So I conclude that the security video probably does show the two Palestinians who were shot. The question is, who shot them?
The fact that 1) live fire at the Israeli post would have been immediately noticed (and the shooter arrested for a serious violation of rules of engagement and probably charged with murder), as well as 2) the way the victims fell when hit, and 3) the lack of any signs of blood or an exit wound on either of them, all argue that they were not shot by the soldiers at the post.
Were they shot by an sniper at another location, Israeli or Palestinian? Who were the “other group” photographer al-Momani referred to? If they were “at least 150 meters away” it would be hard to tell. Autopsy data about the direction of the wounds combined with the security video might clear this up, as well as the type of weapon used.
If the shooters were Palestinians, that would imply that Palestinians are monsters. But isn’t that what they are saying about us?
Update [26 May 2014 0956 PDT]: See Elder of Ziyon’s analysis here. He argues that Nouwareh’s fall was consistent with being hit in the leg with a rubber bullet, there is a mark on his right pant leg that could have been caused by such a bullet, and that the timing was right when compared to the CNN footage of rubber bullets being shot from the Border Patrol position. One expert that I spoke to also said that the way his right leg stiffened when he fell was characteristic of someone hit in the leg by a rubber bullet.
Elder of Ziyon sums up thus:
Now, what happened afterwards? I have no idea. If I am right – and I am convinced I am, at least in Nawarah’s case – then you have no choice but to say that either he was shot after this incident in the chest, or another dead body was buried, and either this isn’t Nawarah or that other person isn’t Nawarah.
As more evidence comes in, it appears increasingly unlikely that two Palestinian youths were shot in cold blood by Israeli soldiers (actually, Border Patrol officers) last Thursday.
CNN has broadcast video that purports to show a Border Patrol officer firing at Palestinian teens immediately before one falls to the ground and is taken away in an ambulance. Later, his father produces a bullet that he says was found in the boy’s backpack, which passed through his chest and killed him. Watch the video here.
Open and shut, right? Not exactly. I talked to an Israeli firearms expert, and here is what he told me:
1. The Border Patrol officers are shooting rubber bullets that are used for crowd control. They are not capable of penetrating the body at the range they are being fired from. We know this by the devices fitted to the barrels of the rifles — these cassettes contain the actual rubber bullets which are propelled by blanks fired from the gun’s regular magazine.
If the rubber bullet cassette had been empty and if the officer had replaced the blanks magazine with one containing live ammunition, then he could have fired a live bullet without removing the cassette. But everyone at the position would have heard the sound of the shot, which is very different from that of a blank propelling a rubber bullet. The Border Patrol officer would have been in very serious trouble, facing a murder charge if his target died. Unless all the soldiers were in on a conspiracy, this didn’t happen.