Britain’s Channel 4 has produced a new film about Tom Hurndall, the 21-year-old British activist who was shot in Gaza by an Israeli sniper in 2003. The film documents the efforts by Hurndall’s parents to have Tom’s death investigated and the soldier who shot him brought to justice.
In a preview by Kate Kellaway of the U.K. Guardian, father Anthony Hurndall talks about the pain of observing his own government’s silence about the death, and its lack of pressure on Israel for an investigation. Kellaway writes of Anthony Hurndall:
There is barely suppressed outrage in his voice as he remembers the British government’s failure to protest when Tom was shot: ‘The government viewed Israel as a close ally who they did not want to put out in any way.’
It was only when a Tel Aviv bar was bombed by two British Muslims three weeks after the shooting of Tom in 2003 that Anthony became aware of how skewed the British government’s attitude could be. ‘Jack Straw expressed deep sympathy to the Israelis and promised to put all the resources of the British government at their disposal. This was our government taking responsibility for two people who were not employees of the British government, merely two citizens of Britain who happened to be in Israel.’
But when their own British citizens (Tom, along with Iain Hook, a UN worker shot by an Israeli sniper in November 2002, and James Miller, a documentary-maker shot by an IDF patrol in May 2003) were attacked by Israeli soldiers, there was no outcry (no ministerial interest at all, beyond a standard request, from a junior level, for a proper inquiry). ‘They were shot not by people for whom the Israeli government had no responsibility but by their own soldiers. That, for me, was outrageous.’