Regardless of the outcome of today’s verdict on the killing of Tom Hurndall, the International Solidarity Movement, London maintains that justice cannot been served while the culture of impunity in the Israeli army remains intact. Tom was one of hundreds of civilians killed in Rafah alone in the past four years. He was shot whilst trying to get children out of the line of Israeli army gunfire. As he bent down to pick up a young boy, he was shot in the head.
Human rights activist, Raphael Cohen (39), who was with Tom on the day of the shooting said, “On the very street where Tom was shot, two children had been shot just days before. This is why he and the rest of the group went to that spot, to protest against the shooting of children as they played outside their homes. There has never been any investigation into the shootings of those children.”
Last month, two Palestinian teenagers were shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the village of Biet Liqya near Ramallah. Adi Asi, 15 years old and Jamal Asi, 14 years old, were killed as the soldiers who were guarding the Apartheid Wall surrounding the village shot at the group of children. They were killed with live bullets to the chest and abdomen. Witnesses said they were playing football.
Recent Human Rights watch Report
As Human Rights Watch state in their recent report, “Promoting Impunity, The Israeli Military’s Failure to Investigate Wrongdoing”, “Pressure for a proper investigation rises every time a high-profile killing takes place, but Israeli authorities have taken no serious steps to improve the accountability of the armed forces, create an independent investigation system, or reform the military justice system.”
According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, between the beginning of the intifada and the end of November 2004, 3,040 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, including 606 children. According to Human Rights Watch, “The number of official investigations into alleged wrongful use of lethal force equals just two percent of the total number killed and only 15 percent of the number of children killed, despite the fact that many deaths occurred in non-combat circumstances and the extreme unlikelihood that many of the children killed were legitimate targets.”
The investigation into Tom’s killing was the result of a long hard process by his family and supporters to pressurise the Israeli government into providing answers. Without the family’s unrelenting efforts and personal investigations, this trial would not have happened.
No Human Rights for Palestinians
Israel has no national human rights institution, nor any independent commissioner for complaints about human rights violations committed by the army. Meanwhile, the government of Israel continues to deny entry to human rights activists, witnesses and journalists and deports those who take part in non-violent demonstrations against the seizure of Palestinian land and destruction of homes.
We, at ISM London, are calling to the people of Britain to do what our government refuses to do, to demand justice for the Palestinians. Britain continues to supply military equipment to Israel to be used in its campaign against the civilian Palestinian population. We urge people to put pressure on the government and people of Israel via economic boycott, to end the killings, withdraw the settlements, end the occupation and allow the people of Palestine and Israel to have a peaceful and prosperous future. This will be impossible while the occupation continues. Without justice there can be no peace.
Visit the ISM London website at http://www.ism-london.co.uk
Download the Human Rights Watch report (pdf):
“Promoting Impunity: The Israeli Military’s Failure to Investigate Wrongdoing”
Download the summary & recommendations in Arabic (pdf) here.