|Anne Waddington told Al Jazeera that the years since
James was killed had been “very, very difficult”
Israel has asked the British attorney-general for more information about analysis of a videotape filmed at the time James Miller, a British documentary maker, was killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003
Al Jazeera’s Barbara Serra spoke to Anne Waddington, the sister of James Miller.
Barbara Serra: This letter that the British attorney-general has received today from the Israeli attorney-general asking for information is being described as a breakthrough. What do you think?
Anne Waddington: I’m afraid I don’t share the same enthusiasm for this response.
The information that they are actually requesting, they have had themselves for four and a half years now and the only difference is that their analysis was obviously commensurate with their intention to evade responsibility.
But what they can’t avoid is that a very legitimate police analysis in this country has concluded where all the shots came from, which must cause them considerable concern.
BS: How have the past few years been for you and your family?
AW: Every day has been full of extraordinary pain at losing such a loved and cherished member of our family.
It’s also been very, very difficult with the struggle for justice because we find that our hopes are raised, but then inevitably they are dashed. Every time we think we are going to get some sort of breakthrough and it doesn’t happen.
BS: He was an experienced documentary maker, he would have known the risks involved. His death is undeniably a tragedy, but is it not just perhaps part of the ongoing violence in areas like Gaza?
AW: Absolutely not, there can be no question at all. As the 11 members of the jury at my brother’s inquest last year so firmly concluded, this was premeditated murder.
As you saw on the clip, there is in fact a 13-second lapse during which Lieutenant Hib al-Heib (we know his identity) chooses his weapon. He actually admits choosing his weapon for greater accuracy and he aimed and fired during that 13 seconds of deliberation in order to focus in on the one exposed area on my brother’s body.
It was a classic sniper shot, my brother was wearing a helmet and full flak-jacket and there was just that one tiny exposed area. This was an intentional killing.
BS: Israel, however, insists that James was killed in crossfire. What next? Are you happy with what the British government is doing for you or would you want them to do more?
AW: Actually, I just wish to amend that. I didn’t realise that the Israelis were still trying to rely on that early propaganda. That was a story they put out, right at the outset, with the hope of blaming a Palestinian because they suggested that James had been shot in the back by a Palestinian and then amended that to during crossfire.
That was discounted very early on and they, in fact, have admitted at a very high level that that was misinformation put out intentional at the outset.
But I don’t think they are really standing by that because even the APTN footage shows very clearly that there was silence. And all of the official findings, even the Israeli official findings, are that there was silence at the time and James was killed through no fault of his own.
So, I think that is unfortunate propaganda, if they are having to peddle it now it shows they are feeling uncomfortable. But we would ask the British government to continue exerting pressure on the Israelis until we actually have some sort of constructive response not a further delay.