

Netanyahu cabinet meeting 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Netanyahu cabinet meeting 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A French court’s decision last Wednesday to acquit Dr. Yehuda David of libeling the father of Muhammad al-Dura, the 12-year-old boy killed in Gaza at the outset of the second intifada in 2000, is an Israeli victory over “Palestinian propoganda’s long tale of lies,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
His comments came at yesterday’s weekly cabinet meeting, just after he met David and thanked him for what he said was his noble fight “on the public diplomacy battlefield in the great battle for the truth.” Netanyahu also called David, a French immigrant, an “Israeli hero.”
The court accepted David’s appeal of an April 2011 ruling that ordered him to pay Jamal al-Dura NIS 30,000 in damages.
Al-Dura’s lawsuit alleged David 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.
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.
The France 2 television station aired footage of al-Dura and his father seeking cover while ostensibly caught in the crossfire between Palestinian gunmen and IDF soldiers. The report claimed that the two had been targeted by the IDF, and the younger al-Dura was hailed as a martyr throughout the Arab world – but the report’s accuracy has been debated for years.
David operated on the elder al-Dura at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, and said in an interview with a French Jewish publication that the hand injury al-Dura claimed to have suffered as a result of IDF fire in September 2000 had actually been sustained in 1992. Al-Dura then filed the lawsuit.
“This mendacious story caused more damage to the State of Israel than any other account in recent years, more than any other libel, and Dr. David set out to puncture this lie with the truth,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu said David’s victory was not only a personal one, but “a victory for justice and for truth,” and a victory against Palestinian propaganda “which is spreading around the world, and according to which Israel is guilty even if it is proven otherwise.”
Netanyahu said he wanted to commend “the personal example of one man, a Zionist and an Israeli patriot, a proud Jew, who took upon himself an extraordinary fight for truth.”
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.