Child footballers killed by Israel get no justice

On 16 July 2014, Israeli forces fired missiles that killed the four Baker boys – Ahed, Zakaria, Muhammad and Ismail – as they played soccer on a Gaza City beach.

The killing of the boys, all aged between 10 and 11, was witnessed by international journalists at a nearby hotel.

Their deaths became emblematic of the horrific violence Israel meted out for 51 days against Palestinians in Gaza that summer, leaving 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children dead – about one in every 1,000 Gazans was killed.

Now, Israel’s handling of the investigation into how and why the boys were killed exemplifies the total impunity Israeli forces enjoy for the mass killing of civilians and wanton destruction from which Gaza has still not recovered.

Two days after the killings, Gaza’s Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and Adalah, a human rights group in present-day Israel, wrote to Israel’s defense minister, military advocate general and attorney general demanding an investigation.

About a year later, Israel closed the investigation without further measures. In August 2015, the two human rights groups filed an appeal on behalf of the boys’ families demanding to see evidence in the case and a reopening of the investigation.

For two more years, Israel has simply ignored the request. A similar request from a third group, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, has also been ignored.

The video above published by Al Mezan in 2015 tells the story of the Baker boys, including testimonies of children who survived the attack.

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