Obliterated Families: Gaza family submits complaint against French weapons manufacturer for complicity in war crimes

The Shuheibar family, whose story constitutes one of the ten chapters of the upcoming Obliterated Families web documentary, is the plaintiff in a complaint submitted today on their behalf to the Special War Crimes Unit in France.

On 17 July 2014, three children from the Shuheibar family were killed by a missile most likely fired by an Israeli drone operator, while another two children were seriously injured. A component of that missile, collected by the family, had “France” written on it. Experts established that it was produced by Eurofarad, a French company later acquired by Exxelia Technologies. French human rights organization ACAT together with a local partner from Gaza, collected evidence and testimonies, and with the help of Ancile-avocats legal office submitted a complaint against the French weapons manufacturer for their complicity in war crimes and involuntary manslaughter.

During an interview with Anne Paq, a French photographer and director of the Obliterated Families project, Wissam Shuheibar, the bereaved father, said: “I find it strange. (…) How can the French government approve of companies which produce rockets and weapons sent to be used in war on our children?”

Just before iftar, an evening meal ending day-long fast during Ramadan, five children from Shuheibar family went up to the roof to feed pigeons. It was Ramadan, a time of family visits. Two brothers Jihad (10) and Wassim (9), together with their cousin Basel (10) were visiting their cousins: Afnan (8) and Oday (15). The oldest boy, Oday, went inside the pigeon shed to clean it up before the younger children come in with the bird food. While they were waiting to enter, a missile, probably fired from an Israeli drone, hit the roof right next to the place where the children were standing. Wassim and Jihad died on the spot, Afnan – on the way to the hospital. Basel and Oday were seriously injured. They had to undergo numerous surgeries, full recovery is not likely and both boys suffer from serious trauma. Wissam and Kifah, parents of Afnan, talk about their daughter with tears in their eyes. They became tired of frequent journalists’ visits. Yet, they agreed to speak to us, believing it will get them closer to justice. We hope it will.

The Shuheibar family is one of 142 families from the Gaza Strip that lost three or more members in the Israeli attacks in 2014. Overwhelming majority of them cannot hope to have their case heard in a court of law.

About the web documentary:

Obliterated Families is an interactive web documentary telling personal stories of Palestinian families from the Gaza Strip whose lives were shattered during the Israeli military offensive in 2014. It consists of ten chapters, each telling the story of one of those families through texts, photos, videos and other media. It is directed by Anne Paq, a French photographer and Ala Qandil, a Polish-Palestinian reporter, with the support of ACAT France. The aim is to show the tragedy hidden behind the statistics commonly used to describe the Israeli offensive on Gaza.

The Obliterated Families web documentary, which, among others, tells the story of the Shuheibar family, is to be released on 8 July.