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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Muhammed Al-Dura's father still blames Israel

Last night, I reported that the Government Press Office, which is part of the Prime Minister's Office, has officially called the 'murder' of Muhammed al-Dura a 'myth' and claimed that the entire scene was staged. This morning, YNet carries the father Jamal's response:
"The Israeli claims of invented myths and mythology are simultaneously ridiculous and irritating," said Jamal al-Dura in response to the official position announced by Israel's Government Press Office regarding the death of his son, Muhammad, in a clash between IDF soldiers and Palestinian gunmen in 2000.

"All the inquiries proved without a shadow of a doubt that the bullets were Israeli bullets. It has already been said that the Palestinian Authority didn't use that type of ammunition," al-Dura told Ynet.

"And the fire came from the Israeli side. I remember the origin of the gunfire – it was from the Israeli side and only from their side. If it was the Palestinians I would have been hit from the back. But the bullets in my body and that of my son's came from the front, which proves they came from the Israeli outpost."

"'Israel tries time and again to deny its responsibility for the incident because it can't deal with the criticism against it. They also sued the French television station broadcasting the footage and demanded that they stop showing it, but anyone who is interested in investigating the truth can just take the tape and watch it," al-Dura said.

Israel can form an international committee of inquiry into the incident if it wants, al-Dura said. He also slammed the PA for failing to provide him with adequate health care.
For those who did not see it, I am going to re-post the video of the independent investigation that was undertaken by Richard Landes, and then I want to look at Jamal al-Dura's highlighted statements above and ask a few lawyerly questions. For those of you who have already seen the video (I've seen it four or five times myself), please feel free to skip it.

So here are my questions:

1. Jamal states that 'all inquiries' show that the bullets were Israeli bullets and that the 'Palestinians' did not even use that kind of ammunition. But, as noted in the video above, no autopsy was ever performed on Muhammed's body (in fact, no one saw the body after that day near Netzarim) and no bullets were ever recovered. To what inquiries does Jamal refer? What bullets were found? Where are they?

2. Jamal claims that all fire was from the Israeli side, that if it had come from the 'Palestinian' side he and Muhammed would have been hit in the back, and instead they were hit straight on from the front. But as shown in the re-creation in the video, it was the 'Palestinian' position that was directly opposite the al-Dura's; the Israeli position was at an angle to them off to the right of the 'Palestinian' position. And from neither position would fire have resulted in them being hit in the back (except for possible ricochet wounds from the Israeli position which would have been less severe than what was claimed). In any event, if, as Jamal claims, they were hit head on, the fire is much more likely to have come from the 'Palestinian' position. On what basis does Jamal attribute that fire to the Israeli position?

3. Israel has never sued the French television station (in fact, as noted previously, Israel's silence about this entire case until it got to the appellate stage has been nothing short of grossly negligent), and no one can just take the film and watch it because only 59 seconds of some 27 minutes of film have ever been released. Is Jamal agreeable to all of the raw footage being released?

I wonder if Jamal has answers. I wonder where the 19-year old Muhammed is hiding out today.


At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is also not apparent is that if the bullets had come from the front they would have had to pass through the barrel.

As the majority of the bullets used by the IDF are 5.56mm I doubt they would have had the penetration power.

Having used these weapons in the past I can tell you the bullets are designed to "spin" once they hit the target to cause maximum damage.

Now if they hit a barrel I doubt they would be capable of going through to the other side and subsequently hitting two bodies...

A 7.62mm bullet "might", a .30 or .50 definately would, but then the boy would be on the other side of the street in bits and pieces if that was the case. In any case these are not the typical weapons carried by IDF soldiers.

BTW the points raised in your blog are questions that should have been posed by the ynet reporter. So much for journalism standards.

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

Russel Harris, makes an excellent point. (OK I've made it too.) Given the position of the Israeli troops and the location of the al-Dura's behind the barrel, it is virtually impossible that an Israeli bullet hit either.

BTW, Landes finally criticizes Jamal al-Dura. And of course, James Fallows' article remains essential reading.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I meant to point out at the end of the post that the YNet reporter should have asked the questions.

As you are well aware, we get lots of opinion mixed into news reports here, but unfortunately we get relatively little critical thinking about what's being reported.


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