Palestinian Affairs

Suspicions Continue to Mount About Palestinian Account of Shootings

Two weeks ago, two Palestinian teenagers were said to have been shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian town of Beitunia. The Algemeiner today has cataloged a number of the questions that have emerged about the shootings.

While there’s been little follow-up to the initial reports of the incidents in America’s mainstream media, bloggers have been questioning the initial reporting done on the shootings. The Algemenier cited two of the more methodical critics of the reporting.

Elihu Stone observed that prior to both apparent shootings, the protesters were preparing for something. In the case of the first shooting he noted:

At 13:45:08 the youth who will be ‘shot’ appears near the bottom left of the screen. At 13:45:10 just as the youth is parallel to the fellow tinkering with the camera, the ‘victim’ appears to be hit (and pitches forward which is highly unlikely for someone who was allegedly hit hit in the chest by standard M-16 5.56 rounds used by the IDF.

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 the victim snaps a string of stills as the other rush to “evacuate” the “victim” — then he moves down the street, taking off the camera and putting in his knapsack.

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After the second shooting, Stone writes, “Other extras come running – calling for the ambulance and possibly other camera people, who arrive en masse and spirit the body away.”  Stone also observed that in both cases the shooting victims fell near the center of the frame of videos taken by a security camera in a fixed position. The circled figures in the screenshots above and below are the photographers who conveniently appeared on the scene within seconds.

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Elder of Ziyon observed after watching the videos extensively noted that:

The medical reports for both youths claimed that the bullets ripped through their bodies and exited out the other side. 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.

In addition to the lack of blood at the scene, the Hebrew website Walla! reported that the hospital changed the results of the autopsy for the first teen. Originally it noted that there was no exit wound. But a later report, apparently after the CNN story aired, claimed that there was an exit wound.

CNN aired a report last week that has been widely cited as proving that Israeli soldiers shot and killed both teenagers. Earlier reports hadn’t shown soldiers actually firing, but CNN’s did. The reporter, Ivan Watson, also interviewed the father of the first teen who claimed to have the bullet that killed his son and ended up lodged in his knapsack. But the CNN report raised more questions than it answered.

Elder of Ziyon synchronized videos of the shootings from different camera angles. The CNN cameras clearly showed soldiers using rifles with rubber bullet attachments. This demonstrated that the two shots were of rubber bullets, not live ammunition, contrary to what Palestinian witnesses had claimed.

The other problem with the CNN report is the father’s claim. An Israeli ballistics expert pointed out that a bullet that had pierced a body and come to rest among books would not be intact as the one displayed on CNN, but would have been crushed.

Analyzing the videos and comparing them to claims made against the IDF has proven nothing. The videos show shooting and two people falling. There is also video of funerals that day. According to Haaretz, an IDF investigation has shown that no soldiers fired live ammunition. Haaretz reported that the Palestinians have refused to hand over the fatal bullets to Israeli authorities.

Last week the Anti-Defamation League advised against a “rush to judgment” regarding the deaths. The continuing questions have vindicated that advice.

[Photo: Screen Capture from CNN]