Killed Palestinian girl's father: Soldiers are victims too
After court rules State must compensate Palestinian family for daughter's death by rubber bullet fired by Border Guard officers in 2007, father Bassam Aramin says officers product of 'delinquent society still living the Holocaust… they took their frustration out on 10-year-old girl'
"I hope the soldiers who murdered my daughter are brought to justice," said Bassam Aramin, the father of Abir Aramin after the court ruled that the State of Israel must compensate her family for her death.
However, he is not placing all the blame on the Border Guard officers whose rubber bullets killed his daughter. "I think the solders are the victims of their delinquent society, a society that seems to still be living the Holocaust, and thinks that Abir is part of the Nazi machine that exterminated millions of Jews – and they therefore took their frustration and anger out on a 10-year-old girl. Maybe I should actually sue Germany," the father said.
Abir was killed in January 2007 near her school in the village of Anta north of Jerusalem, where Border Guard forces were dispersing a violent riot. Police adamantly claimed that according to the autopsy, the child was killed from a stone – but a week after the incident, her family, with the help of the B'Tselem organization, published a pathologist's report stating she was hit by a rubber bullet.
Campaign calling for probe of Abir's death (Photo: Activestills)
The family petitioned the High Court of Justice and demanded proceedings be opened against the officers – a petition which has yet to be heard. In addition, the family filed a civil suit against the State. In this lawsuit, the Jerusalem District Court ruled Monday that the girl was indeed hit by a rubber bullet, which was fired against protocol, and that the State was negligent and must therefore compensate the family. The sum of the compensation has yet to be determined.
'I want them to be punished'
"I cannot blame an 18-year-old boy for shooting an innocent 10-year-old girl," said the father, who is known for his activity in the Combatants for Peace organization and his ties with Israeli peace activists. "There is something behind this, and it’s the government's policies and the narrative his state has instilled in him. But still, I want them to be punished. I hope it doesn't end where it stands today."
Aramin said despite fears that the truth may be "swept under the rug", which he says in an Israeli norm with regards to Palestinian victims, "I would very much like to hope that the two will be punished, because it can't be that the killer will be freely drinking beers while I am burning inside. We cannot forget the bleeding wound. Just this morning something happened that reminded me and her mother of her, and we started crying."
He added, "When the State of Israel denied responsibility that its men are the ones who murdered my daughter, it was very bad torture. I am glad they at least recognized that their soldiers are the ones who murdered her."
'Attempts to cover up in vain'
According to Attorney Leah Zemel, who helped the family with the case, "Justice has been served, for the family and for the girl who went to by a treat after an exam. All the police and Border Guard's attempts to cover it up, were in vain. This is because things made it to court, and were so obvious and significant.
"Abir was shot with a rubber bullet from a forbidden distance – and whoever fired – didn't care. He knew that rubber bullet batteries were being fired everywhere, and the bullets' routes could not be controlled. This is why it reached the adjacent street and hit the girl in the head. Afterwards those responsible fled the scene, and covered for themselves as usual, with the IDF and Border Guard standing behind them and not bothering to look into it."
According to Zemel, "without the hard work of the Yesh Din organization, Attorney Michael Sfard, and Attorney Ghadad Hleihel, the truth wouldn't have come out."
Of the girl's father, Zemel said, "He represents the stream that calls for peace in the society from which he comes, and now, his daughter has been killed as well. This is why the court ruled on a just end to this grim affair. There is hope that in other cases of innocent people being injured as a result of the use of crowd dispersal weapons, justice will be served."
Adar Greivski, who also helped the family with its campaign to have the incident probed said, "The court finally ruled that the version of the family and the eyewitnesses is the real version, and that the Border Guard lied and tried to whitewash what happened. I am glad responsibility will be placed with the relevant bodies, and I hope the security forces draw the necessary conclusions – to refrain from harming the civilian population."
Boaz Feiler contributed to this report
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