By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died. Ezekiel 13:19
www.algemeiner.com - - May 28, 2014 Joshua Levitt
Screenshot of the location of the alleged "Nakba Day" shooting, in Beitunia, with yellow circles around two of the security cameras that recorded the day's events. Photo: B'Tselem / Facebook.
Hours upon hours of security camera footage of the supposed "Nakba Day" deaths of two Palestinian Arabs, in Bitunia, raised further doubts over the allegations that the two teenagers were actually shot by the Israeli Defense Forces, which is still investigating the case, though it has denied that its soldiers used any live ammunition that day.
Rather than support the case made to international media based on an edited 2-minute clip, the hours of recorded footage show a loosely organized team of cameramen and photographers being coordinated into position to record the falling teenagers, who keel over dead in the wrong direction, and without a drop of blood ever falling onto their clothes or onto the ground below. What is even more odd, according to one blogger who reviewed all of the footage, the two teens fall in the exact same spot.
On Facebook, activist group B'Tselem said it has so far uploaded half of the 11 hours of security camera footage to YouTube, and blamed "technical reasons" for why "only small parts of the footage showing the shooting incident in Bitunia were published in the media and on our website."
Pro-Israel bloggers on Tuesday and Wednesday combed through the footage to try to gain a fuller picture of what happened, but they said that the only conclusion supported by the evidence was that the incident was staged, leaving the question open to who actually killed the two teenagers.
Elihu Stone, a U.S.-trained lawyer and member of the Israeli Bar, examined the videos carefully, he said, and his findings were posted on Yisrael Medad's blog. Stone is also involved in the Al Durah Project, created to refute a media conspiracy based on a similar incident, when edited video footage in 2000 was used to condemn the IDF for the death of Mohammed al-Durah. While an edited clip from France 2 presented a rock-solid case that it was the IDF who shot the boy, more extensive footage from the day showed him lifting his head after he was supposedly long dead. Al-Durah"s death was then used, along with former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visiting the Temple Mount, as the triggers of the Second Intifada, leading to the deaths of thousands of Israelis from suicide bombings, which Israel then stemmed by constructing an extensive security barrier as a protective measure.
On Wednesday, Stone posted a running commentary. What he describes, in the three minutes leading up to the first victim falling, were three men anxiously waiting for something to happen and a leader wearing a mask, who receives a camera and passes it onto a colleague, who then prepares it for use.
The victim, who was said to have been shot in the chest with standard M-16 5.56 mm rounds, pitches forward, which Stone said would have been the opposite of a natural reaction from such a powerful strike from that direction.
Then Stone writes, "Here's the kicker: Everyone on the set reacts to the "shot" except for the fellow tinkering with the camera - now directly opposite the "victim." The fellow with the camera stays stock still - then jogs a nonchalant two steps over the victim snaps a string of stills as the others rush to "evacuate" the "victim" - then he moves down the street, taking off the camera and putting in his knapsack." He adds, "Context is a beautiful thing. . . "
As for the second shooting, 73 minutes later, Stone wrote: "The second "shooting" is also clearly staged - this is especially obvious once we have seen how the first was performed - and we know what to look for. The first thing to note is that an hour after the first "shooting" the second "victim" falls at exactly the same spot, with lots of cameramen in position and waiting (as helpfully captured in the fuller B'tselem video). The set-up for the second seems even more elaborate than the first."
Yisrael Medad, a former aide to Knesset Members and an Israel government minister, wrote on his blog Wednesday, "In concert, this is clear evidence of a Pallywood production. Showing the edited videos, then the fuller ones (showing the set-up) in succession - with appropriate narration would make this case with crystal clarity."
Blogger Elder of Ziyon reviewed the footage and noted the absence of any blood from the victims.
"The medical reports for both youths claimed that the bullets ripped through their bodies and exited out the other side," EoZ wrote on Wednesday. "We have seen no blood on any of the still photos anywhere near the entrance or exit wounds. But the video shows that the ground where they were supposedly shot through has no bloodstains at all. Truly amazing."
The blogger also noted that Israel's Walla News reported that there were two medical reports issued for victim Nadim Nawarah.
"In the first, there was no exit wound at all, but after his father went on TV claiming to have seen a bullet hole in Nadim's backpack and a (clearly un-fired) bullet within, then the medical report was changed to suddenly find an exit wound," the blogger wrote.
Last week, an Israeli ballistics expert cast doubt over the bullet shown to CNN's reporter by the teen's father, Siam Nouwaran, who insisted it was retrieved from his son's backpack. The ballistics expert said the bullet showed none of the physical characteristics that would have supported the narrative that it entered human bone and then books in the teenagers backpack.
The IDF's statement that only rubber bullets were used was also corroborated in the footage based on the adapters fitted to the ends of all the IDF rifles caught on the various security films.
Despite the questions now surrounding what happened that day, the first edited video, released by the Palestinian branch of Defense for Children International and now seen 570,000 times on YouTube, caused an international uproar.
Global media rushed to condemn the IDF, while the U.S. and the UN urged Israel to formally investigate, but the many inconsistencies in the video cast a wide shadow on the veracity of its claims and the intentions of those who originally edited the clip and distributed it internationally.
The IDF suspended a soldier for firing his weapon in an unauthorized way during the Nakba Day clash. That's according to Israeli media reports such as Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, YNet, and the Times of Israel.
The reports make clear that this soldier did not fire the shots that killed Palestinian teenagers Nadim Nuwara and Mohammed Salameh. As a member of a non-combat communications unit, the soldier in question wasn't authorized to use his gun at all unless he was fired upon or in a life-threatening situation, yet he fired several rubber bullets at a wall hoping to scare away Palestinian rock throwers.
Now imagine what a careless or confused reporter might do with this information. Then see how closely Reuters matches your mind's eye:
The problem's more than a headline sorely lacking nuance. The lead paragraph's even worse.
"Israel has suspended a soldier in the fatal shootings of two Palestinian teenagers at a protest held on May 15 in the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reported on Wednesday."
Most people see headlines in social media feeds and web sites without clicking on the articles. The minority of people who click on the stories tend to skim the first two or three paragraphs. Only a minority of readers who stuck with the story into the seventh paragraph will learn that - surprise! - the suspension and deaths aren't connected.
No apparent evidence linked the soldier to either fatality, though, in the incident outside Israel's Ofer prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah. The soldier was suspected of firing rubber bullets, not live ammunition, the reports said.
The New York Times has made the same error in its own report that begins:
The Israeli military suspended a soldier who was captured on video this month firing his rifle at protesters in the occupied West Bank. Video evidence showed that the soldier fired his weapon within seconds of a Palestinian boy's collapsing to the ground with what proved to be a fatal gunshot wound.
The bullet supposedly found at the scene of the Bitunia shooting. Photo: CNN / Screenshot.
As the Israeli government continues to investigate what really happened in Bitunia, where edited security camera footage showed two Palestinian Arabs dying from off-screen fire, an Israeli ballistics expert on Friday cast doubt over the bullet claimed to be found on one of the victims.
In a report on Thursday, CNN broadcast an interview of Siam Nouwaran, the father of one of the victims, who held up a bullet he said was found in his son's backpack.
Nouwaran told CNN that it was found "Inside, the backpack, a blood-stained textbook and a bullet, not a rubber-coated projectile."
The CNN reporter asked, "You think that this is the bullet that killed your son?"
Nouwaran responded, "Yeah, of course. Inside the bag. I found it inside the bag."
Ballistics expert Yosef Yekutiel, according to an interview Friday on Israel's Channel 2 television, flagged by CAMERA, said that if the bullet actually went through the victim's body the way it was claimed by the Palestinian doctors who said they examined him, the shell would look entirely different.
"This bullet, if it did what the doctor claims, passed through the chest, came out through the body hit the backpack and passed through several books - this bullet didn't do that," Yekutiel said.
"Everyone who understands bullets, knows that the moment it passes through the chest, the torso and hits some sort of bone, it ends up with a distortion," he said. "The moment it enters and hits the papers of the books it is expected to be crushed in the front section in a very prominent manner."
The first edited video, released by Palestinian branch of Defense for Children International and now seen 500,000 times, caused an international uproar, with the added poignancy of it coinciding with "Nakba Day," the Palestinian holiday commemorating the defeat of invading Arab armies by Israel in 1947.
In a statement released with the video, DCI-Palestine said, "Nadeem Siam Nawara, 17, sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the chest. Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh, 16, sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the back. Both boys were transferred to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah where they were pronounced dead."
Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine, said, "The images captured on video show unlawful killings where neither child presented a direct and immediate threat to life at the time of their shooting. These acts by Israeli soldiers may amount to war crimes, and the Israeli authorities must conduct serious, impartial, and thorough investigations to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes."
Global media rushed to condemn the IDF and the U.S. and the UN urged Israel to formally investigate, but the many inconsistencies in the video cast a wider shadow on the veracity of its claims. In Israel, the case is already being declared the work of "Pallywood" and "Al Dura Redux," in reference to a similar story, in 2000, when edited video footage was also used to condemn the IDF, although forensic evidence later found it impossible to reconstruct based on the actual location of the IDF soldiers.
An Israeli M16 rifle equipped with the rubber bullet extension and, inset, rubber bullets encased in a metal sleeve next to a regular bullet. Photo: Elder of Ziyon.
In the Bitunia videos, the IDF troops, who were sent to disperse 150 Palestinian Arabs throwing rocks and burning tires, can be seen holding rifles equipped with the extension used to fire rubber bullets, as per the IDF's rules of engagement, corroborating an official statement this week that "no live fire was discharged during the day."
In the multiple videos since released, the victims appear far from any confrontation and are shown running towards the direction where fire would supposedly be coming from, rather than away from it. And what has particularly triggered suspicions over the film, at minute 1:30, as one of the victims fell, a cameraman and photographer are on the scene just seconds later.
Blogger Elder of Ziyon wrote, "B'Tselem released the entire video, along with the same scenes from the opposite angle. There is no apparent rock throwing at the time, only a burning tire in the street. The fast reaction to the first incident, with the victim being carried away within seconds towards an ambulance that is only arriving immediately after he is shot in the second CCTV video is very strange."
Watch the video from Defense for Children International below.
Were the teenagers actually killed?
If they were, why are we expected to believe the story without their bodies being made available for a proper forensic examination?
Where is the forensic examination of the "murder" scene (open to impartial observers) to establish the facts, such as where the bullets were fired from and from what weapon etc etc?
If the teenagers were not really killed - - - Who or what were the bodies shown at funeral / mourning pictures?
If they are dead or if they are not, who fired the shots that allegedly killed them? A Palestinian gunman, as seems likely for Mohammed al Dura?
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