Reactions to the Al-Durah Affair in the Muslim World
Highlighting the Impact of the Al-Durah Incident
• Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a moderate Arab leader who was attempting to facilitate Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, expressed publically his outrage at the Al-Durah incident, stating: ‘A child who died in the lap of his father, this really makes one loses his senses….this makes rocks have feelings.’
• One of the main streets running through the center of Baghdad, Iraq, was officially renamed ‘The Martyr Mohammed Al-Durah Street’. Egypt under Mubarak also renamed the street in front of the Israeli embassy to honor Al-Durah. A park in Morocco was named ‘Al-Durah Park’.
• The day after the Mohammed Al-Durah incident, Radio Islam- a virulently anti-Semitic Islamist website- published an article arguing that the death of Al-Durah demonstrates that ‘to the Jews, peace = Palestinian death!’
• Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, saw a five-hour demonstration nearly two months after the incident, where thousands of demonstrators were filmed shouting ‘No peace, no normalization of ties (with Israel)…the blood of Mohammed Al-Durah will not be in vain!’ The demonstrators utilized the ‘martyrdom’ of Al-Durah as a rallying cry to denounce an upcoming Arab League summit aimed at discussing the upsurge in violence throughout Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
• The Arab League meeting subsequently dedicated October 1st as ‘the day of Arab children’, in honor of Mohammed Al-Durah.
• A report by the Associated Press in October 2000 which covered a rise in violent anti-Israel protests across the Arab and Muslim world, claimed that ‘Mohammed al-Dura, the 12-year-old whose killing in the Gaza Strip was captured on camera, has become a symbol of the conflict for Arabs around the world’.
• In October 2000, Jamal Al-Durah, Mohammed Al-Durah’s father, expressed hope that ‘I hope the world won’t forget Mohammed and will avenge his killing by Israel’.
• In October, two Israeli Defense Force reservists who accidentally travelled to the Palestinian city of Ramallah were lynched and killed by a mob screaming ‘revenge for the blood of Mohammad Al-Durah’.
• Demonstrators fused anger at the Al-Durah incident with anti-American sentiment: whilst chanting ‘death to America’, 6000 Iranian demonstrators marched through Tehran in November, 2000 distributing leaflets graphically depicting the Al-Durah incident.
• Less than two months after the incident, Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish published the ‘Poem for Mohammed Al-Durrah’.
• Sheikh Mohammed, the crown Prince of Dubai, composed a poem in honor of Mohammed Al-Durah.
• By the end of December 2000, over 150 schools in Iran were named after Mohammed Al-Durah.
• Barely one month after the Al-Durah incident, Hezbollah, a violent Lebanese-based terrorist organization, kidnapped three Israeli soldiers, justifying the operation as revenge for the ‘martyrdom’ of Al-Durah. All three soldiers were killed.
• In September, 2001, an Israeli-Arab recruited by Hamas committed a suicide bombing at a train station in Israel, killing three innocent commuters. The bomber cited the Al-Durah incident as the primary motivation for this act.
• Following the September 11th attacks, Osama Bin Laden released a video justifying the attacks on New York as retaliation for the Al-Durah killing, employing the boy’s image twelve times in the propaganda piece.
• In February 2002, Jewish-American journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded on video by Jihadists in Pakistan, who utilized a picture of Mohammed Al-Dura in the backdrop of the video.