Scenario 1: Direct Hit
If the lethal round struck Mr. Abu Rahma directly without deflecting off of any part of the fence, it would have had to been fired at a launch angle of -1 to 1 degree.
Scenario 2: Fence Deflection
If the lethal round first hit a wire in the fence, changed direction, and then struck Mr. Abu Rahma, it would have had to been fired at -1 to 5 degrees. If shot at an angle over 5 degrees the round would have passed over the fence. To hit the fence when firing at sixty degrees the soldier would have had to have been standing no more than two meters from the fence. Based on an analysis of the positions of soldiers apparent throughout the video footage, the distance between the soldiers and the fence exceeded 2 meters.
Civilian footage played a crucial role in the event’s reconstruction, as the projectile’s path was captured in one protestor’s video footage, filmed one meter away from Abu Rahma when he was struck. By extrapolating information on the video’s picture plane and from what was known about the videographer’s position on the site, Situ was able to identify a range of locations from which the rocket could have been fired.
Three different views of the event captured by civilian onlookers.
1) Position of Videographer David Reeb
2) Red dashed line highlighting the path of projectile across video still.
3) Path of the projectile extended into space at the height of the camera, defining a virtual plane in yellow.
4) Red triangular plane highlights section of the yellow projectile plane that intersects with the camera's field of view.
5) Projectile plane intersected by lines converging on Abu Rahma's torso, limited by David Reeb to the south and the edge of the video frame to the north.
6) Resulting yellow arc shows possible firing positions of the lethal projectile.
The result of the video analysis, when mapped onto a 3D model, provides an accurate reconstruction of the spatial constraints of the situation.
(a) Zone of direct fire: -1˚ to 1˚ firing angle (b) Zone of fence deflection: -1˚ to 5˚ firing angle
In addition to this spatial modeling, a parametric tool was developed that allowed key variables in the ballistic equation to be easily modified, updated and visualized. The equation for projectile motion was input into Grasshopper - a graphical algorithm editor, and mapped onto digital model of the protest site. This provided further evidence that the projectile could not have been launched at an angle of 60˚.
Left: Grasshopper definition controlling launch algorithm. Right: 3D model with various launch angles visualized.
In March 2013, after 3 years of waiting for results of the internal inquiry, Bassem Abu Rahma's mother, Subhiya Abu Rahma, petitioned the Military Advocate General, Major General Danny Efroni, to reach a decision in the case and to prosecute the soldier who fired the weapon. The petition was filed jointly between the Bil'In Village Council, B'Tselem and Yesh Din and demanded a hearing and an end to the waiting period. Situ's collaborators, attorneys Emily Schaeffer and Michael Sfard, note that the refusal to reach a decision in the case over such a long period is unreasonable according to international law that states investigations into human rights violations must be effective, take place without delay, and are completed promptly. Finally, in September of 2013, Major General Danny Efroni issued an official statement that the case was being closed and that no further investigation or indictment would take place.