Video Prompts Calls to Investigate Israel for Arab Deaths
JERUSALEM, Israel -- The deaths of two young Palestinian Arabs during demonstrations marking what the Arabs call the "catastrophe" of Israel's statehood are prompting calls for an international investigation.
Video posted on the Internet Tuesday shows two Arab youths collapsing during Nakba demonstrations on May 15, allegedly shot and killed by Israeli Border Police open firing on the protestors.
The security camera footage, released by the Defense for Children International Palestine, shows two separate incidents about 15 minutes apart.
The Palestinian Authority's Ma'an news agency quoted medical sources saying three Arab youths were hit with live ammunition and two of them died. They later called for an international investigation into the incident.
But senior Israeli officials say their officers used only recognized crowd dispersal methods, such as tear gas and rubber bullets, not live ammunition.
IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said the investigation is ongoing, but initial inquiries indicate Border Police used rubber bullets to quell the riot.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said doctored videos aren't new to him.
"I've seen plenty of edited videos," Ya'alon told reporters during a visit to Haifa earlier this week.
The former IDF chief of staff said he had "yet to see this particular video," but he knows "the method very well."
"We are familiar with these tendentious videos," Ya'alon said. "This was a violent incident in which Molotov cocktails and stones were thrown at Border Police officers, who felt their lives were endangered and acted accordingly."
One of the most well-known cases of video manipulation for political purposes occurred in September 2000, at the start of the Second Intifada (armed uprising). A French news agency released video footage allegedly depicting the shooting death of 12-year-old crouched in front of a wall next to his father in the Gaza Strip.
The video, which went viral, has since been discredited. An IDF investigation, confirmed by German ARD Television, showed the boy was killed by Palestinian gunfire.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, meanwhile, rejected demands by the United Nations and United States for an international inquiry, saying it's already being investigated "regardless of any demand."