Israeli ballistics expert Dr. Yosef Yekutiel, said the rifle barrel used by the Border Policeman seen in the CNN footage was thicker than usual, which means it was adapted for firing rubber bullets.
New footage published today by CNN, reportedly showing a group of Border Police officers firing towards a crowd of Palestinian protesters on Nakba Day, sparked a new round of debate on whether live ammunition or rubber bullets were used.
According to CNN, the footage was shot exactly at 13:45 last Thursday (May 15th), and it shows one of the Border Police officers aiming and firing his weapon towards a group of protesters. Only 14 seconds later, the camera pans to show an injured man being evacuated from the scene. He is, apparently, the second of two men killed during the Nakba Day protests.
An Israeli ballistics expert, analyzing the footage for Israel’s Channel 2 News, however, disagreed with CNN’s hypothesis that the footage is likely to prove that at least one of the protesters was killed by live ammunition fired by a Border Police officer. Dr. Yosef Yekutiel, the expert, said the rifle barrel used by the policeman seen in the footage was thicker than usual, which means it was adapted for firing rubber bullets.
The Israeli army will present its findings on the initial investigation into the deaths of two Palestinians during a May 15 Nakba Day protest to the Chief of General Staff and Defense Minister on Thursday. The report, by the Judea and Samaria Division will attempt to determine whether Border Police troops shot and killed the two men, as the Palestinians claim, while an additional probe by the military police is still underway and may take weeks to complete.
The incident made international headlines over the past week mostly because of a video, presenting the shooting as a case of unprovoked hostility, was released online by a Palestinian rights group, leading the international community to call for a swift investigation into the incident.
Forces that were on the scene said that the incident was part of a violent clash during which Palestinians hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers and that the troops responded with non-lethal crowd dispersal weapons. Israel has requested to receive the bodies of the men in order to carry out an autopsy and the bullets that killed them to perform ballistic analysis.
On Wednesday Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told i24news that the video, caught by security cameras, was likely faked and should be approached by the global community with caution.
AFP”I’m confident in one thing: nobody in the IDF would intentionally and without a sufficient reason open fire just to kill some young people,” Steinitz said in an exclusive interview with i24news.
Earlier Wednesday, high-ranking Israeli officers visited the site in the West Bank Town of Beituniya where soldiers allegedly shot the two Palestinians.
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon responded to the video on Tuesday saying that though he hadn’t seen it, he had “seen many edited videos in the past and am familiar with the method.” He added that the soldiers were operating in self-defense.
The video footage – which an Israeli army spokesperson said had been doctored – was uploaded by the Defense for Children International Palestine, a Swiss-based non-profit.
In it, two men are seen falling down after apparently being shot from distance; the shooters are not visible. The date on the screen is Thursday, 5.20.2014 – the day when the incident took place; during the footage of the first incident the on-screen timestamp shows 13:45, while when the other man falls down, apparently shot in the back, the time is 14:59.
The footage is accompanied by a narration track in Arabic and subtitles in English.
Suspicions that the footage may have been doctored was raised due in part to the substantial editing done in the video that was posted online. In addition, the fact that the video shows the men appearing to consciously break their fall after being shot and the appearance of an ambulance on the scene within 10 seconds, led skeptics to question whether the entire incident was staged.
A senior defense official who saw the video told Hebrew daily Ma’ariv that the army was cautious when it came to these types of videos as in the past, Palestinians had falsified videos in order to cast Israeli soldiers in a negative light. The official referenced the infamous case of Mohammed al-Dura, a 10-year-old child who was allegedly shot by Israeli soldiers in Gaza in 2000. A French television report purported to show the boy being shot, but Israelis have long claimed that the video was faked, dubbing the practice “Pallywood”
The United States and a top UN official on Tuesday separately called for an immediate investigation into the deaths.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States had been in contact with the Israeli government.
“We are closely following this incident and the video. We’re seeking additional information from the government of Israel,” she said in Washington
“We look to the government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident, including whether or not the use of force was proportional to the threat posed by the demonstrators.”
She added: “We are encouraging the government of Israel to conduct their own investigation.”
Assistant UN secretary general for political affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco also urged a probe.
“It is of serious concern that initial information appears to indicate that the two Palestinians killed were both unarmed and appeared to pose no direct threat,” said Fernandez-Taranco.
“The UN calls for an independent and transparent investigation by the Israeli authorities into the two deaths, and urges Israel to ensure that its security forces strictly adhere to the basic principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials,” he said at a briefing of the UN Security Council.
But Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said his country did not need the world to “demand” it to act.
“We don’t need an American demand” to launch an investigation, he told reporters at an event at the Ariel University in the West Bank. “We will do it as part our commitment to the Israeli army’s moral code.”
View original i24news publication at: http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/140522-army-to-present-initial-report-on-nakba-day-deaths