Muhammad al-Dura

(1988-2000) A twelve-year-old Palestinian boy who was caught with his father in the crossfire during an exchange of fire between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants at Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip on September 30, 2000, at the beginning of the Second Intifada. Footage of Muhammad’s father trying to shield his son during the gun battle, followed by footage of Muhammad, who appeared to have been killed, was filmed by a Palestinian cameraman and first aired by a French television station. The footage was soon publicized extensively, with the image of the frightened child huddled against his father becoming an iconic image of the Second Intifada. Within Palestinian society, Muhammad al-Dura was deemed a shaheed (martyr) and became an international symbol for all Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces. Israel initially took responsibility for the killing, but later retracted and said Muhammad had been killed by Palestinian fire. In 2013, Israel announced the findings of a special internal Ministry of Defense investigative committee that the boy had not actually been killed, and that the scene had been staged. Journalist Doha Shams visited the al-Dura family in Gaza 2012, and interviewed multiple family members who spoke about their martyred son/brother and their experiences the day Muhammad was killed. Controversy over the footage and the incident continues. See "Media analyst convicted over France-2 Palestinian boy footage," The Guardian, June 26, 2013; and "Muhammad Al-Dura: The boy who wasn't really killed,", Ben Caspit, The Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2013; and "Seeking Justice for Muhammad al-Durrah," Doha Shams, Al-Akhbar, May 2, 2012.

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