ISRAEL: Killing of Thomas Hundall by Israeli Soldiers

Dear Friends

Thomas Hundall, a 22 yr old British Human Rights activist, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip while defending some Palestinian children by standing between them and IDF troops.

Thomas Hundall was a member of the International Solidarity Movement, and is the third international peace activist in less than one month who the Israeli army has killed, or attempted to kill. On 16 March 2003, the 23-year-old American, Rachel Corrie, was killed by a bulldozer in her struggle to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian home in Rafah. On 5 April 2003, Bryan Avery, 24, from New Mexico, was shot in the face in Jenin where he was working as a human shield. Avery survived, but was badly injured. Rachel Corrie and Bryan Avery were both members of the International Solidarity Movement.

Thomas Hundall was declared brain dead on arrival at hospital.

It is highly alarming that Israel is apparently intentionally killing international peace activists. In all three incidents, the intention to kill cannot be denied, as in two cases the soldiers were targeting the head of the victim, while in the other case the victim was run over by a bulldozer. All three victims were clearly visible and marked as international peace activists. In the first two incidents, that of Rachel Corrie and Bryan Avery, Israel tried to persuade the international community that the killings were accidental.

Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community Based Association, is convinced that the intentional murder of international peace activists by Israel is a method of deterring the thousands of volunteers in Israel trying to shelter the Palestinian population. In the past, Israel has continuously targeted Palestinian and international aid workers and journalists, killing or injuring many of them. The targeting of international peace activists, however, is a new phenomenon. The protection of the Palestinian people by internationals was only possible in the past because of the shared conviction that Israel would not dare to attack the internationals. Now, we are witnessing an apparent change of policy where Israel’s methods have escalated to an unprecedented level.

Israel’s targeting of volunteers must be read as a signal to peace activists worldwide that the country is powerful and unscrupulous enough to kill anyone who resists its occupation of Palestine, whatever their intentions or nationality. Thomas Hundall is a victim of Israel’s effort to break Palestinian and international peaceful resistance.

It seems as if Israel has lost its fear of the international community, presuming that no protest or peaceful resistance will occur, and the world will get used to this new reality as they have got used to the daily violence against Palestinians.

Ittijah condemns the killing of Thomas Hundall in Rafah, and denounces Israel’s new policy of the intentional murder of international peace activists. We strongly protest at the violation of human rights by the state of Israel through immediate and unlawful shooting and killing of Palestinians and internationals.

Ittijah urges the international community to oppose the escalation of Israel’s policy. Israel expects the world to remain silent. We urge you to defeat their expectations.

To that end, Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community Based Association, makes the following demands:

To the Israeli government and the Members of Knesset: Immediately stop the policy of targeting and killing international peace activists in order to break international peaceful resistance, and put on trial those responsible.

To international governments and institutions: Use your influence on the government of Israel to stop the inhumane and illegal murder of international peace activists. Protest against the assassination and endangerment of citizens of your country.

To the media: Highlight the second murder of an international peace activist, and pay as much or more attention to this case as to the case of Rachel Corrie. Enlighten the international community about Israel’s policy of killing peace activists as a method in oppressing the Palestinian people. Do not leave this murder unnoticed.

To solidarity groups and organizations: Distribute the information about this murder to all your members and to the community. Encourage protest activities in your community. Use your united influence to put pressure on the Israeli government to stop the killing. Contact your national government and demand action.

To all our friends and comrades: This killing is a message addressed to international solidarity activists. Israel aims to scare those who raise their voice and take direct action for the people of Palestine. Israel expects the majority of people to remain quiet and not speak out against this act, thereby justifying it. Let Israel’s calculation fail this time. Do not consider the killing of peace activists as normal. Do not leave this killing unnoticed. Express your shock and concerns, and protest against this crime. Urge your government to end the occupation and to protect the Palestinian people.

Our hearts are with those who loved Tom Hundall, and who mourn his death. We express our dismay and our respect.

Ittijah – Union of Arab Community Based Associations

P.O. Box 9577, Haifa 31095, Israel

Tel. +972-4-8507110

Fax +972-4-8507241

Thank you.

AHRC Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission

Please send a protest letter (sample follows) to:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Spokesperson of the Prime Minister

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz

Spokesperson Defense Ministry

Foreign Minister Siwan Shalom

cc to:

“Secretary of State, Colin Powell”

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin

Mr. Terje Rod Larsen <,>

European Union, Jerusalem, Email

UN Special Coordinator, Gaza, Email

S?gio Vieira de Mello UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

European Parliament Belgian Office

International Solidarity Movement

Gish Shalom

and/or send a (copy by) fax to some or all of the following:

Israeli Foreign Minister: +972-(0)2-5303506

General Manager Israeli Foreign Ministry: +972-(0)2-5303704

Situation Room Israeli Foreign Ministry: +972-(0)2-5303896

Head of IDF Legal Department General Menachem Finkelstein Fax +972-(0)3-5693270

Secretary of State Colin Powell, Fax: +1-202-261-8577

Prime Minister Tony Blair, Fax +44-207-925-0918

European Union, Jerusalem, Fax: + 972- (0)2-532 6249

UN Special Coordinator, Gaza, Fax: +972-(0)8- 282-0966

Sample letter from Ittijah – Union of Arab Community Based Associations:

I read the news about new grave irregularities from the side of the IDF, in Tulkarem and Rafah, and I wonder whether it is a coincidence that this is happening while the Iraq War intensifies. Let me remind you that it is advisable for the Israeli authorities and their subordinates to strictly comply with international law and conventions. It could prove unwise, to say the least, for a small state as Israel is, and which needs the support of the international community, to take the superpower model as guideline for itself.


Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-04-2003
Countries : Israel,
Issues : Human rights defenders,