In the Gaza Strip, anyone with a camera is fair game. That's
the inescapable conclusion from the Israeli army's investigation into why one of
its tank crews fired at least two shells at a Reuters television journalist
openly filming them from a mile away.
The cameraman, Fadel Shana, 24, filmed the muzzle flash of
the Merkava-4 tank that sent a dart-scattering shell above his head. The screen
goes black as Shana falls dead in an open patch of sandy ground near the
Israel-Gaza border, southwest of Gaza
City on April 16. His
soundman, Wafa Abu Mizyed, is wounded. Eight other civilians, aged between 12 and 20, were
killed; six of them were under 16. At least seven other bystanders aged from 10
to 18 were also hit. None was armed or was a militant.
In a six-page letter to Thomson Reuters dated August 12, the
Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) military advocate general, Brig.-Gen. Avihai
the tank crew and their superiors of any responsibility or criminal
wrongdoing. The letter outlines some of the findings of a confidential inquiry
into the killing. It skates over testimony from witnesses quoted by Reuters and
other media and human rights groups, and concludes that the decision to fire a
shell designed to kill concentrations of battlefield infantry at a two-man TV crew
was "reasonable" and "sound."