JERUSALEM, Israel -- A government committee presented its findings Monday on the controversial death of Mohammed al-Dura, an Arab youth allegedly killed by Israeli troops in September 2000 at the start of the second intifada.
More than a dozen years after a French television station aired a video clip showing the boy and his father caught in the crossfire that allegedly killed him and wounded his father, the committee concluded neither was injured during the filming.
Despite the evidence implicating the TV station, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a committee in 2012 to re-examine the newscast, videotape and all the ramifications.
Caught on Film
In September 2007, the unedited raw footage subpoenaed by French judges showed the "dead" boy with no visible injuries, waving his hand.
Further evidence from a forensic report confirmed that neither he nor his father was injured during the filming and beyond that, there was no ballistic evidence of IDF gunfire.
In December 2007, Dr. Yehuda David of Tel Aviv's Tel Hashomer Medical Center told Israel's Channel 10 the scars the boy's father claimed were from IDF bullets were actually surgical scars to repair wounds sustained in a 1994 attack by Hamas operatives who suspected him of collaborating with Israel.
The boy's father, Jamal al-Dura, sued David for libel and won, but the French Supreme Court overturned the conviction.
"Now we know that Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government acknowledge the truth -- that Jamal al-Dura is a liar and that all the information supplied by France 2 during the event on September 30, 2000, is a hoax," David told Arutz Sheva.
Netanyahu called it an example of the de-legitimization Israel faces constantly, saying, "There is only one way to fight lies and that is with the truth."
Battling for Truth
Meanwhile in France, Philippe Karsenty, founder of Media Ratings -- an agency that monitors French media -- was among the first to accuse France 2 television crews of staging the production, aired on September 30, 2000.
In 2004, the television station sued Karsenty for libel and won, but an appeals court overturned the ruling in 2008. In February 2012, the court of annulment ruled that Karsenty had to produce his own evidence, sending the case back to the appeals court to be heard by a new panel of judges.
Karsenty, 47, a French Jew whose parents emigrated from North Africa, calls the al-Dura affair "the creation and spread of the 21st century's first blood libel."
The purpose of the "deadly hoax," he says on his website, was "to paint Israel as a barbaric nation of child killers" because the world at large would rather believe "the very worst about Israeli Jews…even if it means embracing a now-debunked blood libel."