What’s Going on Here?

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29 Responses to What’s Going on Here?

  1. shimshon says:

    i agree with a good deal of your comentary and theoretical frameworks for understanding the conflict. i also whole-heartedly agree with your pally-wood project. but i must call a duck a duck. this looks like someone shooting an unarmed camera man and from the news reports israel seems to be tacitly accepting that it was the IDF doing the shooting.

    rl: well i’d be a bit more cautious before jumping to any conclusions about what news reports have to say. your only witnesses are palestinians, whose reports are just not reliable. that doesn’t mean they are automatically false, just questionable. so we have to work with the material we have and not automatically import the “narrative.”

  2. Sophia says:

    Well clearly the man was shot but it’s impossible to tell by whom.

    The scene is chaotic and there’s no context.

  3. KHarn says:

    martiaI can hear the actions of the rifle when it fires! That means that the shooter was NEAR THE CAMERA. More Pally propiganda. Another martyr for the cause.

  4. Michael B says:

    This was on our local Fox news channel last night where the local talking head repeated, essentially, the brief description attending the footage, though it had an emphasis which served to subtly/suggestively question Israeli motives while similarly painting Hamas involvement in a more passive sense (emphasizing the cameraman, non-combatant quality and the fact it was Israeli military who had shot him). W/o other supportive material/info/evidence it would be difficult to state, in any type of convincing sense, that it was presented in a more decidedly anti-Israel manner, even if that was the more subtle sense being forwarded.

    For example and by contrast, when suicide/homicide attacks in Israel are presented, it is often done so as presenting a tragedy without direct or pointed reference to the Pali perps, motives, tactic/strategy, etc.

    But all in all it’s the subtlety of the presentation, the suggestive quality, that is more evident.

    rl: and of course, motive is the key here, something the footage cannot show, but, given the cameraman’s vulnerability — down with camera — and the lack of any reason for further fire, makes it look like Israelis shot him on purpose.

  5. Solomon says:

    Interesting. No telling who the shooters really were. Any statement from the IDF?

    rl: Israeli army spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibowitch, has said it was not clear who shot Ghanem, a cameraman for the Hamas-allied Al Aqsa TV, though she did not deny it could have been Israeli troops. There are no plans to investigate, she said.

    Filming from within a group of “armed gunmen” is a life-threatening adventure. Avoid it. Cameras have a nasty habit of looking like weapons at a distance — not that anyone is responsible for picking you out of the crowd.

    Note the effects of gunshots on legs. Contrast with Second Draft/Al Dura footage, as well as the sounds made by those shuffling truly wounded people to safety — completely different than in the play-acting Second Draft material.

    rl: i’m not sure what you mean. why “completely”? i’m struck by the way they take him out. very much like pallywood, but this time he’s really wounded, and their brutality must have contributed to his injuries — both legs amputated.

  6. scannerca says:

    Hmmm! There are two casualties, one on the blanket in the 1 o’clock position, with a bunch of men around him; and the 2nd, in the 10 o’clock position with one man next to him.

    Conjecture: The “blanket boys” are trying to retrieve an actual casualty when they, too, are fired upon and run away to the left. At the same time, the “10 o’clock cameraman”(ToC) is trying to get shots of the rescue of the “1 o’clock casualty”. After the would be rescuers of the “1’oclock casualty” all run away, the ToC and his buddy now become targets.

    The firing we hear is, as suggested above, from the “rescuers”, not from the “other” side, what ever that may be.

    it seems that at least some of the firing is from the right side, and that’s apparently where the Israelis are. the cameraman doesn’t give us shots that permit us to see the layout of the scene.

  7. Joanne says:

    It is hard to see what’s going on here. For one thing, I’ve no idea where the bullets were coming from, and where the Israeli and Palestinian fighters were even located relative to the injured cameraman.

    Two points, however:
    1. The fellow was not dead, but still his rescuers handled him roughly. It’s true that those helping the cameraman were not professional ambulance workers. However, the rough handling that you’ve pointed out in fake situations apparently does happen even in genuine ones, especially as the shooting hadn’t totally ended in this case. So this somewhat undermines your point that rough handling of the injured may indicate fakery.

    certainly the rough handling is there. i do note that none of the rescuers are wounded or hit by the gunshots, despite their obvious vulnerability.

    2. However, this video supports your contention regarding Pallywood scenes where Palestinians just stand around, though they’re supposedly in the line of fire. Here, you don’t see people hanging out, laughing and smoking and sometimes carrying someone to an ambulance that arrives in nano-seconds. No one in this video remains within 50 yards of the victim. When others do approach him, they’re in a hurry, and they’re agitated and usually ducking. This seems like the real thing. And it points up how all those other videos must indeed be fake. Oh, and there are no film directors in sight.

    we don’t know what’s there. our view is highly restricted. i’m not concluding anything one way or another.

    Also, the sound of gunfire in this video seemed stronger, clearer and more insistent. And that also points up the difference between this scene and your standard Pallywood fare.

    actually there are scenes where there’s heavy gunfire in pallywood.

    So those are my impressions a day after I viewed the video once. Maybe I’d come to different conclusions on a closer viewing, or if I could zoom in or slow the video down.

    In any case, I’m guessing that this unfortunate cameraman will be reported as a casualty of Israeli fire.

    surprise! after all, why would the palestinians shoot him? QED.

  8. KHarn says:

    There’s something I forgot to mention in my first post: in the video, we see the bullets strike and hear the gunfire AT THE SAME TIME! Assault rifle bullets travel faster than the speed of sound (About three times as fast), so if the shots were coming from a distance, we would SEE the bullets strike then we would HEAR the sonic crack of the bullet followed very closely by the distant crack of the rifle.
    The camera has to be near the shooter!

  9. mnkk says:

    He wasn’t wearing any clothing or headgear to identify him as press.
    He was reported as a cameraman working for Hamas media services by Reuters on the web.

    The shots came from near by, as pointed out in other posts. The acoustics would have been completely different if they had been any distance away.

    Where, when and whom they were engaging is completely unknown.

    I don’t think that any conclusions can be drawn about this clip except that two individuals, one carrying a video camera, were shot while with a group of Hamas gunmen. It also appears to be genuine with a the usual over the top emotionalism of the people of that region during the exit to seek medical aid…allah akhbar, indeed.

  10. IMFinksPa says:

    I don’t see that any conclusions can be drawn from this video. KHarn posits that the sounds we hear suggests the firer is near the cameraman. I can’t draw that conclusion. There could be return fire out of view or any number of other explanations. As mentioned, we have no perspective on this scene, no Israeli’s in view. The only thing that is abundantly clear is that the Palestinian gunmen are not wearing uniforms and the downed cameraman is essentially indistinguishable from the fighters. I think we could fairly suppose that the downed cameraman looked just like the rest of the terrorists from the distance of the Israeli troops (assuming there are Israeli troops), and the mere fact that someone who appears to be a gunman is lying on the ground, amidst other fighters, is no reason to withhold fire on that individual. In other words, if what we are seeing is Israeli fire, there is absolutely no reason to assume that they were attempting to do anything inappropriate, but, instead, were simply engaged in a gunfight with terrorists with the appropriate battlefield intent of killing those terrorists. If “journalists” don’t want to get shot in war zones, maybe they shouldn’t be running around dressed like terrorists and in the midst of terrorists.

  11. Eliyahu says:

    KH, interesting point.
    Shimshon, if unarmed persons go into a combat zone together with [or close to] armed combatants, then they are acting as if they are combatants. It is not the job of the soldiers, who fear for their own lives, to examine –with binoculars or a telescope or microscope– everyone on the enemy side, everyone standing with armed enemy combatants. You can read over the Geneva and Hague conventions on the laws of war, and then tell me if I am mistaken. Indeed, check Article 28 of the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949. The presence of non-combatants [“protected persons”] does not make a location immune from military operations.

    This particular cameraman was not wearing identifying signs [vest]. And he was really part of the Hamas’ combat, although maybe not carrying a gun. I call him an unarmed combatant.

  12. Diane says:

    As an Angeleno, I’ve learned to keep an open mind where video evidence is involved. Context matters, and this video lacks context. What came before? Where is the IDF shooting from? Who are the men in the foreground?

    Also as a matter of context, it’s worth remembering how Islamists treat Western journalists (Daniel Pearl, Alan Johnson) before crying mea culpa over the shooting of one of their journalists in combat.

  13. scannerca says:

    Has anyone found a translation of the “dialogue” on this clip? That would give us more info.

  14. SE says:

    I must issue the usual disclaimer that I have no knowledge of military operations or how guns work etc., and I also do not know anything about filmography. I do not know Arabic, and (as others have mentioned) this video is devoid of crucial context.

    Given all that, these are my preliminary thoughts…
    1. How was it that the group of Gazans in the beginning of the film were able to make it away unharmed, without being shot at? They looked like an easy target…

    rl: one would think that in war, you shoot whom you can among the enemy, esp since there aren’t crowds of civilians around.

    2. Why did the cameraman not move with the rest of them? And what of the other guy to the right in the background? Was he dead already?

    3. The dust kicked up around the cameraman — to me it looked like there is a distinct possibility that he was doing some shooting at that point. Furthermore, he did not move in the slightest when he was shot. Is this normal? Could he have been shot BEFORE this video started?

    i thought he was already shot, then shot again. he is hit in both legs.

    The video did have the feel of real action, and not a Pallywood operation. Of course, they may have fooled me on this one…

    Because of the lack of context (hey — anyone pick up the wounded cameraman’s camera to see what he filmed?) we do not know if this was some sort of internecine fight or not.

    There seemed to be no attempt to kill the wounded cameraman as he was being rescued — it would have been an easy shot.

  15. shimshon says:

    well i must say, having served in the military, it is the responsibility of the shooter to determine if his target is armed or unarmed. This is not a case of being caught up an intense firefight as in the Geneva convention article you refer to. The cameraman is on the ground, and alone when he is shot by someone who aimed specifically at him. But that is beside the point. There seems to be a lot of pseudo-science going on in the replies. Unless someone has some sort of evidence as in the Pallywood video, then this just looks like a bunch of people in denial. Lets not fall into the conspiracy traps and shame paradigms (that we cannot accept criticism) that landes uses to describe the Palestinians.

    rl: nice use of the honor-shame paradigm. you’re right that this isn’t a heavy fire-fight. that may have preceded the footage. would be nice to have the full rushes. and that’s why it seems like a condemnation of an israeli soldier targeting a wounded and unarmed man. and that’s why there’s not enough evidence — only narrative claims — to make that accusation stick. again, no other scenario makes sense. but again, that’s what pallywood is all about.

    i don’t know what happened here. i’m interested in everyone’s speculations. i’m not invested in finding this to be pallywood, but i’m not assuming the opposite either. there’s stuff here that seems weird, and i don’t know what to think.

  16. golfzulu says:

    Same Old Joke

    What is the point this video is trying to make here? That civilian deaths happen in war and that if the Israeli army can be seen as at fault, that puts them on the same moral level of pizza shop and school bus bombers?

    This, from a Hamas who target non-combatants.

    The media politics are stupidly obvious here. And even if this guy was ONLY a photog, he’s standing unidentified with a group of men who are shooting at you, holding a camera which is a piece of hardware at any distance.

    I don’t know what “military” you served in – bit the I was in stressed the danger of civilian combatants in an urban combat situation.

    He is “standing with” enemy shooters, he is a target, a legitimate target and there is no need at all to defend his death. Even if this is a completely genuine situation of a Palestinian non-combatant, which would be a real reach of available facts, being killed during a gun battle… so what? That’s what happens when you adopt the killing of civilians as a major tactical goal in any fire fight.

    To put the moral restraint of identifying, absolutely, everyone that could possible be hit amongst a group of armed men shooting at you while you shoot back, on only on one combatant side is a joke. Especially since the other side’s tactics include dressing as civilians and using them for cover, for the exact purpose of this type of “see, I told you so” childish justification for bombing pizza shops and school buses.

    And the snarky, sarcastic suggestion that this is showing an ‘inability to accept criticism’ is part of the same joke – use your enemies’ sense of morality against him, while being totally free of it yourself.

    You a are classic example of the enablers this sick Palestinian society that Landes writes about – you are the Same Old Joke.

    rl: apparently shimshon pissed you off seriously. i wouldn’t get too upset by his remarks. he does make a point you ignore: the photographer was shot the second time after the firefight stopped. your scenario explains the first hit not the second hit.

    but you’re point is a larger one, and concerns the nature of the moral opprobrium that comes down on israel for these incidents. and there, you have an impt point. israel, obviousy, holds itself to higher standards when dealing with civilian casualties among its enemies, than its enemies hold themselves to regarding their own people, and in their targeting of israeli civilians, they take themselves off any moral map (other than “resistance is not terrorism”). so there’s something morally grotesque about the media getting worked up over an incident like this, with footage provided by palestinian cameramen — note that we don’t have his name — implicating israel in a war crime of targeting civilians. there does seem to be a major lack of a hypocrisy meter here, especially among groups like Committee to Protect Reporters:

    “We are horrified by the Israeli forces apparent targeting of cameraman Imad Ghanem,” the group’s executive director, Joel Simon, said. “He was carrying out legitimate journalistic duties when he was seriously wounded. Deliberate targeting of journalists cannot be justified. We call on the Israeli army to investigate this incident fully and make its findings public.”

  17. SE says:

    Some observations:
    :17 — Cameraman rises, and goes down. Does not seem to be from injury, but is going down for cover. Does not seem to be moving.
    :44 — more shots, which seem to miss.
    :48 — It seems like C is shot, dust is kicked up, and his left leg flies up.
    His audience seems worried about him, judging from the tone.
    1:03 — C’s other foot (?) seems to fly up as he is either shot in his other leg or possibly shooting. [I say possibly shooting because of how the movement of C, the dust, and the sound coincide].

    There are two rescues going on here. One, sans cloth stretcher is for C. The other, with the cloth stretcher, seems to be for the other guy.

    If this is Pallywood then they have improved drastically.

    Surely there is a trained expert who can judge this kind of film accurately and fairly. Why don’t you get her/him on the case?

  18. Karl Groucho Marx says:

    I find it fascinating people are debating the technical veracity of this, the latest released episode of the world’s first and only international soap opera produced by documented and self-admitted homicidal maniacs for god.

    Say this is completely true…so what? What atrocity is Hamas revealing in its world-wide media complaint?

    A murderous violation of human decency by Israeli soldiers?

    An appeal to the world to demand Israel abide by the rules of the Geneva Convention?

    This is funny stuff.

    I think this displays a great hidden talent for comic irony. Gaza has a new growth industry. The West with all its decadent (and bad) television needs an infusion of serious comic talent. I think a comedy starved Hollywood has just had a wake-up call.

    this is another way of stating what i called the “lack of an hypocrisy meter” on the part of the “moral west.”

  19. Stan says:

    There are many people that appear to be standing in the open expositn themselvesto fire. There are also edits done at crucial times (when the picked up the second victim). If the first victim was shot the way it appeared, and carried the way he was carried, it seems like his legs would have been ripped off.


  20. Richard Landes says:

    i’ve asked for some help on this and will report anything i get (like a translation of what they’re saying.

    overall, i think this is a good exercise, with no preconceived conclusions. there are anomalies which need to be (and may be) explained, or not…

    the larger issue of culpability constitutes another problem:
    a) who shot him?
    b) if Israeli, was the shooting legitimate?
    c) if it wasn’t legitimate, just how indignant can ngo’s wax in the great scheme of things?

  21. Bruce Kodish says:

    R. L. asks:
    “the larger issue of culpability constitutes another problem:
    a) who shot him?
    b) if Israeli, was the shooting legitimate?
    c) if it wasn’t legitimate, just how indignant can ngo’s wax in the great scheme of things?”

    Since the video provides no definitive answers to any of these questions, the most definitive conclusion appears to me this:
    The definitive condemnation of Israelis for this incident is not only unwarranted but shows the preconceived bias of the condemnors in finding the Israelis at fault.

    What else is new?

  22. shimshon says:

    ok. a bunch of people seem to be pissed off with me. well, first of all let me say i am about as zionist as it gets (American living in Israel by choice). second, i think we need to be very careful about making claims such as those in the replies. the point of this site should be to open up the MSM to a new way of looking at the conflict. this can only be done when it is based on clear cogent evidence, which we dont have in this case. we should stick to the points we can make, and the arguments we can win. anyone from the MSM (or the general public) would write this reply stream off (rightly or wrongly) as putting out conspiracy theories not backed up by anything other than what they understand to be the proper narrative. we can not go on that alone. after all others have their own narratives and thats how the MSM comes to many of its collusions (and biases). we should not fall into the trap of relying on our narratives without concrete evidence to back up each claim we make or we will fall into the same trap as MSM.

  23. RL says:

    i’m glad you’re contributed to this discussion and site and hope you continue.

    your suggestion that the media should come here and see an alternative way to approach matters, and shd therefore see “final product” is an interesting one, and worth considering.

    i put this one up without having formed an opinion, in order to get other opinions, and thought i’d let a conversation of conjecture take place. this is the kind of discussion medievalists would engage in thinking about a strange but seemingly significant “document.”

    it means adopting a hermeneutic of suspicion.

    the justifiable fear you express that this will seem like conspiracy theory reflects more on the inability of the MSM to question their credulity than our mindset. this may well be real footage, altho i’m not able to reconstruct what’s going on from this fragment.

    i remember one of my professors in grad school saying, “don’t show people your workshop.” maybe he’s right. but i think it’s important to show people how to conjecture responsibly (ie prefer the hypotheses — whether you like them or not — that the empirical evidence reinforces.

    what do people think?

  24. Eliyahu says:

    I would call on Shimshon to be a bit less credulous of what he reads or sees on the screen. And telling us he’s a Zionist or a Sufi or a Rosicrucian is irrelevant. I don’t know where Shimshon took military training or where he was given instructions to carefully examine the enemy troops 150 meters away to discern persons among them who may not be carrying weapons at a given moment. He might bear in mind that most combat soldiers are not snipers or sharpshooters. So a bullet aimed at one targeted person could easily hit another. And soldiers on the front line are well advised to aim at a group of enemy troops rather than at one isolated enemy. So there is no justification for anyone, certainly not the so-called pro-reporter NGOs — to accuse an Israeli soldier of deliberately aiming at a journalist, who appears not to have been wearing identifying garb. Furthermore, when Israelis fight Fatah or Hamas or other anti-Israel irregular forces, they cannot trust even persons with vests identifying them as medics or journalists or other supposed non-combatants. This is because in the past medics, “journalists,” etc., have been terrorists in disguise [Remember those ambulance bombs?]. Again, in a combat zone, anyone who enters does so at his own risk. Despite Shimshon’s peculiar understanding of Article 28 of the Geneva Convention [link above], it does not refer to “an intense firefight,” as he claims. I suggest that he read over again what it says.

    Now, to the so-called pro-journalist NGOs. The Arab cameraman supposedly injured is identified by Hamas as one of their own. Next, Hamas is a governing body [in Gaza] that does not accept the laws of war. If it did, it would have allowed, nay, invited the Red Cross [ICRC] to visit Gilad Shalit and determine his state of health and the appropriateness of his conditions of captivity. But Hamas openly scoffs at international law in this regard. So, as I understand international law, any governing body that rejects it, particularly its humanitarian provisions, cannot claim international law protection for its own. So on that grounds alone, the complaints against Israel by the so-called “non-governmental” orgs are unwarrented.

    Moreover, a number of posters above have rightly pointed to various anomalies/peculiarities in the video. Why are men walking around standing up, standing in place, fully exposed to fire, if one of their comrades has just been shot??

    Be that as it may, let’s go on to the role of the NGOs. In the Middle Ages, and during the 3rd Reich too, before Jews were massacred or suffered a pogrom, it was usually preceded by defamatory/demonizing agitation, whether referring to a Gospel event like the Passion of Jesus or an event in Christian tradition like the killing of St Stephen, or to recent events or allegations of recent crimes by Jews. Now, the role of many NGOs today, of many journalists and media agencies today, is –inter alia– to smear Israel as Jews were smeared in the past. That’s why the charges against Israel today often echo medieval charges against Jews, like the blood libel [a notable modern blood libel agitation occurred in Damascus in 1840]. One may conclude that the charges against Israel today have the same purpose as the medieval charges. The Nazis used the film medium, as in Der Ewige Jude, Jud Suss, etc. The BBC’s defamation of Jews comes close sometimes to the Nazi image of Jews as rats [in Der Ewige Jude]. I assert that many “pro-peace,” pro-“human rights,” pro-reporter NGOs play the same defamatory role as the Nazi film, Der Ewige Jude.

    Further, many or most NGOs are funded by governments or bodies close to governments. So the label of non-governmental is fraudulent. I would like to know who “Joel Simon” is, who appointed him to be the head of an outfit called “Committee to Protect Reporters,” how many and who are the other members of his committee. Is it a committee of one? Or two or three? Maybe Joel and his secretary/receptionist and his fax-cum-photocopy machine? Who pays Joel and his fellow committee members OR who pays the office and phone and photocopy expenses, etc.?? And who winds him up and siccs him on a target? At worst, such NGOs build up a climate of anti-Israel war fever, anti-Israel genocide fever. At the least, they interfere with proper Israeli defensive military operations and inhibit the defense of Israel’s citizens from frank mass murderers [Hamas].

    So, in sum, I do not perceive any moral grounds for the declarations of the NGOs cited in this and earlier posts on this thread. Nor do I perceive any reasonable grounds for Shimshon’s querulous quibbles. I suggest that he read over Article 28 again [see link above].

  25. Cynic says:

    This is because in the past medics, “journalists,” etc., have been terrorists in disguise [Remember those ambulance bombs?].

    What was it a month or two ago that a jeep was dressed up as one used by TV in an effort to invade Israeli territory and kidnap at least one Israeli soldier.

  26. Michael B says:

    The footage provides evidence to forward and support various, and contrasting, hypotheses. It provides nothing very definitive beyond that; as rl notes above motive is pivotal here and we simply are not privy to that information. We are not privy to knowing who the shooter was, what their motive and perspective and assumptions were, we do not know the motive of the individual cameraman in this particular case. In each individual case those admissions need to be made, need to be acknowledged for what they are. (All of which does not disallow intuitions, suspicions, etc. in helping to form some working hypotheses/conjectures. But the tools we use to form hypotheses are not the same tools we use to support more certain knowledge; intuitions and suspicions are not on the same epistemic footing as empirical/rational evidence.)

    In sum, I don’t see where shimshon is so terribly off the mark, assumming the focus is kept on this footage itself.

  27. Phil says:

    The fellow with his hands over his head, at 0:35, seems to be smiling. It *could* be a grimace, but it seems more like a smile.

  28. fp says:

    my 2 cents: it is impossible to read too much into this video for lack of information.

    in the general context of the conflict, where the pals cannot possibly be trusted and the israelis don’t tend to keep shooting blindly unarmed men lying down, i know where my instinct goes.

    so i am with rl here.

  29. fp says:

    oh, and there is another context which produces the same instinct: no matter what happens, israel is blamed.

    i place the burden of proof on those who blame israel, and not on israel to prove they are blameless. this is as it should be, but in reality it isn’t. it’s always israel that has to prove they did not.

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