Justice, Rachel Corrie style

Last year, I watched a video called Death in Gaza, shot by a British film maker.  It was a sympathetic portrayal of Palestinian families, with a special focus on young boys and their fascination with emulating the Hamas killers.  The video ended in a No-Man's land, with a fire fight between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians.  The film maker died during this firefight.  A British jury has now announced that an Israeli soldier "murdered" James Miller:

A British cameraman shot dead in the Gaza Strip by an Israeli soldier was murdered, an inquest jury has decided.

James Miller, 34, from Devon, was shot by a soldier from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) while making a film in a Palestinian refugee camp in 2003.

An Israeli investigation in April 2005 cleared a soldier of misusing firearms.

Coroner Andrew Reid had told the jury at St Pancras Coroner's Court, London, on Thursday to return a verdict of unlawful killing.

He said they had to decide in the context of the case whether he had been murdered or was a victim of manslaughter.

After around an hour of deliberation, the jury decided that Mr Miller had been deliberately shot on the night of 2 May 2003.

A jury spokeswoman said: "We, the jury, unanimously agree this was an unlawful shooting with the intention of killing Mr James Miller.

"Therefore we can come to no other conclusion than that Mr Miller was indeed murdered."


The inquest was shown part of the Emmy award-winning film Death In Gaza, recorded by Mr Miller's team before his death.

Mr Miller, originally from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, had been making a film about Palestinian children in the Rafah refugee camp.

It included footage by an Associated Press cameraman, who captured the moment when Mr Miller was shot.

He was trying to ask the soldiers if it was safe to leave the area when he was fatally wounded in the neck.

Israel, fairly typically, decided to be its own worst PR enemy by refusing to make available any witnesses to defend itself, leaving all the witnesses coming from the Palestinian side.  Somehow, under these circumstances, I find it hard to imagine that there was no witness bias: 

Mr Anderson said: "Israel has been uncooperative with the Metropolitan Police in that they haven't allowed us access to interview soldiers and witnesses."

He said the Metropolitan Police investigation had to see witnesses who had already been interviewed by the IDF, such as reporter Saira Shah, and relied on reports from the pathologist and ballistic experts.

Witness bias notwithstanding, here's the wrap-out:  a reporter goes into a war zone, gets himself in the middle of a fire fight, is (regrettably, of course) killed, and then he's celebrated as a martyr to the Palestinian cause, murdered by Israeli soldiers.  This has a very Rachel Corrie smell to it.

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  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    I think what actually happened was that the Palestinians waited until the British guy had a lot of film, then they ordered the AP camera man to video tape the British guy as he went near the IDF, and then the Palestinians shot the British guy after the signal was given.

    It’s what I would do in the Pali’s shoes, if I was willing to betray anyone like they were. This reminds me of Arabic suicide bombers, which are many times people who were douped into believing they were going to go to Jihad. Except they wired his car with a bomb and blew it up from remote when they told him to go to a certain place. This is cause they ran out of real fanatics I guess.

    The propaganda value would be very good to have the IDF seen to be shown killing a Briton, since the Israeli’s are not good at counter-propaganda and won’t defend themselves. A lot of money in Briton. And the footage shot by the Briton earlier, would attach you emotionally to the Briton.

    There’s ruthlessness, and then there’s just crazy barbaric betrayals. The Palestinians crossed that line a long long time ago.

  • jg

    I can’t stomach the idea of reporters as martyrs. Sorry. No tears here.
    Liars, yes;killers sometimes.
    I have a real problem with the British public as well, since they are incapable of taking a moral stand..
    I MEAN they have on the whole not supported their OWN fighting troops. That is the millstone we Americans hang around the Left/anti war in our country. In Britain, who can guess?
    I suspect (and desperately hope differently) that the British will support Palestinians/terror anyway they can. Sick society, or maybe fear?.. Ask Mark Steyn.

    I trust the British legal system, of course, far less than ours (and we’re more than untrustworthy on many fronts.) So this whole setup seems to smack of a Leftist trumped up war trial.

    Also worth noting: as we have seen in the Mayor of London, SS Harry, and the decadent English elite, there is likely present in the mix more than a trace of racist anti Semitism.

  • http://whypalestiniansgetitwrong.blogspot.com why palestinians getit wrong
  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Hmmm. Rachel Corrie jokes? I’m no fan of that woman — I think she her moral values were sufficiently skewed to get her pretty close to the moniker “evil.” I’m not a fan of jokes about dead people, though, which is bizarre when you think about it: I’m willing to insult her, but not willing to jokingly insult her. I’ll think through soon what the difference is between the two.

  • JLA

    I too have a great deal of respect for the British legal system, but where does the London Metropolitan Police get the authority to investigate a wrongful death in Israel? I’m no authority, but I couldn’t imagine a US grand jury ruling on a murder in a foreign country. I wonder if this decsion has any force of law, or is it just a show trial for the benefit of Red Ken’s constituency.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Maybe you just don’t think it is funny, BW. You’ll say what you believe, but only because you think it is true and serious, but not something you would want to laugh about.

    Well, if the US had jurisdiction and sought to protect American citizens abroad, Aruba would have been handled much differently. But we don’t have the Imperial apparatus of Britain. We’re not used to sending citizens to foreign countries and legally being able to protect those citizen’s rights through law, diplomacy, and military threats. The British has this tradition, but as you can see, it has no teeth.