Five years ago today, 22-year old photography student Tom Hurndall was gunned down by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, while holding up his empty hands and pleading with the soldiers to stop shooting at a group of young children. On the fifth anniversary of his death, Hurndall's parents have challenged the Israeli government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Jocelyn and Anthony Hurndall, Tom Hurndall's parents, demanded a meeting this week with the Israeli ambassador in London. They are seeking compensation and a formal apology for their son's murder, and are also attempting to gather evidence to file charges of war crimes against several Israeli military officers.
Although there was a trial in the case, Hurndall's parents claim the trial was merely for show, and tried to put blame on an individual soldier when in fact it is the Israeli military's policies that are to blame for their son's death.
In their letter to the Israeli ambassador, they stated, "We claim that the denial to the family of fair and just compensation amounts to supporting a policy of indifference and disregard for … innocent civilians. This can lead to an international criminal responsibility for whoever acknowledges such an attitude.”
They said they had faced a “wall of deceit and fabrication over the shooting” before the trial and were now facing “a further debilitating and prolonged battle to get meaningful compensation”.
“In the last five years we have had nothing but barriers and obstruction from the Israelis,” said Jocelyn Hurndall in a statement to the press. After their son was murdered, the Israeli government at first denied the incident completey. Only after extended pressure did they hold an internal trial, convicted one soldier to eight years in prison for manslaughter, and paid for the repatriation of Hurndall's body (although the check the Israeli government wrote to the Hurndalls for this purpose bounced).