Only much later, after the story had blanketed the globe and become a recruiting tool for suicide bombers in many countries, did questions about the narrative begin to trickle out. The Israel Defense Forces performed a series of re-creations of the scene (after initially acknowledging that its soldiers might have accidentally shot the pair) and concluded that the father and son simply could not have been hit from the Israeli position. No autopsy was performed on the boy's body. No bullets were ever retrieved. But other investigators have noted that the size and shape of the bullet holes on the concrete wall behind the pair were inconsistent with M-16s the Israelis used.
As both Gutmann and Poller document, the camera crews had set up at Netzarim in the morning before a single shot was fired. Why? Poller has viewed all of the footage she could obtain from the other news organizations stationed at Netzarim that day and discovered that, in addition to actual scenes, the cameras also captured a number of vignettes in which "Palestinian stringers sporting prestigious logos on their vests and cameras are seen filming battle scenes staged behind the abandoned factory, well out of range of Israeli gunfire."
When Esther Schapira, a German documentary filmmaker, asked France 2 to permit her to view the entire day's film from Netzarim, not the just the 51 seconds that had so electrified the world, she was rebuffed.
Some have theorized that al-Dura was accidentally killed by Palestinians and then immediately transformed into a martyr to cover up the mistake. Others believe it is possible that he was intentionally sacrificed because his father had been a little too friendly with Israelis. We will probably never know. But one thing is certain -- the story of the deliberate killing of 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura by Israeli soldiers was a damnable lie.
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