In the largest financial settlement of its kind, Israel has paid $2.2-million to the family of British documentary filmmaker James Miller, slain by the IDF in Gaza while shooting the film that became the Emmy-winning A Death in Gaza. The only reason Israel appears to have paid was that Britain’s (Jewish) attorney general threatened to initiate proceedings in England that would bring the IDF soldiers who perpetrated the killing to justice. The possibility of its own troops being prosecuted in a foreign country was enough to get Israel’s attention especially in the aftermath of the Gaza war, when jurists and peace activists in several countries have contemplated war crimes trials against Israel.
Given the travesty that is Israeli justice when it comes to holding IDF soldiers accountable for their actions, it is not surprising that the soldiers who killed Miller were exonerated by Israel of wrongdoing. This is the standard response to almost all such events. Except what was different in this case is that a foreign national was killed, the family was relentless in their pursuit of justice, and the foreign government backed up the family’s claim. That type of united front is not something Israel is used to in cases of this type which usually involve a Palestinian civilian killed in similar circumstances. Palestinian lives are cheap by comparison and they can be killed with impunity as the Gaza war again makes clear.