The mother of a young British activist shot in the Gaza strip has accused the Israeli military of scapegoating a soldier charged over her son's killing, and army commanders of a cover-up, as a yearlong trial drew to an end yesterday.
Israel blames British doctors for killing man they shot in the head
Jocelyn Hurndall criticised the army's handling of the court martial of Sergeant Wahid Taysir, 20, who is charged with manslaughter and conduct unbecoming a soldier after he shot Tom Hurndall in the head as he shepherded children to safety from gunfire in Rafah refugee camp two years ago.
Mr Hurndall, 22, was flown to London in a persistent vegetative state and died of pneumonia nine months later.
Sgt Taysir is also charged with obstructing justice for falsely telling army investigators that Mr Hurndall was wearing camouflage and carrying a gun.
The defence sought to shift responsibility for Mr Hurndall's death by claiming that British doctors gave him too much morphine after he was flown to London.
Sgt Taysir faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted when the verdict is announced in a month.
As the trial ended, Mrs Hurndall accused senior army officers of creating a "trigger happy" climate and said the deaths of innocent people were covered up.
"The soldier might be convicted but the trial is not concerned with the wider justice to do with the chain of command and the culture of lies," said Mrs Hurndall outside the Kastina military court. The soldier has said himself that he has been used as a scapegoat ... I'm sure that's what happened."
Mrs Hurndall said there had only been a more thorough investigation because of her family's own efforts and pressure from the British government.
Israel also refused to cooperate with a British coroner's inquiry and barred Mr Hurndall's brother, Billy, from travelling to Israel to investigate the shooting.
"From the start it was a tremendous shock that we were not dealing with authorities who were adamant about getting to the truth," she said.
"You can only conclude that the command colluded in the soldier's original lies, and colluded in it for weeks until they couldn't sustain it any more."
Mrs Hurndall's comments came amid renewed accusations that the military leadership has created a climate of impunity for soldiers who kill civilians.
Last week, a military court sentenced a soldier who shot dead a Palestinian man as he adjusted the television aerial on his roof to 20 months in prison. Last month, the army dropped charges against a soldier who shot dead a British journalist, James Miller, in the Gaza strip.
The Guardian, "Mother of shot activist accuses Israeli army of cover-up", 23 May 2005.
"The Insider" mailing list article, 23 May 2005.
Tags: Israel, shot, head, killed, British, man, Israel, blames, doctors, blamed, morphine, Israeli, cover-up, , conspiracy theories.