Sunday, July 03, 2022

As the US has finally pressured the Palestinian Authority to hand over the bullet that they claim killed Shireen Abu Akleh (and Israel is handing over the only weapon that they say could have shot in her direction on May 11,) it is worth looking a little more at how the main "eyewitness" to her death is a pathological liar.

We've already discussed how Jenin journalist Ali Samoudi was known decades ago to prompt "witnesses" to say whatever lies would be most dramatic in accusing Israel of crimes. There is no reason to think he would act any differently himself when he is the witness himself. 

On May 11, Samoudi said that this is what happened (CAMERA's translation:)

’After several minutes we heard the sound of bullets pouring on us from the direction where the occupation’s soldiers were concentrated, they were on the rooftops of the buildings in front of us. [This was] amidst the shouts of Palestinian citizens, calling us: get down to the ground, the snipers are targeting you.’

“Samoudi says: ‘I was hit by a bullet at the lower back, and Shireen shouted: ‘Ali was hit, Ali was hit.’ Not even a few seconds went by before Shireen fell on the ground after blood covered her face, and one of the colleagues carried us to the graveyard’s fence to protect us from the soldiers’ bullets, which went on for 10 minutes nonstop.’

“He said: ‘I was miraculously spared from certain death after a bullet hit me in the lower back, but the doctors described my condition as moderate. However the diagnosis requires hospitalization for several days, to make sure there are no complications in the coming hours.’
This is a series of lies.

There were two volleys of bullets. Ali Samoudi can be seen in this screenshot (7:06) right before the first volley, as one of the journalists with light colored sleeves in the background less than a second before the shooting:

Here is a video showing the above scene, and then a synced video showing Samoudi rushing to a car before the second round of shots.

Samoudi didn't witness Abu Akleh get shot. She was killed in the second round of gunfire, after trying to take cover. Samoudi wasn't helped by anyone. He wasn't pinned down for ten minutes of gunfire. 

And he wasn't hit in the lower back. He was grazed in the shoulder, as his own video at the hospital shows quite clearly, rushing from that same car to the emergency room where he videos everything.

Here you can see his wound on his left shoulder:

But AP reported weeks later, based on his "testimony:" 

Samoudi said the soldiers fired a warning shot, causing him to duck and run backwards. The second shot hit him in the back. Abu Akleh was shot in the head and appears to have died instantly, 

.... Samoudi says the bullet that struck him shattered, leaving some fragments inside his back. 
Sounds dramatic. And provably false.

The New York Times was somewhat more accurate in what his injury was, but still exaggerating it:
“They’re shooting at us,” Mr. Samoudi shouted. He turned around, he said, and felt his back explode as a bullet pierced his protective vest and tore through his left shoulder.

“‘Ali’s been hit, Ali’s been hit!’” Ms. Abu Akleh shouted, Mr. Samoudi recalled. It was the last time he would hear her voice.
No female voice can be heard in the video.

It appears likely that Samoudi was hit from the front in the first volley - he made up the story of a warning shot, turning around and being hit from behind because that makes Israeli soldiers look worse. (Later he said there were no warning shots.) 

He said that the soldiers were on rooftops of buildings before he knew that there were no soldiers in buildings - so that part of his "testimony" disappeared after May 11. 

And AP shows him, absurdly, in a wheelchair eight days later in the same spot. He clearly never needed a wheelchair - he ran quite quickly about 20 meters in ten seconds to the car after supposedly being "shot in the lower back."

His posing in a wheelchair is pure Pallywood.

By the time the New York Times interviewed him, it was already clear that he was an accomplished liar. Yet they still quote him as if he is a credible witness.

But here's the thing: Ali Samoudi is not an anomaly. Most Palestinian witnesses to events, when they give their names, will say what the Palestinian Authority or Hamas want them to say. They are conditioned to always blame Israel no matter what, even when evidence points to Palestinian terrorist culpability.  After all these years, one would think that reporters would treat Palestinian "eyewitness" testimony with the knowledge that they are often either enthusiastic accomplices in trying to make up stories about Israel (as Samoudi has been) or frightened of saying something that their leaders do not want to be said.

(h/t Gail)

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