Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
on Sunday called the Israeli physician who was acquitted
by a French court of libel against Mohammed al-Dura's father "an Israeli hero."
Dr. David Yehuda, who was sued by the father of the Palestinian boy whose shooting death became a powerful symbol of the second intifada,
was a guest of honor at the cabinet's weekly meeting.
"I entered this (legal) battle to prevent slander lawsuits against IDF
soldiers and the State of Israel," Yehuda told the ministers.
The Israeli physician was sued after he claimed that scars Al-Dura's father showed the media were the result of an attack by Hamas operatives who suspected him of collaborating with Israel.
Mohammed al-Dura and his father during shooting incident (Photo: AFP)
The father, Jamal, claimed he incurred the scars during the incident in which his son was killed. The two were caught in a fire exchange in the Netzarim Junction. The Palestinians accused Israel for Muhammad's death, while Israeli officials claimed he was hit by Palestinian fire.
Al-Dura decided to sue David, and last year a Paris court ruled against the doctor due to the fact that he had released information from al-Dura's medical records. He was ordered to compensate al-Dura with €13,000, but decided to appeal the ruling at the French Supreme Court, which overturned the decision.
"This case involved many lies," Dr. Yehuda said, "We've seen this in the Nazi propaganda campaign, and the Palestinians are employing the same system."
Netanyahu said Dr. Yehuda was an example of a "proud Jew who fought relentlessly for the truth – and won.
"The fabricated tale of Mohammed al-Dura caused greater damage (to Israel) than any other libel in recent years. Dr. Yehuda fought a difficult legal battle for five years. His victory is a victory over the series of allegations made by the Palestinian propaganda, according to which Israel is always guilty until proven otherwise," the PM said.
The State is expected to cover Dr. Yehuda's legal expenses.