By Eli Cohen
Jamal al-Durrah was the only one to survive the Muhammad al-Durrah incident that took place in the Gaza Strip thirteen years ago. During the second intifada, which was a Palestinian uprising that took place from 2000-2005, was known to be period of intensified Palestinian–Israeli violence. The uprising was infamously known to have caused dozens of suicide bombing attacks in large cities in Israel such as Jerusalem which led to the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians. Besides the reactions and plans explained in the media by Israel, what was happening in the Gaza Strip during the attack was unknown during the first few years of the uprising.
A Palestinian cameraman named Talal Abu Rahma, was one of the few who was in the Gaza Strip filming for news corporation France 2. On September 30th, 2000, Rhama took cover behind concrete when the area he was filming in was being attacked by supposedly IDF (Israeli-Defense-Force) soldiers. Rhama took his camera and filmed across from him to film Jamal al-Durrah and his son Muhammad hiding behind small cover. the minute long footage shows Jamal shielding his frightened son from the gunfire. The footage then goes on to show the boy crying and the father waving, then a burst of gunfire is heard again and dust fills the air, after which the boy is seen slumped across his father’s legs. The boy died at the scene; he was only 12.
For years, this video has been very controversial, because Rhama claims that the shots were from Israelis and their were no signs of them stopping. Thirteen years later, the controversy is a heated one. Jamal claims that he’s ready to exhume his son’s body and show the world that his son was killed by Israeli bullets. “I would like to show the world the truth, and I am sitting in front of my son’s grave and ready to accept an international independent investigation commission including Arabs,” he said. “If Israel agrees, I am ready to open the grave.”
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, said ” It is important to focus on this incident, which has slandered Israel’s reputation. This is a manifestation of the ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimize Israel.” American delegates working in the Middle East see this as a fault on Israel’s part. They even gave Rhama a job at CNN, and hope to see if he can help shed light on this story. Muhammad al-Durrah’s story has become an important symbol in the Palestinian struggle for statehood. Israel says that the false narrative of al-Durrah’s death has been used to justify terrorist attacks against Israel and worldwide anti-Semitism. One thing’s for sure, a young boy lost his life, and he is just a small reminder that so many more have died since, which could be prevented if peace was given a chance, and I, personally, think we’re on our way.