Shuafat Violence – Geolocating Israel Police’s FUBAR
Last week I posted the video showing the firing of a Carlo sub machine gun towards a police checkpoint in Shuafat.
A day later, Ynet picked up the story as well, and added interesting new information. The following is a translation of the interesting parts:
Witnesses to this event say the gunfire was aimed at a Border Police position only a few tens of meters away. “This isn’t the first time they shoot at it, they even fired twice towards Pisgat Ze’ev” said residents of the camp, who asked to be unnamed for fear they’d be hurt. Since Operation Protective Edge, gunfire from the camp was aimed at nearby Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood several times, residents assume it’s members of the same group.
“Inside the camp there are several armed teams of Hamas and other [terror] organizations. The camp is full of weapons. The teams are armed with M-16s, Kalashnikovs, Carl Gustavs pistols [This is the Carlo SMG, mistakenly called that way. J.D] and other types” they say in Shuafat. In a remarkable turn of events, residents of the camp oppose those armed teams and their actions, for fear of collective punishment, but they say requests made to police to act against them were ignored. “We sent complaints and warned senior police officers, even the district chief, that Shuafat camp is full of weapons that might be used against the police and against the Jewish residents of nearby neighborhood, but no one has responded. What are they waiting for? For someone to die?”
The residents stated that they fear that if there is a deadly incident they will be the ones to pay the price. “If something will happen here, we will lose because they will tighten the checkpoints and there will be raids by the police and the army against the residents. We demand that the police will come in and clear the camp of weapons, to act against those teams”. The residents emphasized that they can’t deal with the matter by themselves for fear of reprisals in the camp and clan feuds.
The main reason that lead to Shuafat camp being a no-mans-land is that, although there is a checkpoint separating it and Jerusalem, there is practically no control over its other entrance, near the village of Anata. Therefore Palestinians from the West Bank can enter freely without check. That’s why the camp has become a hub of crime and terror that the police is finding it difficult to deal with.
In response to the complaints and the video, Jerusalem Police Department stated that the angle of filming doesn’t make it possible to verify the exact location it was taped from. “Furthermore, no event of gunfire against police forces in Shuafat is known from that day. Jerusalem PD and Border police are operating in the camp, and during the operations dozens of suspects were arrested on suspicion of possessing weapons, drug trafficking, homicide and assault. Moreover, weapons and armaments were seized. The police is also acting from the neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev to protect its residents and to stop gunfire”
I’ll come back to the bolded part about not being able to locate where the original video was filmed in a moment.
All in all, I commend the statements of some the residents. Yet to fully grasp why the police refrains from entering the camp, look at a typical scenario that entails when they do :
Yet the most distressing part in the article is the police spokesperson remark about them not being able to identify the exact location. That is B.S. It took me no more than 5 minutes to find the exact spot.
Let’s start with the obvious, Shuafat camp.
This screenshot is taken from the Jerusalem municipality digital map
Zooming in closer, the only area where an incident between residents and police may occur is at the entrance of the camp:
By the low angle of the sun in the video, and the direction it is coming from, one can deduce it’s afternoon, hence the sun is coming from west. So general directions are: Street on a east-west route, and firing left across the corner – shooting south. Let’s zoom in further and pin-point the location:
The checkpoint is at the bottom left, so the gunman was firing from behind one of the buildings a few meters to the north. In the video, you could see cars turning right in front of him, and an open-ish square. which means the gunman was most probably firing from the position marked with a red cross.
Let’s verify with images on the ground.
A good source of readily available images is geotagged Panoramio photos in Google Earth. One such photo is this.
It was taken from the building with the grey roof, closest to the traffic circle and the pillbox – the most probable target for the gunman.
Another good source for photos is a simple image search of the Arabic name of Shuafat camp – ???? ?????.
Let’s take a look at that screenshot again: one can see a stone paved sidewalk, several square yellow metal poles few meters apart, with an arched roofing, and some kind of flower pot at the end.
Yellow poles, arched roof, flower pot. Equate this image to the aerial image, and it becomes pretty obvious the location is right.
What other images of this place can I find?
A guy holding a Hamas flag in the same location at the entrance to the camp. Note the dozen or so masked youth.
A police unit with riot dispersal equipment, once again, in the exact same location: Yellow poles, arched roof, flower pot.
A similar Arabic search of YouTube would have found the next two videos. I have uploaded them to my channel, though they are still easily searchable with the Arabic term.
The first one shows what a riot with petrol bombs being thrown about looks like.
This one, taken from the tall building abutting from the east of the corner building, shows another riot, and the following rock shower hobby.
In this video you can see the checkpoint, the square, the roofed sidewalk, as well as other definitive proof of the location of the gunmen.
That Israeli police claim they can’t identify the location is a lie. The troops patrolling that place know it well, and the police chiefs are aware of the constant riots and police operations there. It took me all of 5 minutes to identify the exact spot, and explain to Israellycool’s audience who’ve never been there.
The Police spokesperson’s statement to the press is a sorry attempt to mask their incompetence. It is yet another FUBAR by the police’s non-field units. Amidst their computer screens and A/C units, the clerks and desk people seem blind to reality.
The ever increasing gunfire from Shuafat reported on by residents of Pisgat Ze’ev is being ignored. As is so tragically the case in this part of the world, unless someone dies, rules and laws will remain as they are, and the Shuafat gunmen will find another opportunity to shoot at Israelis without fear.