Palestinian doctor loses last appeal over daughters killed in Gaza

Izzeldin Abuelaish lost his three daughters and niece in Israeli shelling in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

 Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor visits the graves of his 3 daughters who were killed during the 2009 war in Gaza, at a cemetery in northern Gaza Strip. (photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)
Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor visits the graves of his 3 daughters who were killed during the 2009 war in Gaza, at a cemetery in northern Gaza Strip.
(photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)

A Palestinian doctor lost his last Israeli court appeal for compensation over the killing of his three daughters and a niece in shelling by Israel during 2009 fighting in Gaza on Wednesday and said he may seek justice in an international forum instead.

Upholding a lower court's rejection of Izzeldin Abuelaish's claim, the Supreme Court deemed the lethal incident an "act of war". The military has said its troops fired after thinking they had seen Hamas fighters on the upper level of the doctor's home.

"Our hearts go out to the appellant ... but within the bounds of the proceedings before us there is no recourse or remedy," the three-justice panel said in its ruling.

Abuelaish, a Hebrew-speaking gynecologist who has worked in Israeli hospitals and now lives in Canada, had sought an apology and compensation over the deaths of his daughters Mayar, 15, Ayah, 13, and Bessan, 21, and niece Nour, 14.

"I had hoped Israeli judges could hand down a ruling that would revive hope, but I expected that they would not," he told Reuters on Wednesday. "I therefore prepared myself to seek justice for Mayar, Bessam, Ayah and Nour at any forum possible."

IDF soldiers walking to Gaza during Operation Cast Lead 311R (credit: Ho New / Reuters)IDF soldiers walking to Gaza during Operation Cast Lead 311R (credit: Ho New / Reuters)

Asked if this might include turning to the International Criminal Court, he said: "All options are open."

Abuelaish had said he planned to use any funds received in compensation to expand the "Daughters for Life" foundation he established. It offers educational opportunities for young women from the Middle East, including from Israel.