Gaza doctor's appeal for apology heard by top Israeli court

Gaza doctor's appeal for apology heard by top Israeli court
2 min read
15 November, 2021
A Palestinian doctor is demanding an official apology from Israel after a 2009 airstrike in the besieged Gaza Strip killed a number of his daughters and a relative
For 13 years, Izzeldin Abuelaish has sought justice for what he says was a "terrible mistake" by the Israeli army [Toronto Star/Getty]

A Palestinian doctor appealed to Israel's Supreme Court on Monday to order the military to issue an official apology and compensation for a 2009 Israeli strike in Gaza that killed three of his daughters and a niece.

For 13 years, Izzeldin Abuelaish has sought justice for what he says was a "terrible mistake" by the Israeli army. A tank strike on his home during the 2009 Israeli offensive on Gaza killed his daughters Aya, 14, Bessan, 21, and Mayar, 15, as well as his niece Noor, 17. Another daughter survived but was wounded.

The military has claimed the strike was aimed at militants in the area, and in 2018, a lower court sided with the army. Now Israel's Supreme Court is hearing Abuelaish's long-delayed appeal.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom before the hearing, Abuelaish said he felt his daughters were with him and that he was "coming to advocate for the truth and their rights".

"I hope today this court (will) not kill them again," he said.

Abuelaish, who moved to Canada after the tragedy, was a well-known figure in Israel when the strike occurred.

The Harvard-educated doctor and peace activist had worked at an Israeli hospital while living in the Gaza Strip.

During the 2009 offensive - which left up to 1,400 Palestinians dead - he provided live updates to Israeli media in fluent Hebrew.

But when his home was hit, an Israel TV station delivered a real-time report from a sobbing Abuelaish to Israelis. "My daughters have been killed," he cried as a journalist listened at the other end of the line as the audio aired live.

Later Monday, the Supreme Court hearing adjourned without a decision.