soldier who killed Tom Hurndall has been convicted of manslaughter on June
27th, 2005 More than 2 years after Tom was shot.
The following is a statement
from International Solidarity Movement:
The Tom Hurndall Shooting - The International Solidarity Movement
comments upon the verdict:
acknowledges that though the Israeli military court has found Wahid Taysir
guilty of manslaughter it has failed to question the policy and decision
makers responsible for Tom's murder and the murder of thousands of other
want us to remember him. But we also know he'd want us to remember that
thousands of innocent Palestinians have died under similar circumstances.
These people's deaths have not been investigated, and have often been lied
about, claiming the victims to be combatants or explained away with empty
phrases like "caught in the crossfire" or "tragic accident."
tribute to the courage and determination of the Hurndall family, who
despite their grief, fought for justice, and overcame every obstacle the
Israeli Government and Army put in front of them.
renews its demand for an independent investigation of the murder of
American ISM volunteer Rachel Corrie in Rafah who was crushed to death by
an Israel military bulldozer on March 16, 2003, a few weeks before Tom was
Hurndall is never far from our thoughts, and he continues to inspire our
Palestinian, Israeli, and International volunteers as we begin our Freedom
Summer 2005 campaign in the Occupied Territories.
Phone: 972 2 2971824
Please consider a special contribution to continue non-violent
direct action in Palestine, and to help bring real peace and justice to the
region. Support the International Solidarity Movement. Go
"Does [Tony Blair]
regard the children of Palestine as children of a lesser god?"--Jocelyn
Hurndall, mother of Tom Hurndall
On April 11th, 2003, Tom Hurndall
was fatally wounded by an Israeli military sniper in Rafah, Gaza. Hundreds of
unarmed Palestinian civilians have been shot by Israeli military personnel,
yet very few have resulted in any legal action against them. It is
only due to the pressure exerted by the public, and some pressure by the
British government, that anything came of the investigation into the
shooting of Tom. How long before similar pressure is exerted in the
investigation of Rachel Corrie's death by the U.S. government? And how
long will it be before similar pressure for an investigation into the
killing and maiming of Palestinian civilians, all done with the funding of
the United States?
Since the writing of the
article below by Tom's mother, Tom Hurndall has died, making the shooting a
homicide. In between Tom's shooting in April and his death on January
13th, well over 400 Palestinians have been killed, and an occupation
continues that is destroying their collective life.
What Price a Life?
Guardian (Jan 12, 2004)
Israeli army shot my son, and the toll continues to rise
In the pensive hours of the
night, I am struck by the varying values that mankind chooses to allot to
life - as was my son Tom.
Earlier this month, I read with mixed feelings the news that local
Palestinian militia had dynamited an Israeli defence force watchtower in the
town of Rafah, in the Gaza Strip. It was from this watchtower, which has
been responsible for untold misery to many innocent families in Rafah, that
Tom was shot in the head last April. At the time he was trying to help
Palestinian children to safety. He now lies in a vegetative state in a
hospital in London with no hope of recovery.
This week we learned that the Israeli soldier who has been arrested for the
shooting is alleged to have smoked cannabis with his battalion. As last year
was drawing to a close, a phone call from the British Foreign Office
informed me that, under interrogation, this soldier has confessed to
shooting my son, knowing he was an unarmed civilian. He claimed that the
shot was meant as a "deterrent". From what? From rescuing children? Had he
been so conditioned that an act of humanity could only inspire in him such a
I felt no sense of relief then but, for the first time, allowed myself to
feel increasing anger. The IDF's inability to differentiate between friend
and foe, truth and untruth, and to see themselves as they are seen, is clear
I read the observations recorded in Tom's Middle-East journals. They show a
young man determined to be open-minded, to understand and, above all, to
make a difference. He had come to understand, as we do now, the customary
illegal, inhuman retribution exacted by the IDF from this particular
watchtower on the local community, little realising how it was to leave him
a thread away from death.
It seems that life is cheap in the occupied territories. Different value
attached to life depends on whether the victim happens to be Israeli,
international or Palestinian. This has been exemplified recently by the
reaction of the Israeli public to the shooting of an Israeli peace activist,
fresh out of his three-year military police service, demonstrating against
the illegal "security" fence. Two days later an announcement was made that a
military police inquiry was to be held into the shooting. Questions were
raised in the Knesset. This is in stark contrast to the six months of
campaigning that it took for an inquiry to be launched into the shooting of
There have been thousands of killings in Palestine since the intifada, with
only a handful having the benefit of an investigation. Now, a three-week
occupation of Nablus (the largest city in Palestine) has left a further 19
people dead and dozens of homes and buildings destroyed, leaving scores of
innocent people homeless, all on a pretext of searching for a terror
When will those responsible accept that it is illegal to collectively and
obsessively punish a whole community? Has the hard-nosed Sharon government
made connections between the horror of the Holocaust and the current brutal
incursions? Countless insightful Israelis, Palestinians and people the world
over have done so. Is it surprising that Israel was voted the most dangerous
threat to world peace in a recent European Union poll?
It hurts me to hear the deafening silence of our own government. How can
there have been no statement of condemnation or condolence for the innocent
victims of Israel's mindless violence from our own prime minister, Tony
Blair? The silence was only broken when on Christmas day the United States
president "strongly condemned" the actions of the suicide bombers
responsible for killing four Israeli soldiers at a bus stop just outside Tel
Aviv. Does this double standard not underline the lack of regard in which
both the British and US governments hold Palestinian life?
So I have questions to ask of Tony Blair. Does he regard the children of
Palestine as children of a lesser god? Does he accept that such inaction is
tantamount to complicity in the process of destroying any peace initiative
in the Middle East? Mr Blair, you know now that an Israeli soldier has
confessed to shooting in cold blood an unarmed British citizen who was
trying to shepherd children away to safety. When will you be ready to openly
condemn these actions?
Jocelyn Hurndall is on the committee of the Thomas Hurndall Foundation,
which campaigns for justice for the Palestinian people.
For more info, go to the
Tom Hurndall website.