LONDON: A British barrister whose son was killed by the Israel Defense Forces says that Israel will lose Western support if it continues its “fundamentally unethical and inhuman attitudes,” The Times reported on Wednesday.
Anthony Hurndall shared information about his son’s shooting, showcasing how Israeli military tactics are responsible for killing innocent people.
Tom Hurndall was a photography student, International Solidarity Movement volunteer and an activist against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
In April 2003, the 22-year-old was shot by IDF sniper Taysir Hayb while assisting Palestinian children caught in the crossfire in Gaza. He was left in a coma and died nine months later.
An investigation revealed that Soroka Hospital’s medical staff removed bullet fragments from Tom’s brain. Initially, the hospital claimed that his injuries were caused by a baseball bat. When that was refuted, the Israeli government claimed he was carrying a weapon and was a gunman.
Hayb was later sentenced to eight years in prison for manslaughter after it was revealed that he thought he was following standard military procedure.
“The investigation further revealed that, as standard practice, the IDF routinely falsely misrepresent civilians and children as militants, or as armed, and fabricate accounts of events as a pretext for their killing,” Hurndall, who is director of the Center for Justice, told The Times.
“These claims appear similar to the claims that the IDF are currently making to justify their bombing, missile and other attacks on civilian targets and hospitals in Gaza. It was the view of those in diplomatic circles, expressed to us at the time, that the IDF appeared to consider themselves immune from accountability and free to misrepresent innocent civilians as legitimate military targets and to target them, as a form of intimidation or collective punishment.”
Hurndall acknowledges the “unrelenting pressure of the UK government and press” for unearthing the mechanisms responsible for his son’s death.
“Unfortunately, Palestinian civilians do not have the resources or support to protect themselves in this way. Western governments and media appear overly willing to accept Israeli accounts and narratives and repeat them,” he said. “In doing so they actively encourage the killing of women and children and are, in my view, themselves complicit in, or at least condoning, the deliberate killing of civilians and war crimes.”
He added: “I have over the years found myself questioning my own support for Israel and find myself increasingly appalled by the accounts of the treatment of Palestinians, and the actions of the IDF and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza, and by the failure of those in the West to question this.
“The narrative portrayed in turn by the media and Western governments appears one-sided and to ignore the facts. My worry is that if Israel does not change fundamentally unethical and inhuman attitudes and policies and stop committing war crimes, it will build up even greater resistance from the Palestinian people and lose the sympathy and support of the West.”
“I wish Israel a happy, secure and prosperous future but it needs to abandon policies which destroy the very prospects of such a future. It will not achieve security through repression and an aggressive use of arms, but make this ever less likely.”