Family of murdered cameraman questions Israeli compensation offer

The family of James Miller, the a British cameraman murdered by an Israeli soldier have expressed “grave concerns” over reports of a £1.8m compensation offer made ahead of their civil action against the state.

Miller’s relatives said the settlement could be a “ruse” by the Israeli authorities to delay court proceedings due to commence next month.

Miller, 24, was shot dead by an Israeli Defence Force member in 2003 while making a film about Palestinian children in the Rafah refugee camp.

He had approached an army personnel carrier to ask if it was safe to leave the area.

Despite carrying a white flag illuminated by a torch – while other members of James’s group were shouting that they were British journalists – Miller was shot in the neck and killed.

A 2006 inquest found that he had been deliberately gunned down by an Israeli soldier.

A report in the Haaretz newspaper states that Israel will pay $3.5m (£1.8m) in compensation to the family of Miller.

In a statement, the family said: “Our civil action against the state of Israel, which begins on May 13, will be the beginning of a lengthy process to decide culpability for the killing of James.

“Based on our experience with the Israeli authorities over the past five years and the fact that the action will take place in an Israeli court – albeit a civil one – we do not have a great deal of confidence in a fair or just outcome.

“In the face of overwhelming evidence against Lt (now Captain) Heib, we have been advised that the State of Israel intends to invoke controversial ‘Act of War’ legislation as their defence.

“Having had an exhausting and expensive five-year fight the possibility of an out- of-court settlement might be considered, although no agreement has been reached.”

But the family added: “We have grave concerns that the suggestion from the Israelis that a settlement has been reached is merely a ruse to allow the Israeli defence submission to be delayed – they have asked for an extension.

“Assurances given in the past have been reneged upon or renegotiated to our detriment and therefore we must assume that our court action goes ahead on May 13 as scheduled.”

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