Gila and Doron Tragerman called on the United Nations to investigate Hamas for war crimes as part of its inquiry into this summer’s Gaza conflict, in which their son, Daniel, four, was killed by mortar fire last month.
They sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon days before a three member-panel lead by Canadian legal expert William Schabas is to begin an investigation on behalf of the UN Human Rights Council into alleged Israeli human rights violations this summer in Gaza, east Jerusalem, and the West Bank.
The UNHRC mandate does not clearly call for a similar probe into Hamas’s actions.
The Tragermans called on Ban to insist that the UN also investigate Hamas crimes against Israel and its own people.
This should include, they said, Hamas’s use of hospitals and UN schools to shoot at innocent people. It should also look into how Hamas forced children to work on the infiltration tunnels they used to try and attack Israel, the Tragermans wrote.
“We do not seek the people responsible for our Daniel’s death,” they wrote. “We only wish your response and your voice against this crime and the crime Hamas committed against their own people.”
In their letter they described how the mortar struck their Gaza border Kibbutz Nahal Oz on August 22nd, sending shrapnel into their living room while Daniel played with his siblings and a friend inside the house, because it was too dangerous to be outside.
“Daniel died in front of his little sister and his best friend, Yoval, three and a half years old; he died in front of Uri, only four months old and right before our eyes, his mother and father,” the parents wrote.
“Daniel was killed from a mortar shell that was fired by Hamas members from an elementary school for boys in Gaza City. It wasn’t a stray shell. It wasn’t an accidental death."
“From that school terrorists fired deliberately into the kibbutz to murder civilians – children, women, old people. This time they also achieved the goal. Daniel was killed almost immediately. Daniel’s father, Doron, covered him with a blanket while crying bitterly and we escaped from the house with two small children, leaving our precious son behind, in order to protect them from bombs that continued to explode around the house,” the Tragermans wrote.
“Yoval, Daniel’s sister, saw the terrifying sight and understood that something terrible happened. It is unbearable to watch that little child staring at the wall, in overwhelming silence with tears from her eyes,” the Tragermans wrote.
They had lived in fear of mortar and rocket attacks before this summer’s war.
Doron explained that three years ago a Kassam rocket had destroyed his parent’s home. On top of that they said, they had heard Hamas digging tunnels at night under their kibbutz.
“In last six months our children slept with the window closed and locked. We were afraid that they would be kidnapped from us,” the Tragermans wrote.
At one time, they said, the residents of their kibbutz had good relations with people in Gaza, whom they hired to work in their fields.
“They use to invite each other for weddings and other celebrations and often traveled to Rafah or Gaza to enjoy life at cafes there,” the Tragermans wrote.
“We want to live in good proximity, in peace and security. It is our hope that our neighbors, the people of Gaza, will be able to live peacefully in their homes and build and develop their beautiful country. We believe that the vast majority of the people on this planet do not want to see the sight of blood, tears, and fire of the radical Islam movement, but to live peacefully, enjoy a kid’s laughter, and wait for a better tomorrow,” they wrote.
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