Hurndall father wants Hague meeting

By Jennifer Lipman, July 20, 2010
Tom Hurndall

Tom Hurndall

The father of a British activist shot in the Gaza Strip has said he wants to meet the Foreign Secretary to discuss the British government's "weak response" to his killer’s early release.

Tom Hurndall was shot while volunteering in Rafah for the International Solidarity Movement in 2003. In 2005 the man responsible, a former Israeli soldier called Taysir-al-Heib, was jailed for eight years for the “unlawful killing”.

But following news that Mr al-Heib’s sentence will be commuted, Tom’s father Anthony called for a meeting with William Hague and the attorney general, Dominic Grieve.

Mr Hurndall said he wants the British government to place more pressure on Israel over civilian casualties.

Noting a statement from the British Foreign Office which acknowledged the “grief” the early release would cause, he said: “That rather weak response should act as a trigger to a meeting.

“We want the British government to help ensure that senior officers are bought to account and prosecuted."

Mr Hurndall added: "We are not anti-Israeli or pro-Palestinian.

“Nothing is going to happen to resolve issues between the Israel and the Palestinians unless there is a degree of honesty and fact-facing.”

Other family members have also criticised the Israeli army committee’s decision to free Mr al-Heib 18 months early.

Tom's mother, Jocelyn told a radio station that it showed Israel was more concerned with herself than the pursuit of justice.

His sister Sophie Hurndall told the Ha’aretz newspaper the family was “angry and shocked” but that they had feared this might happen.

She said she could not believe “that my own government can sit by and keep quiet."

Israel’s Military Advocate General has already warned that the decision will hurt relations between Israel and the UK.

Last updated: 3:57pm, July 20 2010