November/December 2000
An Israeli tank advances near Beit Jala

Who killed Mohammed al-Dura?

12-year-old Palestinian boy likely 'martyred' by his own people, say Israeli investigators

by David Kupelian
"When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons."
-- Golda Meir, Israel's prime minister from 1969 to 1974

Twelve-year-old Mohammed al-Dura and his father Jamal were on their way home in Gaza when, at the remote Netzarim junction, they were caught up in a firefight between Palestinian snipers and the Israel Defense Force.

Crouching in terror behind his father, who struggled in vain to protect his son from the gunfire, Mohammed was shot. He died there, cradled in his father's arms, after both father and son frantically pleaded for help. Since that day, Mohammed al-Dura has become the poster child, rallying cry and virtual symbol of the 2000 Al Aqsa intifada.

Palestinian rage is frequently expressed toward the United States, as well as Israel, in the current intifada.

The dramatic footage of al-Dura's Sept. 30 death has been broadcast the world over. Palestinian television has created an edited version wherein pictures of an Israeli soldier shooting have been spliced into the original footage. Heart-wrenching photographs of the father and son have been posted alongside roads throughout the West Bank. And Egyptian authorities are reportedly naming the street on which the Israeli embassy is located after Mohammed al-Dura.

The Israeli military was quick to apologize for the deaths -- some say too quick.

The theory, backed by considerable evidence, has now emerged that the unthinkable actually occurred -- that a Palestinian shot the boy in cold blood to create a needed martyr -- on film -- to advance the Palestinian nationalist cause.

'The martyr is lucky'
Most Palestinians believe the establishment of the state of Israel was a terrible mistake, an injustice involving the forcible relocation of many of their forebears. Indeed, Israel's very existence has never been accepted by many in the Arab world.

As a result of this perceived injustice, many Palestinians teach their children, from the very earliest ages, unbridled hatred toward Israelis.
Palestinian families routinely encourage their children to engage in the "jihad" against Israel.

But to free the children to act on that hatred, a second teaching is deeply inculcated throughout their childhood. The Palestinians teach explicitly, as do many Arab nations, that to die in the "jihad" -- holy war -- against Israel purchases the "martyr" instant acceptance into heaven. And it is a very red-blooded and lusty male heaven they are promised, characterized first and foremost by endless sex with a multitude of virgins.

Recently, the mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, Sheik Ikrima Sabri -- the highest religious authority in the region -- was interviewed by the Egyptian weekly, Al-Ahram Al-Arabi about his admiration for child "martyrs." Dozens of Palestinian youths reportedly have died since late September in violent clashes with Israelis after the meltdown of the doomed Clinton-brokered "peace process."

"I feel the martyr is lucky because the angels usher him to his wedding in heaven," said the mufti, appointed by Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. "There is no doubt that a child [martyr] suggests that the new generation will carry on the mission with determination. The younger the martyr, the greater and the more I respect him."

Many Palestinian toddlers are raised on war and martyrdom.

Lavishing praise specifically on the sacrifice of Palestinian children to the cause, Sabri reflected: "One [child martyr] wrote his name on a note before he died. He wrote: 'the martyr so and so.' In every martyr's pocket we find a note with his name on it. He sentences himself to martyrdom even before he becomes a martyr."

The interviewer then asked an incredible question: "Is this why the mothers cry with joy when they hear about their sons' death?"

"They willingly sacrifice their offspring for the sake of freedom," answered the mufti. "It is a great display of the power of belief. The mother is participating in the great reward of the Jihad to liberate Al-Aqsa."

In an apparent reference to the widely held belief that martyrs who die killing an infidel will be given 50 virgins in heaven, Sabri added: "I talked to a young man ... [who] said: '... I want to marry the black-eyed [beautiful] women of heaven.' The next day he became a martyr. I am sure his mother was filled with joy about his heavenly marriage. Such a son must have such a mother."

The Jerusalem Post's Oct. 27 edition revealed the shocking aftermath of the violent deaths of some Palestinian children.

"Interviewed by journalists after [recent] tragedies, some of the parents of these young victims refer to their children as shahids (martyrs), whose lives were given willingly and proudly to the Palestinian cause in fighting the hated Zionist enemy," wrote Post writer Gerald M. Steinberg.

"In an unbelievably shocking scene, one mother boasted that she bore her son precisely for this purpose, and the father proudly claimed credit for providing the training. The parents will also receive a sizeable financial 'reward' from the Palestinian Authority," he added.

The preparation for martyrdom begins early.

In a Palestinian television program called the "Children's Club," young children are shown singing songs about wanting to become "suicide warriors" and to take up "a machine gun" to direct "violence, anger, anger, anger" against Israelis.

During the show, which features children aged 4-10, one young boy sings, "When I wander into Jerusalem ... I will become a suicide bomber." Afterward, other children stand to call for "Jihad! Holy war to the end against the Zionist enemy." In another segment, a boy who appears to be no more than 8 or 9 years old chants: "My patience has run out. ... All Arab existence cries for revenge" against the Jews in Israel.

Media biased against Israel?

  • The Associated Press photo published in the New York Times and other newspapers in late September said it all: A club-wielding, screaming Israeli soldier stood above a blood-drenched Palestinian on the Temple Mount. Further proof of Israeli brutality against the Palestinians.

    Jewish student Tuvia Grossman and Israeli soldier protecting him from mob of Palestinians.

    Except the "Palestinian" in the photo was not Palestinian at all, but a 20-year-old Jewish student from Chicago, named Tuvia Grossman, who was studying at a yeshiva in Jerusalem. He had just been savagely beaten by a mob of Palestinians, and was, as the photo was taken, being protected by an Israeli policeman against his Palestinian assailants.

    The New York Times, long criticized as biased against Israel, has plenty of company.

  • On Oct. 1, shortly after the outbreak of Palestinian rioting, National Public Radio's Jennifer Ludden reported:

    "Today is a repeat of the last three days ... You've got this Goliath of an Israeli army with guns. In some places yesterday they used armored tanks. There were battle helicopters buzzing overhead. At one point in the Gaza strip yesterday, Israeli soldiers fired an anti-tank missile. All this directed at young kids with stones."

    But according to the pro-Israel group CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), this is just another example of extreme and long-standing anti-Israel bias on NPR's part.

    "None of the Israeli weaponry cited has been 'directed at young kids with stones,'" according to CAMERA. "At that point, the tanks had not fired one shot at anyone, but were positioned as a deterrent. The helicopters had been brought in to help rescue an Israeli shot by Palestinians who was trapped and bleeding to death in defense of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. The anti-tank missile was used against Palestinian snipers firing at Israelis from high-rise buildings at the Netzarim junction in Gaza."

  • In the aftermath of the Dura shooting, the international media glibly reported that "a French photographer" or "a French television crew" had filmed the tragedy. In reality, although the news organization was French, the photojournalist who actually filmed the shooting was a Palestinian named Talal Abu Rahma, who lives in Gaza.

    Rabbi Avi Shafran weighed in on anti-Israel media bias in the Oct. 13 edition of the Providence Journal-Bulletin. "When baseless biases are openly voiced, they are seen for what they are: ugly, evil, human faults," he wrote. "When subtly layered, though, into journalistic products' choices of photographs, captions, turns of phrase, stories' spins, they often slip by unnoticed, and proceed to infect and deform countless hearts and minds."

    While National Public Radio correspondents routinely portray Israeli soldiers as jack-booted thugs, some in the international news media are even more openly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than the major American press:

  • Riccardo Cristiano, Mideast representative for the official state-owned Italian television station, RAI, placed an ad in the Oct. 16 edition of the main Palestinian Authority newspaper, Al Hayat al Jedida, promising he would never think of giving any bad publicity to the Palestinians or their cause.

    Mob of Palestinians beating and kicking an Israeli soldier after dragging him out of a Palestinian police station in Ramallah.

    "My dear friends in Palestine," the ad began. "We congratulate you and think that it is our duty to put you in the picture (of the events) of what happened on October 12 in Ramallah."

    He was referring to the brutal beating and murder by a Palestinian mob of two non-combatant drivers in the Israel Defense Force, at a Palestinian Authority police station in Ramallah.

    Apologizing for a rival, private Italian television station's filming of the brutal lynchings, he assured readers that it was not the official Italian news media that did so.

    Irena Nourezitz, wife of Vadim Nourezitz, one of the two Israeli soldiers lynched at Ramallah, called her husband on his cell phone during the ordeal. A Palestinian attacker shouted into the phone, "We have just killed your husband."

    "Israeli television broadcast the pictures," Cristiano bemoaned, "as taken from one of the Italian stations, and thus the public impression was created as if we (RAI) took these pictures. We emphasize to all of you that the events did not happen this way," the ad continued, "because we always respect (will continue to respect) the journalistic procedures with the Palestinian Authority for (journalistic) work in Palestine. ..."

    Cristiano added, "We thank you for your trust, and you can be sure that this is not our way of acting. We do not (will not) do such at thing. Please accept our dear blessings."

    'Only one possible solution'
    Palestinian leaders, realizing the profound influence world opinion will likely have on the ultimate outcome of the Middle East crisis -- particularly on the effort to "internationalize" Jerusalem and install U.N. "peacekeeping forces" in the region -- are very public relations-conscious. In fact, they are notorious for playing to the overly sympathetic and often one-sided international media's camera.

    Photographers zoom in on demonstrator waving Palestinian flag in an apparently staged photo shoot.

    USA Today ran a story showing how the Palestinian news media have invented "atrocity" stories by reporting supposed Israeli soldier attacks on different Palestinian towns, which upon verification have turned out to be complete fabrications. There have also been reported instances of Palestinian ambulances sent out to pick up fake wounded -- for the sake of eager Western cameras.

    Although there are moderate Palestinian voices, the leadership holds to a long-held, ambitious and somewhat secret (to the West, at least) ultimate objective -- to take over all of Israel. Indeed, the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be understood unless it is recognized that the complete "liberation" of Palestine (which to the Palestinians includes all of Israel) is, and always has been, the endgame of the Arab leadership toward Israel.

    Based on an enmity many trace back to Abraham, most Arab leaders -- as distinct from courageous souls like the late Anwar el-Sadat as well as many moderate Arabs both in the Middle East and throughout the world who have risen beyond this cultural and spiritual hatred -- still cling to the "jihad," the struggle to "reclaim Palestine," as a holy mission. Current Mideast leaders like Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat continually fan the ancient fires of hatred toward Israel that first burst into flame against the modern Jewish state one day after its establishment in 1948:

    "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades."
    -- Arab League Secretary General Azzam Pasha, May 15, 1948, the day five Arab armies invaded the new state of Israel, one day after the nation declared its independence

    "The Arab nations should sacrifice up to 10 million of their 50 million people, if necessary, to wipe out Israel ... Israel to the Arab world is like a cancer to the human body, and the only way of remedy is to uproot it, just like a cancer."
    -- Saud ibn Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia, Associated Press, Jan. 9, 1954

    "I announce from here, on behalf of the United Arab Republic people, that this time we will exterminate Israel."
    -- President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, speech in Alexandria, July 26, 1959

    "We shall never call for nor accept peace. We shall only accept war. We have resolved to drench this land with your [Israel's] blood, to oust you as aggressor, to throw you into the sea."
    -- Hafez Assad, then-Syrian Defense Minister, May 24, 1966, who later became Syria's president

    "The battle with Israel must be such that, after it, Israel will cease to exist."
    -- Libyan President Mohammar Qadaffi, al-Usbu al-Arrabi (Beirut) quoted by Algiers Radio, Nov. 12, 1973

    "There has been no change whatsoever in the fundamental strategy of the PLO, which is based on the total liberation of Palestine and the destruction of the occupying country ... On no accounts will the Palestinians accept part of Palestine and call it the Palestinian state, while forfeiting the remaining areas which are called the State of Israel."
    --Rafiq Najshah, PLO representative in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabian News Agency, June 9, 1980

    "The struggle with the Zionist enemy is not a struggle about Israel's borders, but about Israel's existence. We will never agree to anything less than the return of all our land and the establishment of the independent state."
    --Bassam Abu Sharif, a top Arafat aide and PLO spokesman, quoted by the Kuwait News Agency, May 31, 1986

    "The establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip does not contradict our ultimate strategic aim, which is the establishment of a democratic state in the entire territory of Palestine, but rather is a step in that direction."
    --Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad) interview with Al-Safir, Lebanon, Jan. 25, 1988

    "We will enter Jerusalem victoriously and raise our flag on its walls ... We will fight you [the Israelis] with stones, rifles, and 'El-Abed' [the Iraqi missile]..."
    --Yasser Arafat, reported by the Associated Press, March 29, 1990, at the start of the Gulf War

    "The hands of the U.S. are fully stained with the blood of the Palestinians. There is only one possible solution to unrest in the Middle East, namely, the annihilation and destruction of the Zionist state."
    -- Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a "prayer sermon" at Tehran University addressing hundreds of thousands of Iranians, Dec. 31, 1999

    Israel re-enacts shooting
    Let's put all the pieces together:

  • Political and religious leaders that teach the highest calling for a person -- including a young person -- is to die in pursuit of the violent, dangerous but glorious mission of "liberating" Palestine -- which involves killing many Jews and ultimately occupying all of Israel. Indeed, failure to participate in jihad, many children are taught, will bring upon them the wrath of Allah.

  • A condition of extreme, murderous rage on the part of some -- although certainly not all -- Palestinians, inculcated, encouraged and justified from an early age.

  • A Western press ignorant of both history and religion, which regards the tiny Jewish nation's 50-year struggle for continued existence, as National Public Radio put it, as "this Goliath of an Israeli army" firing guns and anti-tank missiles "at young kids with stones."

  • A proven willingness on the part of intifada provocateurs to play to the camera, to routinely send children out to the frontlines of battle for the sympathy and public relations points inevitably scored. All of this is rooted in the belief -- reinforced with promises of both terrestrial and eternal rewards, as well as threats of punishment -- that a violent death is the doorway to a better life.

    Question: Is the possibility that Mohammed al-Dura was killed by a zealous Palestinian prepared to send the boy to a glorious life in heaven in return for advancing the glorious Palestinian cause on earth really so unthinkable? There are many who don't think so.

    On Oct. 23, Yosef Doriel, an Israeli engineer, spearheaded an Israel Defense Force investigation and re-enactment of the Mohammed al-Dura shooting, which attempts to make the case that the 12-year-old boy could not have been shot by IDF soldiers -- but instead fell victim to a cruel plot perpetrated by Palestinian sharp-shooters and a Palestinian television cameraman.

    At one of the IDF's southern firing ranges, participants piled up blocks to simulate the wall where the boy and his father were pinned. A concrete barrel was brought in, to represent the one behind which the father and son crouched.

    "Soldiers sent to the firing range by the IDF Southern Commander, Major General Yom Tov Samia, stood on top of a dirt embankment and fired shots at the wall and barrel, using a variety of different weapons," reported the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz.

    Doriel, a former IDF sniper, had several reasons to suspect that it was not the Israelis who shot the boy:

    "For one thing, the boy and his father were hiding behind and to the left of a barrel that was between them and the Israeli forces," he told IsraelNationalNews.com.

    "In the video clip, you see four clean bullet holes to the side of them. These were not shot by the Israelis -- they are 'clean' and full holes, not mere grazes that would have been formed by the 30-degree angle of the Israelis -- but rather by Palestinians (stationed more directly in front of the father and son) to make sure that the two would stay put.

    "Suddenly, you see the boy lying down in his father's lap, with another bullet hole in the wall directly behind him -- again, it could not have come from the IDF position, which was behind the barrel and to the side, but only from the Palestinian position, which was more directly in front of the father and son. This is the bullet that went through his stomach and out of his back."

    At that point in the video, says Doriel, "you can hear the firing -- but the Israeli position was far away! Rather, what happened was that a Palestinian advanced to a spot very close to the photographer, and shot the fatal shot. You can also notice that at that moment of the fatal shots, the photographer suddenly 'shook' and the picture was blurred -- a signal that the shots came from close to him."

    A film crew from CBS' "60 Minutes" was there to capture the re-enactment, and broadcast its report on Nov. 12. The report, titled "The Crossroad," concerned the larger issue of the controversial Jewish settlements in the Gaza strip -- populated by more than one million Palestinians -- and the Israeli army outpost located at the Netzarim junction to protect those settlements. Anchored by Bob Simon, "60 Minutes" characterized the IDF's shooting re-enactment and findings as inconclusive.

    And yet, Samia, Doriel and many others who have looked at the evidence have little doubt as to who was responsible for the death of Mohammed al-Dura.

    "The Palestinian forces staged the event," Doriel states emphatically. "The Israelis were firing, for sure -- but the fatal shots came not from them, but from the Palestinian position in front of the boy, behind the cameraman."

    Doriel, who fought in Israel's War of Independence in 1948-1949, engaged in combat missions along the northern front, and was among the first group of Israeli Air Force pilot-cadets participating in air battles. He told WorldNetDaily that he personally sent the results of his investigation to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

    WorldNetDaily obtained a copy of Doriel's report on the shooting at the Netzarim junction. Noting that the footage of the shooting has "unleashed anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish propaganda in the well-known pattern of TSW -- TV-Supported-Warfare" -- Doriel makes the following points:


    • "Confirmed by all sides: Israeli soldiers were confined to one outpost across the junction, at a distance of 110m from the victim and an angle of 30 degrees from the brick wall at the point where the boy and his father took shelter behind a concrete barrel. At this time, Palestinian outposts were dispersed all over the area -- in front and behind the victim.

    • "Confirmed by official representative of the Palestinian Authority on channel 2 of Israeli TV -- Oct. 31, 2000: The boy was killed by one bullet which entered his body from the front and left the body from his back (therefore no bullet was found in the boy's body).

    • "The cameraman returned to the scene of the event the day after, and confirmed: the barrel behind which the boy took shelter was of concrete (not of sheet metal), therefore no rifle bullet could penetrate it from side to side ("Ha'aretz" newspaper, Nov. 7, 2000).

    • "The film taken by the Palestinian cameraman revealed on the wall the only hole of the bullet which penetrated the boy's body.


    • "The hole revealed on the brick wall behind the boy's body, after he fell on the pavement, is the only evidence of a bullet which penetrated his body, as declared by the PA representative.

    • "The location of the killing bullet-hole is well inside the space protected from Israeli outpost sniper by the concrete barrel.

    • "The killing bullet-hole could be caused only by a sniper facing the boy from the front (behind the bushes at the back of the cameraman), and the noise recorded by the cameraman before the boy was seen dead was of a very near-by weapon, with a sound quite different from the shooting heard before, from distanced outposts.

    • "The armed outposts facing the boy from the front were manned only by Palestinians. Therefore, only they could have killed the boy. The same holds true for the bullets which wounded the boy's father: He was so deeply hidden in the corner between the wall and barrel -- that only bullets shot from the front could hit him, and in no way could they be bullets from the Israeli outpost which was at an angle of 30 degrees from the wall. It was impossible even from an angle of 43 degrees."

      Wall at shooting scene showing bullet holes.

    Then, on Nov. 27, Gen. Samia finally made the results of the IDF's official inquiry -- as distinct from Doriel's own analysis -- public:

    "A comprehensive investigation conducted in the last weeks casts serious doubt that the boy was hit by Israeli fire," he said. "It is quite plausible that the boy was hit by Palestinian bullets in the course of the exchange of fire that took place in the area."

    Only one soldier in the corner of the Netzarim junction Israeli outpost -- called Magen 3 -- was in a position to possibly hit Dura and his father, who were crouching about 120 yards away, said Samia.

    Although that soldier had been firing a sniper's rifle, which shoots only single rounds, Dura and his father were struck by automatic gunfire, Samia said, based on analysis of the videotape. Noting that Palestinians fired on Magen 3 from seven positions, including behind Dura and his father, Samia noted that the Palestinian shooters easily could have hit the boy and his father.

    "This Israeli investigation is an attempt to hide the facts," countered Marwan Kanafani, a top aide to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, according to the Boston Globe. "The facts are that Israeli troops shot Dura and his father."

    The Palestinian cameraman who videotaped the shooting, Talal Abu Rahma, said he heard bullets whistling over his head. The ones that hit Dura and his father clearly came from the Israeli position, he said.

    "All of the Palestinian policemen ran like rabbits after three or four minutes of Israeli shooting. No one could raise his head," he said "The closest Palestinian policemen were 200 meters away. They couldn't have shot him."

    'Guests in paradise'
    Despite the understandable protests of Palestinians after the investigation's results were made public last week, it appears more than likely that Mohammed al-Dura was shot by one of his own. Samia leaves open the possibility that Palestinian gunmen shot Dura and his father accidentally, from a position that put father and son between that of the Palestinian gunmen and the IDF stronghold across the junction. But Doriel doesn't think it was an accident. In addition to the forensic and ballistic evidence, Doriel points to a culture that has demonstrated not only the willingness, but the determination to send its young children to the front lines of its "holy war."

    "This behavior of Moslem militants is completely compatible with their old tradition of sacrificing their own people for a political purpose defined by their leader as the will of Allah," said Dorial. "This makes them automatically holy martyrs -- 'shahids' -- gaining respect from all their society towards the martyr and his family." He points out that would-be suicide bombers caught recently by Israeli police "confessed that they were promised and believed that after their martyr's death, they would become a 'shahid' who is entitled to be an honorable guest in paradise."

    Doriel doesn't stop there. "Also compatible with Moslem militants' beliefs is that telling outright lies is legitimate -- if they are used against an enemy. Such is the lie they produced and spread worldwide -- to accuse Israeli soldiers as heartless killers of innocent children."

    And noting that the Palestinian Authority offers $2,000 to every family whose child is killed in the new intifada, Doriel presses his case to the hilt: "This is part of their child-recruitment practice, which is revealed again and again, when their officials order the closing of schools and send pupils of all ages to confront Israeli positions."

    Child-recruitment is an international crime, he adds, and "Israel has to sue those responsible for it in the proper judicial organs, including the issue of arrest orders against them, wherever they can be caught."

    The preceding report has been excerpted from the December cover story of the monthly WorldNet magazine, WorldNetDaily's sister publication. The complete, in-depth version of "Who killed Mohammed al-Dura?" -- along with many other feature articles -- is available by subscribing to WorldNet at WND's online store.


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