“Amateurish, not meticulous, not objective and unprofessional” – this is how the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court described the quality of the research carried out by weapons analyst Yosef Duriel, who investigated the death of Palestinian boy Mohammed al-Dura at the start of the intifada.
Duriel concluded that al-Dura was killed by Palestinian gunmen.
Five and a half years ago, al-Dura was shot in the Netzarim area in Gaza – an event that was captured by French television cameras and became a symbol of the intifada.
After his death, divisions over who was responsible for the death surfaced, with Palestinians waving a finger of blame at Israel, while the IDF claimed al-Dura was killed by Palestinian fire.
Court: Probe not scientific
After the IDF initially took responsibility for the incident, Duriel volunteered to investigate the incident for the army. He was appointed to the role by the southern command chief, but was dismissed shortly afterwards due to the interviews he gave to the press. That did not cause him to stop investigating the incident independently, however, and he claimed that the accusation of Israel for the shooting was staged by the Palestinians in cooperation with the boy's father.
After Duriel went public with his findings, journalist Ron Hauftman published an article in Haaretz saying the weapons analyst’s investigation was unprofessional.
Duriel responded with a libel suit against Hauftman, but it was dismissed last weekend by the Magistrates Court, which also ordered Duriel to cover the NIS 30,000 (USD 6,700) in court expenses.
The judge said in the ruling that Duriel’s investigation into the incident was “amateurish and subjective,” adding that he did not employ scientific methods in the inquiry.
“Duriel’s investigation was unprofessional and based on photos from the incident that were published everywhere,” the judge said.