Mohammed al-Dura, the 12-year-old Palestinian youth whose shooting death made him the poster boy of the “intifada,” is now – courtesy of Palestinian television — speaking to an ever-angrier generation of Arab youths from beyond the grave, beckoning to them from paradise to become terrorists and suicide bombers – in a word, martyrs.
According to Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch, “examination of the TV clips aired extensively on PA [Palestinian Authority] television” reveals “incessant broadcasting” of programming that “extols and glorifies the dead and especially their willingness to be killed, and portrays their afterlife as idyllic.”
One particular film, he says, “openly and explicitly tells the children to seek death by portraying the most famous child ‘Martyr,’ Muhammad al-Dura, calling to other children to join him, in his idyllic afterlife.”
On Sept. 30, 2000, al-Dura died during a gunfight between Israelis and Palestinians at the remote Netzarim Junction in Gaza.
Crouching in terror behind his father, Jamal, who struggled in vain to protect his son from the gunfire, Mohammed was shot. He died there, cradled in his father’s arms, after both father and son frantically pleaded for help. Since that day, Mohammed al-Dura has become the most celebrated symbol of the current intifada.
The dramatic footage of his death was broadcast worldwide. Palestinian television created an edited version wherein pictures of an Israeli soldier shooting were spliced into the original footage. Heart-wrenching photographs of the father and son were posted alongside roads throughout the West Bank. The dramatic photo was even on its way to being voted “Photo of the Year” until the contest’s sponsor, MSNBC, aborted the competition due to hackers voting “hundreds, if not thousands of times” for the photo of al-Dura, said MSNBC executives.
As al-Dura’s mother freely admitted on Palestinian TV the next day, her son had gone to the remote locale in order to throw rocks at Israeli soldiers.
Although the Israeli military immediately took responsibility for the boy’s death, a subsequent re-enactment and investigation conducted by the Israeli military led to the opposite conclusion – that the boy most likely had been killed by Palestinian fire, some even believe intentionally, so as to create a martyr. (Editor’s note: WorldNetDaily published an in-depth report, Who killed Mohammed al-Dura? on the investigation into the death of al-Dura and the cultural background of child martyrdom so prevalent in the Palestinian areas today.)
Indeed, many Palestinian children are taught almost from birth to hate Jews and to
glorify “jihad” (holy war) — even to embrace and pursue their own death and
“martyrdom” while attacking Jews — as an essential part of their culture. As WND has reported, Sheik Ikrima Sabri, the mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, has openly expressed his admiration for child “martyrs.”
“I feel the martyr is lucky because the angels usher him to his wedding in heaven,” the mufti, the city’s highest Muslim religious authority, told the Egyptian weekly, Al-Ahram Al-Arabi. He was referring to the common teaching that martyrdom gains a young warrior instant acceptance into heaven, where he is given a harem of virgins.
Since the tragic shooting, says Marcus, “the child’s death and funeral have been broadcast thousands of times on PA TV, usually tens of times a day.” And while songs have been written in his honor — a recent article, notes Marcus, wrote of such a collection of 395 poems covering 1700 pages – one particular video clip frequently broadcasted shows the boy in paradise.
“Al-Dura’s afterlife is portrayed idyllically and opens with him supposedly calling to other children to join him, with the following writing over the full screen,” says Marcus.
“I’m not waving ‘goodbye,’ I’m waving ‘come, follow me.’
[signed] Muhammad al-Dura”
“This call to children to seek death, coming from the child who has turned into a Palestinian symbol, and broadcast repeatedly to their children by Palestinian Authority television, is one of the most open examples of exploitation of children witnessed on PA TV,” charges Marcus, whose Palestinian Media Watch is one of the better-known pro-Israel organizations monitoring Palestinian television and radio programming.
Here’s how he describes the video:
“The clip opens with a scene of Muhammad al-Dura’s death, played by actors. The child playing Mohammad al-Dura is shown, after his death, in a sprawling green field. Throughout the clip, which blends many bloody scenes of confrontation with the Israeli army, the boy is always shown peaceful and happy, frolicking in varied beloved places: flying a kite in the green pasture, running on the beach and running through the plaza of the Al-Aqza mosque. His environs include beautiful water fountains spraying columns of water high in the air. In one scene, the boy is approaching, from a distance, a giant, illuminated ferris wheel.”
The children, says Marcus, are being told that “death in conflict with Israel will bring them into a child’s paradise. Mohammad al-Dura is already in this paradise, tranquil and playing, waving on to the children in the PA: ‘Come, follow me here.'”
Accompanying the visual portrayal is a reinforcing soundtrack, depicting the slain boy speaking to his father thus:
“’Til we meet, my father! ’til we meet! I go with no fear, with no tears, how sweet is the fragrance of the Martyrs! I shall go to my place in heaven, how sweet is the fragrance of the Martyrs!”
A choir of children responds: “’Til we meet, O Mohammed!”
The credit at the close of the clip reads: “Produced by: The Ministry of Information & Culture — The Palestinian National Fund.”
Palestinian officials have consistently and adamantly denied encouraging children to “martyr” themselves in attacks against Israelis. However, as WND has previously reported, one popular Palestinian “Sesame Street”-type children’s show called “The Children’s Club” openly taught toddlers and school-age children to become terrorists and suicide bombers. The “Children’s Club” video can be viewed online, with English subtitles, from a link within the WND report.