Israeli occupation forces continue to deny killing two Palestinian teenagers during a protest marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba (the “catastrophe”) despite video footage showing they were shot in cold blood.

On 15 May, 17-year-old Muhammad al-Thahir and 15-year-old Nadim Nuwarah were shot in the chest while protesting outside of Ofer Prison in the occupied West Bank. CCTV footage revealed that neither youth presented a direct or immediate threat to Israeli soldiers when shot. The video, released by Defence of Children International-Palestine and Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, shows the two boys were shot during a lull in the clashes, while walking near the building.

On 22 May, CNN released a video of Israeli occupation forces firing on Palestinian youth at the time Nuwarah was gunned down. The Israeli military, while continuing to deny the use of live ammunition, has since been forced to admit that a “non-combatant” soldier opened fire at the youth.

The full details of the case are subject to a military gag order that prevents the Israeli media from reporting anything but basic details. Such orders, imposed by the military, are a regular occurrence.

According to Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz, “Israeli military investigators said, however, the shots may have been fired by the Palestinian side, rather than by Israeli troops, and senior Israeli officials said a video of the shootings that has sparked an outcry was likely forged.”

These two contradictory claims are a regular defence by the Israeli military against its documented human rights abuses. Right wing Zionist media and bloggers have since gone on to claim the CCTV footage is the work of “Pallywood” – which implies manipulation or fabrication. Israeli human rights abuses that are documented on film by Palestinians, Palestine supporters and/or the media are routinely derided as Pallywood.

It is a racist anti-Arab term which casts Palestinians as inveterate liars. It’s used to discredit Palestinian claims, while justifying and purifying Israel’s human rights abuses and atrocities.

The term originates with Zionist attempts to discredit television footage that captured the death of 12-year-old Muhammad al-Durah in September 2000. Al-Durah and his father were caught in crossfire between the Israeli military and Palestinian resistance fighters in the first weeks of the second Intifada.

Despite frantic calls by his father to stop firing, Muhammad was shot and died in his father’s arms. Al-Dura’s death has since come to symbolise the more than 1,400 Palestinian children who have been killed by Israel since 2000. At the time, the video made world headlines and caused severe damage to Israel’s public image. Over the last decade, Israel apologists have attempted to discredit the video by claiming the footage was fake and/or the boy was still alive.

On 22 May, in response to the CNN video, former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren also claimed that the CCTV footage of Nuwarah and al-Thahir’s deaths was fabricated. Interviewed on CNN by Wolf Blitzer, who is a former employee of the Zionist lobby group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), Oren stated: “Israel has a lot of experience of pictures like this.”

Despite Nuwarah and al-Thahir’s funerals being documented by international, Israeli and Palestinian media, Oren went on to claim it wasn’t certain that the two boys were dead. Asked by Blitzer whether he was suggesting that “this whole thing was staged”, Oren replied, “We don’t know. We don’t know.”

In response to such claims, B’Tselem released 7.5 hours of uncut footage, establishing “its authenticity and validity”.