Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, otherwise known as the “Gaza Doctor” (l.), shown here with Prime Minister Trudeau and Health Minister Jane Philpott at a reception in Toronto in 2014. Dr. Abuelaish has prepared a petition asking Trudeau and the Canadian government to support his demand for an acknowledgement and apology from the Israeli government for the loss of his daughters in a bombing attack on their home in Gaza in 2008. Learn More.
A Palestinian pediatrician who lost 3 daughters to Israeli bombing in 2008 is taking the Israeli government to court asking for an apology for their actions and his loss. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish now lives in Toronto and has become a Canadian citizen. He is also launching a petition asking the Canadian government to show support for his case.
“For two years, I tried to settle and reconcile this tragedy with the Israeli government with all possible peaceful means. Sadly and painfully; the answer I received was that my daughters and niece were collateral damage. At first in fact they said there were snipers at the roof of my house. Then that there were militants and firing from inside and around my house. The last excuse was that shrapnel had come from Hamas rockets,” wrote Dr. Abuelaish.
Why he wants an apology from Israel
Receiving no satisfactory answer from the State of Israel for two years, and facing a statute of limitation, Dr. Abuelaish filed a lawsuit against the State of Israel on December 27, 2010.
While waiting for a response from Israel, Dr. Abuelaish has been active in Canada and elsewhere. He is the author of “I shall not hate” and a frequent public speaker.
He has also established the Daughters for Life Foundation providing scholarships for girls and young women from the Middle East without any discrimination; Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanian, Syrian, Lebanese or Egyptian., Muslims, Jewish, Christians or Druze helping them to overcome social, economic and financial hardship.
The Doctor finally gets his day in court
After over six years of delay, Dr. Abuelaish will finally get his day in court on March 15 and 19, 2017. He will travel to Tel Aviv and testify with two of his remaining daughters, Shatha and Raffah, in front of an Israeli judge.
In his lawsuit, he is asking for an apology as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu did in the case of the Mari Marmara, the Turkish boat attacked by Israeli forces as it attempted to take medical supplies to Gaza in 2010. Dr. Abuelaish says any financial compensation will be “used to establish Daughters for Life International Schools in Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Afghanistan, Iraq and one in Canada for the First Nation women.”
What about the Canadian government?
Mr. Trudeau, who defines himself as a “feminist” has been outspoken in the defense of the rights of women. Dr. Abuelaish hopes that he will also be outspoken for the rights of Palestinian women and girls.
How could Prime Minister Trudeau show support? One way would be to contact Mr. Netanyahu reminding him of Canadian values of human rights and expressing Canada’s concern that Israel acknowledge its accountability for this tragic event.
He could also ask our Canadian Ambassador in Israel to appear in court on March 15th to show the Canadian government’s support for Dr. Abuelaish. Both the US and the UK have intervened at the ambassadorial or higher levels in cases where their citizens have been injured or killed by Israeli forces, among others American Rachel Corrie, and British citizen James Miller. Ambassadors were unafraid to publicly express dissatisfaction and demand greater transparency in the Israeli investigations.
Anyone wishing to encourage Mr. Trudeau to do so can sign Dr. Abuelaish’ petition.
“Raise the issue, but lower the temperature”
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