Parents of peace activists fight on

The grieving parents of two international peace activists - one of whom is dead and the other lying in a coma after being shot by the Israeli army - vowed to continue their fight for truth and justice.

    Tom Hurndall's shooting, like the death of Rachel Corrie, was met with international outrage

    Jocelyn Hurndall, mother of Tom Hurndall – who was shot in the head by a sniper whilst attempting to shepherd Palestinian children away from danger – delivered a letter of protest to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, demanding that he pressure Israel to carry out a full and transparent enquiry into the death of her son.

    “As we watched our son on the verge of death, the family submitted to the Israeli Foreign Ministry our own detailed report and request for a fully transparent inquiry,” Jocelyn Hurndall wrote in the letter delivered to the British prime minister Thursday.

    “The family has waited long enough and it is now contingent on Mr Blair as head of state to ensure that there is no further delay in this process,” she added. Tom, who was 21 years old when he was shot, is on a life support machine. He is not expected to recover.

    New book

    Separately, American’s Craig and Cindy Corrie – who have spent the past month walking the same paths as their daughter Rachel did before she was run down and crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in March - said a book has been published to explain why their daughter gave her life to stop the bloodshed.

    The Corrie family said in a statement Thursday that the Peace and Justice Foundation published the tome entitled The Message of Rachel Corrie. The book provides a historical snapshot of the 55 years since Israel was formed.

    “The (Corrie) family is trying to get an official inquiry by the Government into her death. Due to the strength of the Zionist lobby on Capitol Hill they have not yet succeeded”

    Mauri Saalakhan,

    Peace and Justice Foundation

    Rachel Corrie, a Jewish volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement, was crushed in Rafah, Gaza as she tried to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home.

    Both familes said Israel had continued to ignore their request for justice.

    Independent enquiry

    Hurndall’s parents conducted their own investigation into events leading up to the murder of their son. Their probe includes 13 eyewitness testimonies and a substantial body of photographic evidence contradicting the findings of a field report provided by the “Israeli Defence Force” through the British Embassy in Tel Aviv.

    Hurndall's elder sister Sophie last week said Israeli occupation forces failed not only to correctly identify the actual area in which the shooting happened, but also that it insinuated Tom had been dressed in an army uniform at the time of his death.

    Photographic proof shows he was wearing a helmet with the initials TV clearly stencilled on it.

    Last Friday, six months to the day of the shooting, Tom’s brother and sister, William and Sophie, presented a letter of protest addressed to the Israeli Ambassador to Britain, Zvi Schtauber. He did not accept the letter in person.

    International law

    The letter expressed the family’s deep distress and disappointment at the lack of progress and government indifference for basic respect for international law.

    The Ambassador was asked in the communiqué to press the relevant authorities in Israel to ensure that there is no further delay in conducting the inquiry.

    Mauri Saalakhan, a director at The Peace and Justice Foundation in the US, said the Corrie family were deeply disappointed after an Israeli inquiry found Rachel’s death was the result of “a tragic accident but that the victim was responsible.”

    Craig (R) and Cynthia Corrie (2nd R)

    received a portrait of their daughter 
    from Yasir Arafat

    Israel “did conduct an inquiry,” Mauri said in an interview with Aljazeera. “They decided that there was no wrong doing on the part of the soldier driving the digger.”

    Zionist lobby

    “The family is trying to get an official inquiry by the government into her death. Due to the strength of the Zionist lobby on Capitol Hill they have not yet succeeded,” he added.

    Mauri said he expected both the Corrie and the Hurndall families to at some point join together in their pleas for justice.

    Mr and Mrs Corrie have continued much of Rachel’s work in both helping expose the tragedy of the occupation and in showing its impact on the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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