Those who adhere to this scenario: Very few people openly espouse this one, although those who do tend to know the material well, are familiar with the willingness of the Palestinian elites to sacrifice their children “for the cause”, and don’t care about political correctness. Those few who have publicly argued this have suffered considerable damage.
– Direction of the bullets indicating purpose: The bullets hitting the wall come from the Palestinian position across the road, and, as determined by ballistic experts -and could have only come from across the road. Furthermore, since there was no crossfire at this time and the bullets were clearly single shots (see scenario 3 discussion), the shots must have been intentionally fired.
– Evidence that the scene was deliberately set up:
Photographic evidence from three cameramen show the boy and father behind the barrel well before the shooting begins, suggesting a much greater probability that they were deliberately placed there, rather than chance pedestrians caught in a crossfire. There is also footage that indicates Jamal and Mohammed left their position behind the barrel and later returned – indicating that they were not pinned down by withering fire.
Bullet direction suggests setting the scene for filming. (Scenario 3)
At the funeral which took place the same afternoon of the same day, the mourners already have posters of the boy: In order for them to have this, they would have had to go to his home in El-Bureij, get a picture, make the poster and copy it for distribution all in approximately one to two hours. In the meantime, his own mother claims that she didn’t find out about his death until the later evening news.
– Motive: Immense PR victory for the Palestinians. This image provides the Palestinians with superb material for scapegoating Israel, which they rapidly exploited. It permits them to:
– destroy international sympathy for Israel, as an article in The Independent (UK) illustrates
-incite Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims to hate the Israelis and want to kill them all
– Culture of martyrdom among Palestinians: This horrific scenario, incomrehensible to the Liberal Cognitive Egocentrist is not unthinkable within a culture that considers “martyrdom” a high value and toward which Palestinian leaders Palestinians indoctrinate their children in school and via state-run media. The highest honors are bestowed upon a shahid, both in the world he left behind and the world to which he ascends. The cynical exploitation of children for political purposes by Palestinian leaders is well documented.
– Morally repugnant position: Morally, this is a difficult position to take. Despite evidence for its possibility it is unthinkable behavior to attribute to even one’s worst enemy. Gabriel Weimmann, a professor at the Israeli Military Academy, who had his students try to prove the Israelis did not commit the murder, hesitates to believe this: “Maybe even it was staged-although I don’t think my worst enemy is so inhuman as to shoot a boy for the sake of publicity.” To believe this, one could easily fall into the trap of cynical and conspiratorial hatred, without regarding any contrary evidence.
Fortunately, we have a credible alternative to the notion that this was a “snuff film.” The most compelling evidence against this approach lies in evidence that the boy was never shot:
– No blood: Talal claimed the boy was bleeding for 15 or 20 minutes from a bullet wound that “exploded the boy’s stomach” (which would normally prove fatal), but the tape does not show any blood on the ground where Mohammed lay. Footage taken even on the morning of the following evidences no blood. Footage taken of the same spot later in the following day when the local Palestinian commander arrive to investigate does show a small amount of red substance under the father’s place at the barrel, but not where Mohammed lay. Why would Talal fail to have captured even a few seconds of the boy bleeding on the ground?
– No ambulance evacuation: Given how valuable ambulance evacuations are as footage and how quickly the ambulances tend to arrive, and the fact that we know an ambulance is in waiting just behind the boy and the father, one would expect a real case of evacuating the wounded to be extremely valuable footage to capture. Given Talal’s perfect positioning for filming an especially bloody scene of the wounded father and dead son, it seems incomprehensible that Talal has not one frame of an ambulance evacuation. Asked why not by Nahum Shahaf over the phone, Talal responds evasively: “because the ambulance driver was shot.” Asked why he didn’t take a picture of that, he responded, “because he was shot before he got to the boy.” That, of course, does not explain why he did not photograph the eventual evacuation. Enderlin replies to both anomalies by claiming that Talal told him that he was running out of batteries, although if that were the case, why did he not just run out his camera on the scene in front of him rather than film a later, undistinguished, ambulance scene?
– No shot of the boy arriving at the Hospital: And even if his camera battery were dead, Talal could have called ahead to Shiffa hospital to make sure that the arrival of the father and son would get filmed some half an hour later. But we have no shots from Shiffa hospital.
– No bullets recovered: Shifa hospital, and the hospital in Jordan, despite allegedly dealing with two people suffering a total of 8 -15 bullet wounds (depending upon Jamal’s various bits of testimony), recovered not a single bullet or bullet fragment. Nor did the Talal, who told Esther Schapira he examined the site the next day. Perhaps aware that the lack of bullets made his case weak, when he claimed hundreds of bullets hit the wall and that he had counted forty bullet holes himself, Talal stated: “we have the bullets, the kind of the bullets, I photographed them.” When Schapira asks where the bullets are, Talal tells her to “consult the general… he could tell you.” When Schapira points out that the General does not have any bullets, Talal, the only employee of France2 at the scene at that time claims: “France2 collected…”. “So you’re doing a better job than the investigators,” Schapira responds as Talal registers the realization that his claim has no credibility. “No, no, no” Talal answers with a smirk , “We…we… we have our secrets… we cannot give anything… just everything.”