The French Supreme Court overturned a libel ruling against Dr. Yehuda David who said Muhammad al-Dura's scars were from surgery
French Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned a judgment against Israeli orthopedist Dr. Yehuda David, who was sued for slander by the father of Muhammad al-Dura.
"This is a great victory," David told Arutz Sheva."This is proof that I spoke the truth and the Palestinians lied in an attempt to discredit the State of Israel."
The Muhammad al-Durrah incident, which occurred on 30 September 2000, has become an iconic example of the propaganda war being waged against Israel.
Jamal al-Durrah and his 12-year-old son, Muhammad, were filmed by Talal Abu Rahma, a local Arab 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 footage were initially broadcast on France 2 with a voiceover from Charles Enderlin, France 2's bureau chief in Israel, who did not witness the incident himself but his only information was received by phone from the cameraman.
Enderlin reported 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.
An IDF investigation in October 2000 concluded Israeli soldiers "probably did not shoot 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. They noted France 2 had cut the final few seconds of video 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. French media commentator Philippe Karsenty was sued for libel by France 2 for saying he believed local Arabs had staged the shooting themselves to create a media incident. A ruling against Karsenty was overturned by the Paris Court of Appeal in May 2008. France 2 has appealed that case to the French Supreme Court..
David, a physician at Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, entered the al-Dura fray on 13 December 2007 when he told Israel's Channel 10 that he had treated Jamal in 1994 for knife and axe wounds to his arms and legs sustained during an Arab gang attack.
David said the scars Jamal claimed as bullet wounds from the 2000 incident were actually scars from a tendon repair operation that David performed in 1994, leading Jamal to sue him for libel. His victory in France's Supreme Court on Wednesday is widely seen as a national victory for Israel.
He told Arutz Sheva that he plans to open a Facebook page and set up an association whose sole purpose will be to fight those who find a libel on IDF soldiers in the world.
He plans to ask the Israli government for financial support in these endeavors.