"The Israeli claims of invented myths and mythology are simultaneously ridiculous and irritating," said Jamal al-Dura in response to the official position announced by Israel's Government Press Office
regarding the death of his son, Muhammad, in a clash between IDF soldiers and Palestinian gunmen in 2000.
"All the inquiries proved without a shadow of a doubt that the bullets were Israeli bullets. It has already been said that the Palestinian Authority didn't use that type of ammunition," al-Dura told Ynet.
"And the fire came from the Israeli side. I remember the origin of the gunfire – it was from the Israeli side and only from their side. If it was the Palestinians I would have been hit from the back. But the bullets in my body and that of my son's came from the front, which proves they came from the Israeli outpost."
"'Israel tries time and again to deny its responsibility for the incident because it can't deal with the criticism against it. They also sued the French television station broadcasting the footage and demanded that they stop showing it, but anyone who is interested in investigating the truth can just take the tape and watch it," al-Dura said.
Israel can form an international committee of inquiry into the incident if it wants, al-Dura said. He also slammed the PA for failing to provide him with adequate health care.
"The creation of the myth of Muhammad al-Dura has caused great damage to the State of Israel. This is an explicit blood libel against the state. And just as blood libels in the old days have led to pogroms, this one has also caused damage and dozens of dead," said Government Press Office director Daniel Seaman.
Israel's position and Seaman's comments are based on investigations that showed that the angles of the IDF troops' fire could not have hit the child or his father and that there are key moments missing from the footage.
Several top former Israeli spokesmen have faulted Israel's conduct in the media immediately after al-Dura's death, saying that Israel should not have apologized for the incident without having studied the allegations. The former officials said however that the truth must be investigated, even seven years after the incident.
"The Palestinians and the French network decided we had killed him without hesitation. So the French should finally present the complete footage. We took responsibility at the time because we were a responsible State body that knew its forces were constantly involved in the heated clashes, but that doesn't mean that the many questions left unanswered were resolved," said Ron Kitrey who was the chief spokesman for the IDF at the time of the incident.
Kitrey said bringing the subject back to the public's daily agenda would not reawaken the storm. "The al-Dura story is an Arab Palestinian icon and myth that damaged us greatly at the time but cannot do any more damage now than what has already been inflicted.
Dr. Ra'anan Gissin, communications advisor to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that the al-Dura story "has become a modern-day blood libel. It is a brand with which suicide bombers are recruited all over the world – and so therefore there is great importance in disproving it, even today."
Gissin said that the complete footage must be made available. "The government didn't demand it at the
time due to irrelevant reasons. No one wanted to fight with the media because once you question one network, all the others go to war over 'freedom of the press.' The bottom line must be that out of 26 minutes of footage – the world has only ever seen 59 seconds."
Roi Mandel contributed to this report