Model Role Details

Mohammad Aldurrah

Mohammad Aldurrah

Sector : Public Figures , Public Figures

Personal Info

  • Country of residence : Palestine
  • Gender : Male
  • Born in : 1988
  • Age : 28
  • Curriculum vitae :

Information

The Muhammad al-Durrah incident took place in the Gaza Strip on September 30, 2000, on the second day of the Second Intifada, amid widespread rioting throughout the Palestinian territories. Jamal al-Durrah and his 12-year-old son, Muhammad, were filmed by Talal Abu Rahma, a Palestinian cameraman freelancing for France 2, as they sought cover behind a concrete cylinder after being caught in crossfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian security forces. The footage, which lasts just over a minute, shows the pair holding onto each other, the boy crying and the father waving, then a burst of gunfire and dust, after which the boy is seen slumped across his father's legs.

Fifty-nine seconds of the scene were broadcast in France with a voiceover from Charles Enderlin, France 2's bureau chief in Israel, who did not witness the incident, telling viewers that the al-Durrahs had been the "target of fire from the Israeli positions," and that the boy had died. After an emotional public funeral, Muhammad was hailed throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds as a martyr. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) accepted responsibility at first, a position they formally withdrew in September 2007.

In the following months and years, several commentators questioned the accuracy of France 2's report. An IDF investigation in October 2000 concluded the IDF had probably not shot the al-Durrahs. Three senior French journalists who saw the raw footage in 2004 said it was not clear from the footage alone that the boy had died, and that France 2 cut a final few seconds in which he appeared to lift his hand from his face. France 2's news editor said in 2005 that no one could say for sure who fired the shots, but other commentators, including the director of the Israeli government press office, went further, saying the scene had been staged by Palestinian protesters. Philippe Karsenty, a French media commentator, was sued for libel by France 2 for suggesting this; a ruling against him was overturned by the Paris Court of Appeal in May 2008, a decision France 2 has appealed.

The footage of the father and son acquired what one writer called the power of a battle flag. For the Palestinians, it confirmed their view of the apparently limitless nature of Israel's brutality toward them, while for sections of the Israeli and Jewish communities the allegations were a modern blood libel, the ancient antisemitic association of Jews with child sacrifice. The scene was evoked in other deaths. It was blamed for the October 2000 lynching of two Israeli army reservists in Ramallah, and was seen in the background when Daniel Pearl, a Jewish-American journalist, was beheaded by al-Qaeda in 2002. James Fallows writes that no version of the truth about the footage will ever emerge that all sides consider believable. Charles Enderlin has called it a cultural prism, its viewers seeing what they want to see. Muhammad (born 1988) was in fifth grade, but his school was closed that day because of the protests. His mother said he had been watching the rioting on television and asked if he could join in. Father and son decided instead to go to a car auction, according to an interview Jamal gave Abu Rahma in hospital the day after the shooting.



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