An Israeli investigative committee appointed by PM Netanyahu has claimed that Mohammad Al Durra wasn’t killed by the Israel Defense Forces in 2000.

The Israeli government has issued a report based on an investigative committee claiming that the Palestinian child Mohammad Al Durra, was not in fact killed by the Israel Defense Forces and may still be alive today. Al Durra’s apparent death in 2000 ignited worldwide hostility towards Israel and his image became a symbol of the Second Intifada. “As opposed to the media reports that stated that the child was killed, an examination of the raw video shot by the France 2 staff shows the child alive,” the committee said. That portion of the video was never shown on television. “In addition, there is a great deal of evidence to indicate that al-Dura and his father were never hit by any bullets. The investigation shows that it is very unlikely that the bullet holes seen in the wall behind the two came from shots fired by IDF soldiers.”

The investigative committee was ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon in September 2012, and was headed by Yossi Kuperwasser, former director general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. It included representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit and the Israel Police, as well as outside experts. The Israeli committee concluded, “The probe has found that there is no evidence to support the claims that the father, Jamal, or the boy Mohammed, were shot. Furthermore, the video does not show Jamal being seriously wounded.”

Why the Mohammad Al Durra Case is Still Relevant

Even though it has been thirteen years since the Mohammad Al Durra incident, the events which occurred in 2000 are still relevant today. In 2000, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak went to Camp David in order to conclude a peace agreement that would have led to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Barak offered then PA President Yasser Arafat a more generous deal than any other Israeli prime minister prior to him, which would have included most of Judea and Samaria, Gaza, and great parts of East Jerusalem. The Palestinians would have even had a road connecting Judea and Samaria to the Gaza Strip.

Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat turned down this generous offer in order to declare the Second Intifada and start a campaign of suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians. Over a thousand Israelis were murdered between 2000 and 2005 during the Second Intifada. American officials such as President Bill Clinton and U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross blamed squarely Yasser Arafat for the failure of the peace negotiations, yet much of the western media portrayed the Palestinians, not the Israelis, as the victims. The Mohammad Al Durra case, which portrayed Israeli soldiers as callously shooting at a young Palestinian boy and his father who were seeking shelter from the violence, best symbolized this distorted phenomenon.

Israeli Leadership Responds to Committee’s Findings

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, “the purpose of the committee was to examine the al-Dura affair in light of the continued damage it has caused to Israel, and to formulate the government of Israel’s position with regards to it,” specifying that the incident had been used by anti-Israel activists to “justify terror, anti-Semitism and delegitimization of Israel.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “It is important to focus on this incident – which has slandered Israel’s reputation.” International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz has referred to the Al Durra affair as “a modern day blood libel against the State of Israel.”

By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United With Israel