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2003-05-05

Israeli Troops Shoot Dead Another Journalist in the Occupied Territories, According to Witnesses: James Miller Was An Award-Winning Documentary Filmmaker

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Another journalist has been killed in the Occupied Territories. James Miller was an award-winning British documentary filmmaker.

Witnesses said Israeli soldiers were demolishing a home in the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. Miller, another British journalist, Saira Shah, and their translator had just left the home of a Palestinian man when they came under fire. Television footage from the Associated Press showed the crew waving a white flag and yelling that they were British journalists as they approached an armored bulldozer conducting the operation. According to witnesses, a tank then fired on the journalists.

The Israeli military is giving conflicting accounts. The London Independent and CNN are reporting the military claimed the tank had come under fire and then fired back. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports the army denied there were any tanks in the area. And now, the Israeli military says Miller was hit from behind and that he may have been killed by Palestinian fire. The Israeli military plans to take Miller’s body to the Israeli national forensic center in Jerusalem for an autopsy.

James Miller was making a documentary for HBO about the lives of Palestinian children in Rafah. He and his partner, Saira Shah, are best known for their documentaries Beneath the Veil and Unholy War. The documentaries followed Shah as she journeyed to her Afghan homeland to expose the harsh rule of the Taliban government. The documentaries were made for CNN and the British network Channel Four. They won dozens of awards, including a Peabody and an Emmy.

Miller is the second journalist to be killed by Israeli gunfire in a month. Palestinian journalist Nazeh Darwazi was shot dead by Israeli troops on April 19.

Ironically, the shooting of James Miller took place on the eve of the United Nations’ World Press Freedom Day.

Reporters Without Borders demanded the Israeli authorities conduct an investigation, make the results public, and punish those responsible.

Reporters Without Borders also said U.S. attacks on the Baghdad hotel housing foreign journalists and the office of Al-Jazeera television were war crimes.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military is threatening to expel the International Solidarity Movement from the Occupied Territories. The ISM brings international peace activists to the Occupied Territories. The Israeli government is currently trying to claim the ISM has ties to the two British suicide bombers involved in the attack in Tel Aviv last week. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz claims ISM activists met with the two Britons last month.

  • Lora, International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist in Rafah. She was shot at by an Israeli tank in the same area where Miller was shot. She believes it was the same tank that killed Miller. Lora is from Pittsburgh.
  • Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! Correspondent who knew Miller and recently spent time with him in Baghdad.
  • George Rishmawi, International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist from Bethlehem.

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