Israeli Denial of Mohammed Al-Dorra Killing in 2000 Delusional; New Attempt to Exempt Forces from Responsibility for Violations of International Law
Israel’s press reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received on Sunday, 19thMay 2013, the official report by the government’s investigation committee, which was formed in September 2012 in order to conduct investigations into the killing of the Palestinian child, Mohammed al-Durra, at the beginning of the second Palestinian intifada in late 2000. The report concludes that at the end of the film that captured the incident and was aired by the French television channel France 2, al-Durra was still alive.
According to investigations conducted by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights 13 years ago at the time of the incident, at approximately 12:00 pm, on Saturday, 30thSeptember 2000, the Israeli occupation forces positioned at the Israeli military checkpoint near Natzarim crossroads, south of Gaza City, opened fire towards Jamal Mohammed al-Durra and his eleven year old son, Mohammed, thereby killing the child and wounding the father. Jamal was treated for his injuries in several hospitals inside and outside of the Gaza Strip.
During the first weeks of the Intifada, which started on 28 September 2000, the Israeli occupation forces at this post, erected near the former Israeli settlement of Natzarim, caused the death of dozens and the injury of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, particularly children who were participating in rallies and peaceful protests near the Israeli checkpoint. Most of the killings targeted unarmed civilians who did not pose a serious threat to the Israeli soldiers at the site.
The scene, of Jamal al-Durra and his young son being targeted and trying to protect themselves from live fire, moved the world, as filmed by the French channel’s correspondent at the site. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns Israel’s policy of denial as an attempt to escape its responsibility for the death of Mohammad. The formation of the investigation committee came 12 years after the incident, heard no witnesses and reviewed no credible resources about the event.
Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation forces continue to mislead public opinion regarding its actions in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), especially in the Gaza Strip; some of these actions amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Al Mezan notes that Israel has thus far refused to cooperate with almost all of the UN investigative missions to the oPt; including a mission that investigated violations of international law in Jenin Camp in 2002, Israeli attacks on Beit Hanoun in Gaza in 2006, the UN Fact-Finding Mission to investigate violations during Operation Cast Lead in 2009, two Committees of Experts by the UN Human Rights Council, and a Fact-Finding Mission to investigate the impact of unlawful settlement activities in the West Bank in 2012/13.
In addition to the policy of non-cooperation with international investigative missions, Israel has amended its laws to prevent Palestinians' access to any form of justice or redress within the Israeli justice system. This development entrenches a serious state of impunity and denial of any remedies for Palestinians affected by Israel’s occupation of the oPt and acts as encouragement to the Israeli occupying forces to violate the rules of international law.
Al Mezan hereby strongly denounces the Israeli authorities’ denial of its responsibility for the killing the child al-Durra and stresses that the failure of the international community to stand by its obligations has further encouraged Israel to continue with its crimes and policies of denial and impunity, with complete disregard to its obligation under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.