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Statement under oath by a photographer of France 2 Television

The killing of the child Mohammed al-Durrah by Israeli Occupying Forces was intentional and happened in cold blood

The live film by the photographer of the French TV France 2, Talal Abu Rahma, which showed the shooting of the child Mohammed Jamal al-Durrah, 12 years old from Al-Boreij, and his father by Israeli occupation forces, which resulted in his death and the severe injury of his father, is one of the starkest examples of the grave and blatant human rights violations of Israel against Palestinian civilians. The child and his father were sheltered behind a concrete block about 70cm high set against a wall. Despite the fact that the child and his father were crying for help, Israeli soldiers continued to shoot at them and ultimately killed the child.

This incident constitutes another crime added to the list of violations of international humanitarian law committed by Israeli occupation forces. The dramatic scene was broadcast around the world and watched by millions of people. The Israeli government had therefore no choice but to investigate the incident. As expected, the outcome of the investigation recalls past investigations of crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces; the victim bears responsibility even if it was indirect. The Israeli government does not establish that Israeli Forces were responsible for the killing, and therefore did not undertake any legal action against the perpetrator (s) of the crime.

The following is a statement under oath by Mr. Talal Abu Rahma, a photographer of the French TV France 2, to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on October 3, 2000, giving details of what he had seen:

 

“I, the undersigned, Talal Hassan Abu Rahma, resident of the Gaza Strip and who bears ID no. 959852849, give my statement under oath and after having been given legal warning and choice by Lawyer Raji Sourani, on the killing of Mohammed Jamal al-Durrah and the injuring of his father Jamal al-Durrah both shot at by the Israeli Occupying Forces.

“I work as a correspondent for the French TV France 2. On September 30, 2000, as part of my duties, I was at Netzarim area from 7:00a.m reporting on the clashes. At noon, when I was about to finish work and go back to the broadcasting studio, I heard intensive shooting from all directions. At that moment, I was at the northern part of the road leading to Al-Shohada’ Junction (Netzarim Junction). I was in a position which enabled me to see and observe the Israeli military outpost at the northwest of the junction, and the two Palestinian apartment buildings located to the north of the junction. I could also see the outpost of the Palestinian National Security Forces, located south of the junction, and another Palestinian outpost 30m away, which was a temporary booth where members of Palestinian forces were resting.

“Suddenly, intensive shooting started across the road which is of 30m width. Shams Oudeh, Reuters photographer caught my attention, as he was sitting besides a man and a child (Jamal and his son Mohammed). They were all sheltering behind a concrete block. What the journalist was observing attracted my attention. I was trying to focus on the outpost of the Palestinian National Security Forces, from where shooting was directed, and at which the Israeli army was shooting, during the first minutes. Suddenly, I heard a cry of a child. Then, I focused my camera on the child Mohammed Jamal al-Durrah who was shot in his right leg. His father tried to calm, protect and cover his son with his hands and body. Sometimes, the father Jamal was raising his hands asking for help. Other details of the incident are as they were apparently shown at the film. I spent approximately 27 minutes photographing the incident which took place for 45 minutes. After the father and the child were evacuated by an ambulance to the hospital, I stayed 30-40 minutes. I could not leave the area, because all of those who were in the area, including me, were being shot at and endangered.

“Shooting started first from different sources, Israeli and Palestinian. It lasted for not more than 5 minutes. Then, it was quite clear for me that shooting was towards the child Mohammed and his father from the opposite direction to them. Intensive and intermittent shooting was directed at the two and the two outposts of the Palestinian National Security Forces. The Palestinian outposts were not a source of shooting, as shooting from inside these outposts had stopped after the first five minutes, and the child and his father were not injured then. Injuring and killing took place during the following 45 minutes.

“I can assert that shooting at the child Mohammed and his father Jamal came from the above - mentioned Israeli military outpost, as it was the only place from which shooting at the child and his father was possible. So, by logic and nature, my long experience in covering hot incidents and violent clashes, and my ability to distinguish sounds of shooting, I can confirm that the child was intentionally and in cold blood shot dead and his father injured by the Israeli army.

“On the following day of the incident, I went to Shifa Hospital in Gaza, and interviewed the father of child Mohammed Al-Durreh. The interview was videotaped and broadcast. In the interview, I asked him about his reason and circumstances of being at the place of the incident. I was the first journalist to interview him on this subject. Mr. Jamal al-Durrah said that he was going accompanied by his son Mohammed to the car market, which is about 2km away to the north of Al-Shohada’ Junction, to buy a car. He told me that he failed to buy a car, so decided to go home. He and his son took a taxi. When they got close to the junction, they could not move forward because of the clashes and shooting there. So, they got out of the taxi and tried to walk towards Al-Bureij. As shooting intensified, they sheltered behind a concrete block. Then the incident occurred. Shooting lasted for 45 minutes.

“I am a professional and specialized journalist. I have worked in this field for many years. I am committed to the principles of journalistic work, and to convey reality indiscriminately, objectively and neutrally. This is why I am a distinguished journalist. I have my own press office, and I work as a correspondent for the French TV France 2. I work also for CNN through Al-Wataneya Press Office.

“I have hereby given my testimony under oath and after being legally warned and granted the choice. I swear that all the above – mentioned statement is right and consistent with reality and law.”

Signature:

Talal Hassan Abu Rahma

Gaza, October 3, 2000

This statement was given before me and in my presence, after giving legal warning and choice, and under oath.

Lawyer

Raji Sourani

Gaza, October 3, 2000