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May 28, 2014 6:09 pm

Full ‘Nakba Day’ Footage Notable for Absence of Blood, Coordinating Cameramen

avatar by 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.

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.

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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 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.

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