LONDON - A French court on Friday ruled against Israeli orthopedic surgeon David Yehuda, who was sued for slander by Jamal al-Dura, the father of Mohammed al-Dura, the slain 12-year-old Palestinian boy who became a powerful symbol of the second intifada.
Al-Dura had sued Yehuda for libel after the doctor, who operated on him in 1994, exposed details from his medical file in order to back claims that the elder al-Dura's scars were the result of surgery - and not caused by the IDF fire that he claims killed his son in September, 2000.
In an interview with a French Jewish publication in 2008, Yehuda claimed that the father's wounds were the result of an attack by Hamas men and the subsequent surgery he underwent six years before the second intifada. On September 30, 2000 Jamal sustained serious wounds trying to shield his son, who was killed in cross fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants at the Netzarim junction in Gaza. Footage of the disturbing images of the father and son, crouching in front of a wall under fire, was shown around the world.
The Palestinians accused the IDF of killing Mohammed al-Dura and wounding his father, but subsequent investigative reports cast doubt on that conclusion, claiming instead that the child had been shot by Palestinians and accusing a French TV station and crew of staging the incident.
Yehuda, who, together with the reporter and editor of the Jewish News Weekly, was ordered to pay a fine of several thousand Euros in compensation, said he would appeal the sentence. "In the past two years I've been fighting the State of Israel's just war. This is a terrible scam," he told the media. "I feel hurt and a personal sense of insult. Again they are trampling and twisting the truth. I can already see the negative results and a new wave of hatred out of Europe.
"I expected integrity from France and from the judges, but this is disgusting. Another wave of terror attacks may result from this decision," he added.
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein notified Yehuda Friday that the state of Israel would continue to fund Yehuda's defense and appeal. Meanwhile, MK Ahmed Tibi urged the Israeli Medical Association and the Ministry of Health to prosecute Yehuda, noting that misusing and distorting confidential medical files is a criminal offense.
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