Palestinian doctor sues Israel for killing his three daughters with tank shell in Gaza Strip

Peace campaigner's children were among 1400 Palestinians killed in 'war' which took the lives of 13 Israelis

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A Palestinian doctor whose three daughters and niece were killed by Israeli tank fire during the 2009 war in Gaza, is suing the Israeli government.

Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish made headlines around the world when Bessan, 21, Mayar, 15, and Aya, 14, were killed with their cousin Noor. 

Shortly after the attack, he placed phone-call to an Israeli television station that was circulated across the globe. 

"What have we done to them, oh God? What have we done?" he wailed. "They killed my daughters."

He is now demanding compensation and a formal apology from Israel for their deaths. 

During opening arguments, Israeli Forces claimed both that Hamas operatives were in the house providing guidance to sniper fire, and that it was a Palestinians weapon cache within the building which caused the explosion.

But Dr Abuelaish told the court: "I had convinced my daughters to give life and to help others, not with tank shells, but with wisdom and education, with words from the heart".

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Dr Abulaish has recently gained Canadian citizenship, and published a book entitled 'I Shall Not Hate' (wikimedia commons)

If he succeeds in winning the case, he said any damages from the trial will go to the women's education charity he has set up in their memory.

The 62-year-old was born in a Gazan refugee camp, and won a scholarship to study in Cairo before completing his training in London and at Harvard. He was the first Palestinian doctor to receive a staff position at an Israeli hospital.

He has since moved to Canada.

Speaking to the Haaretz newspaper before the trial, he said: “My daughters had names, they had faces, they had plans, they had hopes... It is a disgrace to call human beings collateral damage.” 

His daughters and niece were killed during "Operation Cast Lead", launched by the Israeli Army in response to improvised 'Qassam' rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

 Around 1400 Palestinians, including over 900 civilians, were killed during the three-week conflict. Thirteen Israelis also died, three of whom were civilians.

The trial continues.

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