After 21 years, the martyred child “Mohamed Al-Durra” is still one of the most important symbols of the second Palestinian intifada; that erupted on September 28, 2000.
Al-Durra was an 11-year-old Palestinian child, when he was executed by Israel on September 30, 2000, with a hail of metal bullets, on a public street in the Gaza Strip.
The scene of the Israeli execution of the child was documented at the time by a French TV channel, through a video tape, the duration of which was less than a minute.
The video showed a Palestinian man and his child sheltering, from a hail of Israeli bullets, behind an iron barrel, “like a drowning man clinging to a straw.”
The signs of “horror” were evident on the face of the child, who was clinging to his father and screaming in fear, that he might succeed in protecting him from the bullets flying around them.
The video also documented the father’s attempts as he pointed towards the soldiers to stop firing at them in a difficult humanitarian scene, but these attempts “failed” as “the soldiers do not know the meaning of humanity,” as his father, “Gamal,” describes them.
This scene shocked the world and also became a “global” icon emphasizing the Palestinian right and the justice of the cause, as it was transmitted through drawings, on public walls, in Arab and foreign countries.
Who is Mohamed Al-Durra?
Mohamed Gamal Al-Durra was born on November 18, 1989 in Al-Bureij camp for Palestinian refugees, in the central Gaza Strip.
He was “strong and brave and had a lot of courage in talking and debating with others and the elderly.”
Mohamed was a lover of the sea and swimming, as he used to spend most of his free time there with his father.
On the morning of September 30, 2000, Mohamed, accompanied by his father, went from Al-Bureij refugee camp, in the middle of the Gaza Strip, to the car market in Gaza City, to choose a new vehicle for all his family members.
On the way back, it was the defining moment, which changed the course of the Al-Durra family’s life.
With the outbreak of the second intifada, the demonstrations against Israel continued in the Gaza Strip on its second day, as young men closed the roads, including the direct return route, as they witnessed confrontations with Israeli army forces at the time.
Al-Durra and his son had to walk from twisting roads, to be safe, and to be able to find a vehicle to take them home.
After they reached a road close to the confrontation area, the father and his son were surprised by the intense shooting at them.
At the time, the father, Gamal, did not find any escape from this barrage of bullets, except to hide behind a barrel next to a wall, which the world watched, through the videotape.
Al-Durra says that Israel must be held accountable for the crime of executing his child, and for all the crimes and massacres it committed against the Palestinian people.
The spark for the outbreak of the second intifada was the storming of the “former” Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Mosque, accompanied by his guards.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 3,712 Palestinians were martyred and tens of thousands were injured from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2004, while the total number of martyrs reached 10,577 from the beginning of 2000 until the end of 2018.