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Who Shot Mohammed al-Dura?
May 14, 2003 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Who Shot Mohammed al-Dura? The image of a boy shot dead in his helpless father's arms during an Israeli confrontation with Palestinians has become the Pietà of the Arab world. Now a number of Israeli researchers are presenting persuasive evidence that the fatal shots could not have come from the Israeli soldiers known to have been involved in the confrontation. The evidence will not change Arab minds—but the episode offers an object lesson in the incendiary power of an icon
posted by turbanhead (35 comments total)

 
The author assumes that Mohammed al-Dura is largely unknown in the U.S. - that's patently untrue. We've all had to see the footage of that boy propped up against the wall, his father crouched near him. At this point, it doesn't matter who killed him - both Israel and Palestine have much for which to account. Both sides have committed such atrocities; neither, AFAIC, deserves Jerusalem.

Considering the recent deaths of American and British citizens by Israeli military, this "revelation" is in poor taste. We are so closely allied to Israel, we even let them kill our citizens with impunity.
posted by FormlessOne at 7:49 AM on May 14, 2003


no more object lessons on the incendiary power of icons please - we're going to be years cleaning up the mess dubyuh and co. are making - thanks to the iconic power of the WTC crashing into the streets.
posted by quonsar at 8:08 AM on May 14, 2003


Here's a page from the 'Masada2000' web site mentioned in (and linked from) the Atlantic Monthly article as 'taking up the cause.' With friends like these ...
posted by carter at 8:19 AM on May 14, 2003


nice find carter.
posted by th3ph17 at 8:48 AM on May 14, 2003


I say let's go ballistic on incidents of this caliber (well known in the West, BTW) while glossing over the more trivial ones like Iraq's WMDs, 9-11-related failures and failure to recognize those failures, settlements policy, "he tried to kill mah dad" they did kill Rachel , etc.
posted by magullo at 8:52 AM on May 14, 2003


Rachel Corrie's death was apparently an accident. There have been several reports that the driver of the bulldozer did not see her and would not have been able to hear her over the noise of the dozer--and no, she was not run over. The IDF also says that no, it wasn't crushing a house, but removing brush from smuggler's tunnels used to smuggle weapons, drugs, and people between Egypt and the Palestinian territories. People are free to believe this or not, seeing as how the IDF would want to cover their own ass on this, but I haven't seen any convincing evidence to call their claims into doubt.

ISM, the group Corrie was affiliated with, has ties to the two British Muslim suicide bombers who blew themselves up the other day at Mike's Place, the bar next to the American embassy. The group also has instruction on their website about how to sneak into Israel under false pretences. This is absolutely not meant to excuse Corrie's death, which was unfortunate--but Palestinian supporters have latched onto her as some sort of saint or martyr, ignoring the actions of group she was with and actions she committed herself, like the famous photo of her showing Palestinian children the correct way to burn an American (no, not Israeli) flag.

And totally aside from all the who's right/who's wrong back-and-forth about the Arab-Israeli issue, Palestinians specifically have killed many American citizens, too. Remember the "martyrdom" bombings at Hebrew University that killed five Americans studying there? Not to mention the Palestinian street parties over it later. Or then there's American Leon Klinghoffer, shot and thrown overboard the Achille Lauro by Palestinian terrorists. And then there's the grotesque street parties Palestinians hold when Americans die, they did recently when murdered American POW's were shown on Iraqi TV. And less recently, as in Nablus and Ramallah on 9/11.

We probably look the other way because we're so closely aligned with the Palestinians and they're so well-represented in the Bush White House and have politically powerful lobbying groups and control our media...oh, wait.
posted by Asparagirl at 9:16 AM on May 14, 2003


asparagirl,
you can't possibly post a link to fucking little green footballs in a I/P thread and expect to be taken seriously.

I humbly submit that these are the same people who, after her "unfortunate" death (your choice of words is interesting) cheerfully published stuff like:

"I dance on her grave. She and her ilk are a threat to Israel, the US, and ultimately the entire human race.

thankfully, the tractor was not mock.

We should at least pretend to be upset.

Perhaps after this, Israel will do more to deport these brats, and her bratty friends will be so shook up that they will finally go home

I wonder if Saddam Hussein will send her mother $25,000, as he's done with families of suicide bombers.

Oh well.
Just think, her genes will not be spread to the next gen.

10 pounds says she was a "trustafarian"!

, it's time to bet on which one of the Starbuck haters will be first under a bulldozer.

I bet on the bitch on the left."





posted by matteo at 9:54 AM on May 14, 2003


also, matteo, "Why can't her name be crushed as easily as her body?," "Can they dig her up and kill her again please," "Women who are too ugly to get laid have to do something with their sexual energy." Etc. All these in asparagirl's first link; I didn't bother to check the rest.
posted by carter at 10:08 AM on May 14, 2003


I linked to LGF for the information, links, and photos in the main part of the entries, not the comments attached to them (and frankly, beacause it's far easier to search LGF's archives than 10 different newspapers' to find what I was looking for). LGF gets its fair share of wackos, and I definitely don't agree with all of their pile-on nasty comments. But that doesn't invalidate the main posts, or the newspaper accounts or photos they link to.

"after her "unfortunate" death (your choice of words is interesting)"

That's on purpose. I originally typed "tragic" and then sat for a second thinking about that. I decided to save the word "tragic" for actual tragedies, like the deaths of people killed by terrorists, not for the accidental death of a woman aligned with a group that's associated with terrorists and which physically hinders efforts to root out terrorism. Her death is just that: unfortunate. She shouldn't be dead, it's sad for her family and friends that she's dead, but she is. But I'll save my tears.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:08 AM on May 14, 2003


Thanks for the explanation, Asparagirl. I just would like to say that personally, the quality of the links included as support for a political post or argument directly affects my perception of the quality of that post or argument. Anyway, hopefully this thread will be a discussion of turbanhead's assertion of the "incendiary power of then icon" - rather than a demonstration of it ;)
posted by carter at 10:32 AM on May 14, 2003


Asparagirl, your efforts here are laudable, but what can you expect from a group that's marginally more in touch with the reality of the Middle East situation, then the folks over at indymedia?

"...At this point, it doesn't matter who killed him..."

Sick.
posted by saturn5 at 10:44 AM on May 14, 2003


Andthen there was another icon, the picture of an Israeli soldier, pointing his rifle, close to a battered Palestinian. Alas, the battered Palestinian later wrote a piece to explain that he had just been rescued from the Palestinians trying to hang him and he was an Israeli....simple error. Careful with icons, my grandmother always said.
posted by Postroad at 11:26 AM on May 14, 2003


Thing is, it really doesn't matter who killed him, int he political sense. I mean, suppose they can provide conclusive proof that a stray Palestinian bullet did the damage, so what? It's not as though the Palestinians were just standing around shooting guns and suddenly the Israelis showed up. The point is that the kid is a casualty of war, and who you blame for that depends only on which side you're on, and nothing else. There is no set of facts that impassioned rhetoric cannot overcome.
posted by vraxoin at 12:52 PM on May 14, 2003


"...At this point, it doesn't matter who killed him..."

That sounds like a quote from the Iraqi Information Minister.
posted by swenson at 12:59 PM on May 14, 2003


This obsession right-wingers have with "proving" the Israelis didn't kill this kid is reminiscent of other revisionists

it reminds me frankly of people over analyzing photos of nazi camps and trying to "prove" that the smoke stacks are painted on

but that's LGF for ya...
posted by Babylonian at 1:14 PM on May 14, 2003


Do you put "The Atlantic" in the category of obessive right-wingers, too?
posted by goethean at 1:47 PM on May 14, 2003


Do you put "The Atlantic" in the category of [obsessive] right-wingers, too?

There's nothing wrong with an honest look at the facts, but this phenomenon has been going on for years now.

At a certain point it becomes an obsession, and kind of a sick one.

To answer your question, I'm not ready to condemn the entire magazine because of one article written by one author using questionable sources.

Perhaps the Atlantic author has been talking with some funky people.. Did you check out the Masada2000 link mentioned earlier?
posted by Babylonian at 1:53 PM on May 14, 2003


Sigh ... let me guess - the gunman was actually on the grassy knoll ... and it was a Palestinian actually driving that bulldozer, too.

I know Oswald didn't do it. I just know it.

Yeah, it's so interesting to hear all the bullshit that both Palestinians and Israeli combatants use to justify and recontextualize their atrocities ... they wash and wash and wash and wash and that damned blood just won't come off.
posted by pyramid termite at 2:18 PM on May 14, 2003


I'm a bit hoist by my own petard on this one, because just yesterday I took a poke at a post for having been linked from rense.com.

Now I see that I was being both snide and stupid, because if the best criticism of THIS post is that it links from LGF, well, that is a very weak criticism.

LGF may attract some serious mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, jingoistic idiots, but the article itself seems pretty compelling. There is a difference here between this event and the grassy knoll. It is called credible evidence. Unless you can state that they are flat out lying about the relative positions of the Israeli soldiers and the demonstrators, or that the concrete barrel was indeed completely punctured by Israeli fire, then simple physics shows that the fatal shot could not have come from those soldiers.
posted by John Smallberries at 3:21 PM on May 14, 2003


it's so interesting to hear all the bullshit that both Palestinians and Israeli combatants use to justify and recontextualize their atrocities ... they wash and wash and wash and wash and that damned blood just won't come off

pyramid termite, that should be emblazoned at the start of every single I/P thread here. Probably wouldn't do any good though.
posted by languagehat at 3:27 PM on May 14, 2003


but what can you expect from a group that's marginally more in touch with the reality of the Middle East situation, then the folks over at indymedia

I think "marginally more" is a rollicking overstatement, but I salute your diplomacy.

to justify and recontextualize their atrocities

Except that there is no justification for terrorism.
posted by hama7 at 4:04 PM on May 14, 2003


It is a great tragedy that the boy died, regardless of who fired the bullet that actually killed him. What's an even greater tragedy is that this massive Israeli military presence in the Gaza strip (not around it but inside it) is there to 'protect' around 3,000 people.

3,000 Israelis live in the Gaza strip along with around the same amount of soldiers. 1 Million Palestinians live there. The Israelis control 40% of the coastline and 20% of the land. 20% for 3,000 people out of 1 million, and the deaths of hundreds of innocents, all to protect 3,000 colonizers living in violation of international law. I understand protecting the border, but the Israelis are not interested in protection, they are interested in domination. This boy, Israeli soldiers, and hundreds of others have to die so 3,000 people can live in contested land? It's sick. The West Bank is something of a different story (at least there are historical sites and towns important to the Jews), but what has happened in Gaza is just beyond comprehension.
posted by cell divide at 4:10 PM on May 14, 2003


hama7 - there is certainly no justification for terrorism. There is also no justification for state oppression and murder. They're both wrong.
posted by pyramid termite at 4:36 PM on May 14, 2003


They're both wrong.

If you can't see the unmistakable moral gulf between the two, then pease see my comment above. Part one. Line three.
posted by hama7 at 5:04 PM on May 14, 2003


hama7 - are you trying to tell me that a person killed by the state is less dead than a person killed by terrorists? Are you trying to tell me that if a government provides people with uniforms, that this results in more moral murders than that of a terrorist cell? Or are you trying to tell me that intent is the difference, as so many of the pro-government, anti-terrorist people have, blithely ignoring that an innocent victim cannot tell the intent of those that kill him and that the whole "intent" argument is simply another way of saying that "the end justifies the means"? Which, come to think of it, would be the argument of the terrorists, too, wouldn't it?

Objectively, innocents have been killed by both sides. The killing of innocents is wrong. Therefore, both sides are wrong. It is not too terribly productive to rationalize who is more wrong - what would be productive is to make them stop.

Got it?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:20 PM on May 14, 2003


Therefore, both sides are wrong.

Where have I heard that before?

Here's a question: Which side targets innocents en masse and slaughters as many as possible, intentionally?

There's your difference.
posted by hama7 at 7:02 PM on May 14, 2003


hama7 - which part of "not too terribly productive" didn't you understand? Bye.
posted by pyramid termite at 7:53 PM on May 14, 2003


Here's a question: Which side targets innocents en masse and slaughters as many as possible, intentionally?

That would be the side which believes it has the divine right to be there at the expense of the other side, no?
posted by carter at 7:54 PM on May 14, 2003


The Nebuchadnezzar Division of MeFi is in full cry.

LGF may attract some serious mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, jingoistic idiots [...]

The same may be said of MeFi. MeFi is much broader than LGF, we do talk about things other than politics here, and to that extent MeFi is more interesting, and more worth reading and contributing to.

But the political threads are no better. Jingoism, demonization of the Other, beating dead horses with straw men, high school insults, ignoring any datum which doesn't fit our political paradigm, generalizing far beyond the range of our data, blindness to history and context, special pleading and every other logical and rhetorical fallacy you can imagine, they're all here, in a glorious banquet of folly and bile.

Look into the mirror of LGF. The image there is you.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:00 PM on May 14, 2003


MetaFilter: a glorious banquet of folly and bile.
posted by homunculus at 11:49 PM on May 14, 2003


It is a great tragedy that the boy died, regardless of who fired the bullet that actually killed him.

One thing about all this no one has mentioned so far, and it does come near the end of a long article, is the possibility the boy never was killed. That the whole thing was a set-up for the only TV camera (of many there that day) that filmed the shooting, and then was turned off.

Again, this is not me talking, just what the article says: Shahaf's investigation for the IDF showed that the Israeli soldiers at the outpost did not shoot the boy. But he now believes that everything that happened at Netzarim on September 30 was a ruse. The boy on the film may or may not have been the son of the man who held him. The boy and the man may or may not actually have been shot. If shot, the boy may or may not actually have died. If he died, his killer may or may not have been a member of the Palestinian force, shooting at him directly. The entire goal of the exercise, Shahaf says, was to manufacture a child martyr, in correct anticipation of the damage this would do to Israel in the eyes of the world—especially the Islamic world."

Grassy knoll / Elvis is Still Alive territory? Probably. But, as with the photos from the fall of Baghdad showing the supposed crowds of celebrants, we really have no idea what's going on over there. And as for icons, Winston Churchill said it best: "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
posted by LeLiLo at 12:55 AM on May 15, 2003


if anything, leililo, that paragraph just shows the insanity of the article. It's like those who claim the israelis did 911.
posted by chaz at 2:00 AM on May 15, 2003


pyramid termite: There's no point arguing with hama7; no argument (and no atrocity on the part of the Israeli government) could conceivably make him change his mind or even rethink his position. This does not make him any worse than the equivalent hardheads on the other side, of which (as he'll be the first to tell you) there are more here at MeFi; I'm just trying to save you time and effort.
posted by languagehat at 7:25 AM on May 15, 2003


Look into the mirror of LGF. The image there is you.

you're free to hate yourself, slithy, but don't pull the rest of the community down with you. either you show us a MeFi thread full of comments as ugly, heartless, intolerant, racist and sickening as the LGF shit, or please keep your insults for yourself.

again, find a MeFi thread full of this kind of LGF shit. do it if you can, and provide links:

"I dance on her grave. She and her ilk are a threat to Israel, the US, and ultimately the entire human race.

thankfully, the tractor was not mock.

We should at least pretend to be upset.

Perhaps after this, Israel will do more to deport these brats, and her bratty friends will be so shook up that they will finally go home

I wonder if Saddam Hussein will send her mother $25,000, as he's done with families of suicide bombers.

Oh well.
Just think, her genes will not be spread to the next gen.

10 pounds says she was a "trustafarian"!

, it's time to bet on which one of the Starbuck haters will be first under a bulldozer.

I bet on the bitch on the left."


posted by matteo at 4:13 AM on May 16, 2003


The exercise is left to the student, matteo.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 5:59 AM on May 16, 2003


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