Who Shot Mohammed Al-Dura?

The image of Mohammed al-Dura — the Palestinian boy crouched under his father’s protective arms, victimized by hostile gunfire in September 2000 — has become a central icon of the latest Intifada and the most recognizable global symbol of “Israeli cruelty.”

Al-Dura’s dramatic death filled televisions, magazines, newspapers and computer screens worldwide, and though the media were initially hesitant to declare IDF responsibility for the incident, eventually that understanding was promoted almost universally. Journalist and commentator Tom Gross notes that the al-Dura scene was captured only by France 2 television, who, “so impressed with their film, took the unusual step of making video copies of their footage, editing out bits they didn’t like, and distributing the film for free to rival commercial networks.”

The backlash was so great that the IDF conducted an uncharacteristically hasty inquiry and just three days later announced that indeed “it could very well be” that the bullets that struck al-Dura originated from an IDF soldier.

It now seems likely that the media indictment and IDF semi-confession were mistaken; some evidence even exists that the entire Mohammed al-Dura death scene was staged for anti-Israeli effect.

An important article by James Fallows, published in this month’s The Atlantic, investigates the incident in-depth and concludes that “it now appears that the boy cannot have died in the way reported by most of the world’s media and fervently believed throughout the Islamic world.”

To view the article, click here.

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We have objected to the New York Times daily "death count" graphic before. We believe that reducing the conflict to ...