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Gaza Doctor Says His Daughters ‘Killed Again’ by Israeli Supreme Court Rejection
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, right, sits beside his attorney Hussein Abu Hussein inside the court room in Israel's Supreme Court in Jerusalem on November 15, 2021, at the start of a hearing on his civil lawsuit against the State of Israel over the deaths of his three daughters and his niece, in January 2009 when his house in Gaza was struck by Israeli tank fire during Operation Cast Lead. (Dario Sanchez/The Media Line.)

Gaza Doctor Says His Daughters ‘Killed Again’ by Israeli Supreme Court Rejection

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish tells The Media Line that the court's decision to reject his appeal calling for an apology and compensation from Israel for shelling his Gaza home is 'destructive and unilateral'

Former Gaza resident Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish says Israel’s Supreme Court has “killed again” his three daughters after a panel of three justices rejected his appeal calling for an apology and compensation from Israel for striking his home with tank fire in January 2009 during Operation Cast Lead, killing his daughters and a niece.

Abuelaish, a widower who after the attack moved to Canada with his five surviving children – one who was severely injured in the attack, where he works as an associate professor of Global Health at the University of Toronto, told The Media Line that the judges had reached a decision even before the hearing on November 15.

“My daughters today were killed again and again by the biased judges,” he said Wednesday evening from his home in Toronto.

“It’s unjust and illegal; I do not accept it,” Abuelaish said of the decision, also calling it “destructive and unilateral.”

The court on Wednesday upheld the decision of a lower court in 2018, which ruled that they were killed in an “act of war,” and that in such a case the state is not required to pay out damages. During the hearing earlier this month, Supreme Court Justice Yitzhak Amit called the deaths of Abuelaish’s daughters – Bessan, 21; Mayar, 15; and Aya, 13; and niece Nour, 17 – a “tragedy that stood out” and said that the court “shares in your sorrow,” words that were repeated in the court’s final decision.

Abuelaish, a peace activist who has spoken throughout the world about his experience, came to Israel for the hearing, and afterward visited his daughter’s graves in Gaza. After the hearing he told The Media Line that he hoped that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett would call him for a meeting “to apologize and offer compensation for my daughter and niece’s lives.”  He said that he is “committed to bring my daughters to justice in a civilized, legal, human way.”

The Supreme Court is the last resort in Israel for Abuelaish, who can take his case to the international courts. He told The Media Line that he plans to take the case further and will make decisions after holding consultations with his advisors.

“Justice has to prevail,” he said. “I have a just case; I am the one who holds the truth.”

He called on the Israeli public, as well as politicians and leaders, “to speak out against this unjust and biased decision.”

Abuelaish, who published the book “I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity,” has said that he will donate any money he receives in a judgement or a settlement to the Daughters for Life Foundation that he established in memory of his daughters. The foundation, which provides educational scholarships, is dedicated to empowering young women in the Middle East.

Marcy Oster contributed to this report

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