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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