- Written by Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
- Published: 06 March 2017 06 March 2017
The fight to hold Israel accountable for tragedies inflicted upon Palestinian families will be taken a step further on March 15, 2017, as the Abuelaish Trial for Accountability and Responsibility vs. Israel finally begins in Beer el-Sabe District Court.
Gaza obstetrician Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s civil lawsuit seeking an apology and compensation has been pending in Israeli courts since December 2010. On Jan. 16, 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, Israeli shells hit his family home, killing his three daughters and niece.
Israelis heard Dr. Abuelaish’s anguished cries for help as they were broadcast live on Shlomi Eldar’s TV program. Eldar helped get an ambulance to Abuelaish’s home in time to save a fourth daughter who was grievously wounded. The tragedy was rebroadcast around the world and shamed Israel into halting that year’s attacks on Gaza.
After his daughters Bessan (21), Mayar (15) and Aya (13) and niece Noor (17) were killed, Dr. Abuelaish began to seek an apology from the Israeli government for the grief and sorrow inflicted on his family. The Israeli government refused to take responsibility for the girls’ deaths, stating that they were killed in “an operation of war,” and that therefore it would not acknowledge any blame.
Dr. Abuelaish refused to accept this, however. He filed the lawsuit and also wrote a book in 2010 called I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey (available from the Middle East Books and More bookstore), and a play based on his book, spreading awareness of the tragedy that his family dealt with at the hands of the Israeli government, and providing an example of the pain Palestinians endure. He also founded the Daughters for Life Foundation in his daughters’ memory, which awards scholarships to women throughout the Middle East, giving them the opportunity for higher education.
Abuelaish and his surviving daughters are scheduled to testify on March 15 and 19, with the final day of the trial set for April 19. Abuelaish wishes to extend an offer to the international community of legal analysts, journalists, scholars and activists alike to attend the trials and provide support and raise public awareness. Even if you are unable to attend the trial in Israel, you can take to social media such as Twitter and Facebook to voice your support for Abuelaish’s case. Any proceeds awarded from the trial will be used to continue the funding of Daughters for Life.
For more information, see the March/April 2016 Washington Report www.wrmea.org/2016-march-april/i-shall-not-hate-a-palestinian-doctors-parable.html.