Capping another round of denials by Israeli officials, the government has formally demanded that France 2 retract a September 2000 media report accusing Israeli soldiers of killing Mohammad al-Durrah, a 12-year-old boy, insisting that the report fueled “anti-Semitism.”
The “al-Durrah incident” involves a France 2 video of Durrah’s death, apparently in the crossfire of fighting during the beginning of the Second Intifada. The Israeli military conceded to the incident at the time, and the Israeli government apologized, though they later issued a retraction for that apology.
The retraction, and today’s demands, center on a growing conspiracy theory which has gained traction in Israeli circles, starting with it being unclear if they were Israeli bullets that killed the boy, and later doubting that he’d been killed at all.
That’s where we’re at now. Israeli officials insist that not only did the video of Durrah’s killing not happen as it seemed, but that Durrah “might be alive” somewhere. Not that they have any idea where he would be, nor can they prove that he survived.
Durrah’s father insists his son is where he’s been since 2000, in a grave. France 2 also stands by their story, and has offered to assist in an actual, independent investigation carried out according to international standards. The prospect of exhuming the body has been raised, but with Israeli officials comfortable with the narrative that the whole thing never happened, digging around for actual evidence seems to be a low priority for them.
The story that the intifada, that all the anti-Israel speeches since 2000 that mentioned Durrah’s killing are all based on a lie is an attractive one for Israeli officials. The fact that there is a body already buried 13 years ago, and the supposedly alive Durrah is nowhere to be found don’t appear to have been enough to stop presenting the conspiracy theory as absolute truth.