Israel’s occupation forces killed three teenagers on the evening of Tuesday January 21st in the border between ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948 and the besieged Gaza Strip.
The victims Mohammed Hani Abu Mandel, Salem Zuweid al-Naami and Mahmoud Khaled Saed were according to different reports all either 16-, 17- or 18-years-old and residents of the al-Maghazi refugee camp in central part of the tiny coastal enclave. According to officials in Gaza they did not have known connections to any armed resistance groups.
Israeli occupation claimed that the boys would have crossed the border fence east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp and entered 400 meters into ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948, where they would have – according to the most elaborate version – hidden in a thicket and thrown explosives towards either Israeli occupation forces jeep or a military post without causing casualties or damage, after which they would have been shot dead.
According to some Palestinian sources, the boys could have crossed the border to seek work in ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948. People doing this are regularly captured at the border by Israeli occupation and those that have made it through are arrested often enough in the surviving non-Jewish communities in the Negev to make the suggestion plausible.
Israeli occupation released both the identity of the victims and a very low quality, pixelated infrared video which it claims to show the boys throwing the explosives before they were killed. There is no possibility to identify any persons on it and interpreting itself is hard because of its low quality and this can result in people interpreting what they see in it based on what they want it to represent: Either ‘terrorist attack’ or the events leading to the ‘execution’ of unarmed youths.
The video shows three human figures on the distance lying in a some kind of shallow hollow on the ground. Twice one of them stands up, making himself an easy target, and throws something which, depending on your interpretation, is either an item which is then shot at or appears to explode very close before them.
No jeep or a military outpost appears on the video and it doesn’t show the persons being shot. Assuming that the video was recorded from the supposed military outpost, the supposed explosives could not have traveled even a tenth of the distance to it. Alternative claim is that the boys were forced to throw their clothes away. What appears
to be shots to the left of their position followed by the central figure standing up to throw something (which then is shot at or explodes) without being shot at while standing up could support this interpretation.
Israeli occupation forces refused to give any more information to International Committee of the Red Cross when it asked for and have refused to hand over the bodies it claims it holds, leading some in the boys’ families to doubt that they are dead.
There is no apparent good reason to doubt that the boys are dead – although there is a recent precedent – but the video spread by Israeli occupation raises questions even if we accept that it shows (as we believe it does) the actual events before the boys were killed by Israeli occupation soldiers. Not showing the shooting especially raises doubts that the events followed exactly the Israeli occupation narrative.
Israeli occupation is not leaving out the killing of persons from these kind of videos to spare the victims’ families or the wider audience of its videos. It shows enough to support its own version of events to an extent – and in this case even that is in doubt – but not showing the killings themselves leaves the suspicion that the persons could have been arrested alive and that killing them was not necessary – or that they were actually captured alive and executed.