After meeting Jamal Al-Durra, the father of the martyr Muhammad Al-Durra, at “Nida’a Al-Aqsa” conference, organized by the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine, Mandla Mandela, a representative in the South African Parliament and grandson of the great Mandela writes:
On 30 September 2000, 11-year-old Muhammad Al-Durrah was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip. His father Jamal, who tried to shield his son from a hail of bullets, was wounded in the incident. The boy’s killers have never been brought to justice.
Two days earlier, on 28 September, the then leader of the Israeli opposition Ariel Sharon (1928-2014), marched into the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa Mosque with a number of right-wing Israeli officials protected by 2,000 military policemen. Palestinian Muslims inside Al-Aqsa Mosque protested at his provocative visit.
The images of the brutal police response to the demonstration cause outrage among Palestinians everywhere and led to the Second Palestinian Intifada. The uprising lasted until February 2005 and almost 5,000 Palestinians were killed, including just under 1,000 children.
On the day that Muhammad Al-Durrah was killed, a group of angry Palestinians approached the Israeli settlement of Netzarim in the middle of the Gaza Strip which was still occupied at the time. They threw stones at the Israeli occupation soldiers who set up a military checkpoint at its eastern gate.
As the boy and his father sought shelter behind a small concrete structure, Jamal Al-Durrah screamed at the Israeli soldiers to stop shooting at the child. His cries were ignored, and Muhammad was hit several times and died on his father’s lap.
The images of the shooting flashed around the world. Nevertheless, not a single international organisation has ever called for the child’s killers to be put on trial for his murder.
Campaigners for justice for the people of Palestine point out that, 22 years after Muhammad Al-Durrah’s murder, Israel continues to kill Palestinians, including children, with impunity.
What happened to UNICEF and the UN Convention of the rights of the child? We demand justice for Muhammad Al Durrah and for all children killed, maimed and tortured by Apartheid Israel.
President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela said that “the true measure of the soul of a nation is how it treats the most vulnerable.”
Apartheid Israel’s most vile attempt to snuff out the Palestinian resistance is by killing its children.
However, they will never succeed and we will never allow them to succeed. Every Palestinian child is our child and the child of all freedom loving nations of the world.
We must call for the perpetrators of the murder of Muhammad Al Durrah and all Palestinian children killed by the unjust occupation to be brought to book.
We must insist that the International Criminal Court take action in this matter and to send a clear message that those who systematically eliminate Palestinian children in acts of indiscriminate and targeted killings must be brought to justice.
Royal House of Mandela
P.O. Box 126
Eastern Cape Province
South Africa 🇿🇦