Israeli Soldier Who Killed Tom Hurndall Granted Early Release

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Tom Hurndall

We have to agree with Tom’s mother: ‘Israel doesn’t care about justice’, and his father who has called for a meeting with William Hague.

21-year old Tom Hurndall was shot in the head in April 2003 as he was helping Palestinian children to cross a street in Rafah, Gaza. In 2005 the Israeli soldier, Taysir-al-Heib, was jailed for eight years for manslaughter.

Read ISM’s press release: Early release of Tom Hurndall’s killer symptom of wider Israeli crimes

The Foreign Office gave a typically weak response, from the Guardian:

“Taysir was part of a policy and was not the principal culprit,” Anthony Hurndall said. “The issue is that the Israeli army are uncaring of civilian safety.”

In a statement the Foreign Office said: “We note the court’s decision to release Taysir Hayb and recognise the grief this decision will cause to the Hurndall family. We have the deepest of sympathies for the Hurndall family. Tom’s death was a tragedy.”

Hurndall described the statement as tame. He said: “I would like them to say that this is not just a tragedy but that the Isreali government is directly responsibility for Tom’s death and should acknowledge this and take steps to put matters right by changing policies to ensure that civilians are not shot or killed indiscriminately. I’m disappointed they could have said it more forcefully.”

He added: “We would now like a meeting with William Hague and the attorney general. That rather weak response should act as a trigger to a meeting. We want the British government to help ensure that senior officers are bought to account and prosecuted.”

Speaking for the Hurndall family, he said: “We are not anti-Israeli or pro-Palestinian. Our deep concern here is that nothing is going to happen to resolve issues between the Israel and the Palestinians unless there is a degree of honesty and fact-facing and balance restored.

“War crimes have been committed and continue to be committed in Gaza.”

Hurndall’s sister Sophie told Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper that she was “angry and shocked” by the early release of Hayb.

But she said she blamed the Israeli military rather than Hayb.

“It’s about the system. Not the man himself,” she told Haaretz. “This man who shot Tom was the same age as him. He is both the victim and the killer. He is part of a system that proactively encouraged soldiers to target civilians.”

Read more: Family of Briton killed by Israeli soldier demand meeting with ministers

UK readers should watch Channel 4‘s documentary: The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall

Tom’s mother, Jocelyn, has written a book My Son Tom: The Life and Tragic Death of Tom Hurndal and the family has a website, Tom Hurndall Foundation.

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