Israel pays damages for death of journalist James Miller

The family of James Miller, the British TV journalist killed by the Israeli army more than five years ago, have accepted a settlement from the country’s government.

Miller, 34, from Braunton, north Devon, died while working on a documentary for Channel 4 and the American HBO network about the impact of terrorist action on Palestinian children in a refugee camp in Rafah, on the Egypt-Gaza border.

His family issued a statement through a spokeswoman, which said: “The family of British film-maker James Miller confirmed today that it accepted a settlement from the Israeli government saying that five-and-a-half years since his death this is the nearest they are likely to get to an admission of guilt by the Israeli government.”

No details of the settlement were given, although Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported a sum of around £1.5m was paid to the family, a figure that Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said was “more or less” correct.

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman welcomed the agreement and said that if it was satisfactory to the family, the British government would consider the case closed.

Miller, an award-winning cameraman and documentary maker, was shot at night by an Israeli soldier in May 2003. He was trying ask the troops if it was safe to leave the area when he was shot in the neck.

The serviceman who opened fire was cleared of misusing firearms in 2005, but in April 2006, an inquest at St Pancras Coroners Court in London returned a verdict of unlawful killing and said that Miller had been murdered.

The coroner wrote to then-attorney general Lord Goldsmith inviting him to “consider starting criminal proceedings in the UK against members of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) for an offence of willful killing”.

The 10-member inquest jury heard how Miller had been wearing a helmet and flak jacket with the letters “TV” written in bright fluorescent tape as he approached the soldiers at around 11pm on 2 May 2003.

He was holding a torch which shone on a large white flag being held by his interpreter. A shot was fired, followed by a second fatal shot 12 to 13 seconds later, the inquest heard.

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