Video analysis pinpoints Israeli killer of Palestinian teen

A sophisticated and compelling analysis of video and other evidence has pinpointed the Israeli occupation soldier who shot and killed seventeen-year-old Nadim Siam Nuwara six months ago.

Meanwhile, an occupation soldier arrested in Nuwara’s killing is being treated as a hero by thousands of Israelis.

Nuwara was shot dead in cold blood by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank village of Beitunia on 15 May during protests marking Nakba Day, the commemoration of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Another teen, Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, sixteen years old, was shot dead at almost the same spot, the same day, in the same manner.

The analysis, explained in the brief video above, was conducted by the UK-based research group Forensic Architecture at the request of Defence for Children International–Palestine (DCI-Palestine).

It combines analysis of security camera and CNN footage of the shooting, sound analysis and computer modeling as well as physical evidence and information from the pathology report on Nuwara.

“Using spatial and video analysis we have identified the border policeman that shot and killed the unarmed Nadim Nuwara,” said Eyal Weizman, principal investigator at Forensic Architecture, in a statement sent to The Electronic Intifada by DCI-Palestine.

“Using sound analysis we found that the border policeman fired live ammunition through a rubber bullet extension installed on his gun, perhaps in an attempt to hide his action,” Weizman added.

The analysis identifies one of the two soldiers visible in the CNN footage – whom Forensic Architecture labels “Soldier A” – as the shooter who killed Nuwara.

Forensic Architecture is funded by the European Research Council and housed at the Center for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. It consists of multidisciplinary practitioners – architects, artists and filmmakers – who undertake investigations that have provided evidence for international prosecution teams, political organizations, nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations.

Accused child-killer hailed as hero

Image posted on Facebook shows Israeli children holding sign supporting occupation soldier accused of murdering seventeen-year-old Nadim Nuwara (faces blurred by The Electronic Intifada).

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities arrested a member of the Israeli Border Police on suspicion of the murder of Nuwara. Israel also arrested a superior officer who allegedly knew about the shooting and concealed it.

Israeli authorities have not released the names of the suspects, but the accused shooter was remanded in custody until next Wednesday, when he could conceivably be released pending further inquiries.

Israeli media report that he is also a suspect in the killing of the second teen, Muhammad Abu al-Thahir.

Rather than view him as a bad apple giving their unit a bad name, many members of the Border Police have rallied to the accused killer’s defense. Many have posted messages on social media declaring, “We are all with the magavnik” – a term for a member of the Border Police, which is known in Hebrew by the acronym Magav.

A Facebook page set up to support the accused killer, also titled “We are all with the magavnik,” has garnered more than 25,000 “Likes” and, like other such pages, is filled with racist and violent incitement against Palestinians.

A number of people have posted images of children, some toddlers, holding signs expressing support for the man accused of murdering a Palestinian teen.

Michael Ben-Ari, the former Israeli lawmaker notorious for leading hate rallies against Africans and Palestinians, also posted a video appealing for money for the accused killer’s family.

Hate rally

During court proceedings, “friends of the accused officer gathered outside the court house, sang supportive songs and called out to him with declarations that he was a ‘hero,’” The Times of Israel reports.

In this video, originally posted in the Facebook group, Israelis can be seen listening to a speech in support of the “magavnik” and shouting sectarian and racist slogans including “medinat yehudim” – meaning a “state for the Jews only.”

The speaker asks that “all the Arabs of Israel die to atone for him [the magavnik].” Many in the crowd answer “Amen.”

The crowd then begins to chant “Kahane was right,” and sing “Kahane is still alive,” a reference to the late Meir Kahane, the founder of a banned extremist group that calls for the total expulsion of Palestinians and is considered a “terrorist” organization in several jurisdictions, including the United States.

Unlike Palestinians accused of acts of violence, the Border Police officer will enjoy full legal protections. Moreover, Israeli authorities have not ordered the demolition of his family’s home, nor arrested his relatives as they have done to Palestinians suspected of killing Israelis.

The outpouring of support for the accused murderer recalls an episode earlier this year when another member of the occupation forces became an overnight hero for pointing a loaded gun at Palestinian youths.

Impunity

“While we welcome the arrest of an unnamed Israeli border policeman alleged to have fatally shot Nadim Nuwara, tragically this killing is not exceptional,” Brad Parker, international advocacy officer at DCI-Palestine, said in the statement.

“Past Israeli investigations into similar incidents consistently fail to be serious, impartial or result in indictments. In this case, though there is CCTV footage and news coverage of the shooting, systemic impunity is likely to be an obstacle to justice and accountability,” Parker added.

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It is really beyond me when human beings will not learn from history so close to their own discrimination and suffering. Having studied the minute details of subtle law-making and openly brutal German fascism and the lasting consquences for Germans as a whole, to watch racist Israelis who spit on any form of decency and international law is simply horrific and almost impossible to comprehend. Who teaches them to hate, to regard others as inferior and worthless, to see themselves as superior, to even ignore the book of their God? Do parents really do this to their children - after all their tribe has experienced? Have they lost their grip on reality? What makes them different to individuals who refuse to ever relinquish their moral compass?

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.