Skip to main content

Politics Canadian doctor shot in Gaza has doubts about Israeli probe, but will co-operate

Tarek Loubani is pictured on May 14, 2018, after being wounded in Gaza.

Tarek Loubani

A Canadian-Palestinian doctor, who was wounded by an Israeli sniper, says he will “fully co-operate” with an Israeli military investigation into the shooting that occurred on May 14 during Palestinian protests along the Israeli-Gaza border.

Tarek Loubani told The Globe and Mail Wednesday that he has serious doubts about the impartiality of Israel‘s military investigating actions taken by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) but he nonetheless believes it would be irresponsible to boycott the probe.

“In medicine we understand that conflicts of interest are a surefire way to get a biased conclusion and I can imagine no greater conflict of interest than a party investigating itself for an accusation that is being made,” he said in a telephone interview from London, where he is attending an international conference. “Even though I think the conclusion will not be credible … still, I think it is important to show good faith and to participate in these investigative processes even when they are biased.”

Story continues below advertisement

Dr. Loubani said he is working with the Canadian government on the details of his interview with Israeli military officials. Israel had asked Canada to officially participate in the probe but the government declined to do so.

Related: Canada continues to call for independent inquiry into Gaza violence

Read more: Israel to probe shooting of Canadian-Palestinian doctor, but rejects Trudeau’s call for Gaza inquiry

Opinion: As mass killings horrify the world, Netanyahu’s circle dwindles

Israel’s ambassador to Canada, Nimrod Barkan, said Israel had given Canada its word that the IDF inquiry would be conducted without bias.

“Israel has assured Canada and proposed a mechanism that will look specifically into the Loubani case but also other cases,” he said. “We believe if Canada co-operates with this mechanism, which as a friend of Israel it should trust, then it will be satisfied.”

Dr. Loubani, who was field-testing 3-D printer tourniquets, was shot in both legs by a sniper during the protests. He said he was dressed in a green surgeon’s outfit and was standing 25 metres away from the protests with some paramedics wearing orange vests when he was shot.

Story continues below advertisement

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday that “I was very clear with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu that any time a Canadian citizen would be shot by a foreign military sniper, we’d have some very serious questions. So we expect to get some good answers.”

Although Canada is pushing for an international and independent probe into the recent violence in Gaza, Dr. Loubani called this approach unproductive. Resources should be harnessed to improve the lives of the 1.9 million Palestinians in poverty-ridden Gaza, he said.

“For the international community to waste its political capital doing an investigation when we already have an abundance of investigations showing various kinds of problematic behaviour by the Israelis is a waste of time,” he said. “Instead, the Canadian government and other governments should call for concrete solutions that improve the lives of Palestinians.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters on Wednesday that Canada is talking to other ”international partners” about setting up a neutral inquiry to shed light on Israel’s use of live ammunition against Palestinian protesters, as well as the shooting of Dr. Loubani.

“We consider that an independent investigation at an international level remains necessary. Canada will continue to work with our international partners in order to set that up,” she said.

Ms. Freeland said any international inquiry should also investigate Israel’s claims that the Hamas terror group that rules Gaza had intentionally provoked the violence, an accusation Hamas denies.

Story continues below advertisement

In medicine we understand that conflicts of interest are a surefire way to get a biased conclusion and I can imagine no greater conflict of interest than a party investigating itself for an accusation that is being made.

— Tarek Loubani, a Canadian-Palestinian doctor wounded by an Israeli sniper on May 14 during Palestinian protests along the Israeli-Gaza border, on an Israeli military investigation into the shooting

Ambassador Barkan said his country will not co-operate with an international inquiry and said Israel has a right to defend its borders.

“The real problem is the behaviour and incitement by Hamas. This should be looked at by the international community,” he said.

Dr. Loubani, who practices emergency medicine in London, Ont., and teaches at the University of Western Ontario, said he is recovering from his wounds and will return to Canada on Saturday.

“I am recovering as well as can be. My thoughts are with everyone else who doesn’t get the luxury of the best medical care possible,” he said.

On Friday, Canada opposed a UN Human Rights Council vote to establish an investigation into Israel’s killing of Palestinians during protests on the Gaza border. Ms. Freeland said the council membership is biased against Israel.

The council, chosen by the General Assembly, includes Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and China – all countries known for widespread human-rights abuses.

Story continues below advertisement

The United States and Australia voted against the UN resolution while 29 members voted in favour and another 14 countries, including Britain, Germany and Japan, abstained.

The UN Human Rights Council was called into special session after one of the bloodiest days in recent years when 60 protesters were killed by Israeli gunfire and more than 2,700 were injured. Hamas said 50 of the 60 people killed on May 14 were members of the militant group.

As protests die down on the Israel-Gaza border where dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire this week, Reuters' Emily Wither speaks to some of the two million people facing crippling unemployment and blockade in the narrow strip. Reuters
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter