- Stand where the Israeli army sniper stood and the questions
come flooding in. Foremost among them is how the soldier who shot Iain
Hook in the back in Jenin refugee camp could have mistaken the lanky British
UN official with a mobile phone to his ear for a Palestinian youth waving
a gun, as the army claims.
- The sniper was only 25 metres from his victim, in daylight,
and he had a telescopic sight.
- British officials say they are determined that the Israelis
will not be allowed to get away with a cursory investigation into Mr Hook's
killing a fortnight ago.
- Whitehall, in turn, is under pressure from Hook's two
sons, both British officers, who visited the site of his death and came
away sceptical about the Israeli version of events.
- Sources in Whitehall say that the Foreign Office is unhappy
about the delay in providing an explanation, and that British diplomats
in Jerusalem meet the Israelis every day to press the issue.
- "We will not let this be swept under the carpet.
If it was a mistake, we want them to apologise and provide compensation,"
the source said.
- Hook, 54, from Felixstowe in Suffolk, died on November
22 after the Israeli army swept into Jenin refugee camp searching for a
particular "terrorist". The subsequent fighting was intense.
- The army's hunt focused on buildings around the small
UN compound where Hook worked for The Crown Estate, the British agency
which manages crown property on behalf of the government. He led a project
to rebuild Jenin camp, large parts of which were destroyed by the Israeli
army in April.
- Two hours before he was shot, Hook took a decision that
may have sealed his fate. He was in the compound with another Briton, Paul
Wolstenholme, 30 Palestinian staff, and two young children. He spent the
morning trying to persuade the army by phone to call a temporary ceasefire
with the Palestinian gunmen.
- He spoke repeatedly to the local Israeli liaison officer,
Captain Peter Lerner, then tried to appeal to the soldiers directly.
- But as he left the compound a Palestinian gunman ran
up behind him and used him as cover to fire at the army.
- Israeli soldiers have long regarded the UN as collaborators
with the Palestinians. The sight of a gunman sheltering behind Hook would
have reinforced their hostility.
- When Hook failed to achieve a ceasefire, Palestinians
trying to get in to the compound knocked a hole in the wall. He telephoned
Capt Lerner and left a message.
- "Hi Peter, it's Iain here. I'm just making a progress
- "We're pinned down in the compound. The shabab [young
men] have knocked a hole in the wall, which I'm not happy about at all.
I'm trying to keep them out and I will just keep my people pinned down
in the corner until I hear from you."
- Twenty minutes later Hook walked out of his office and
into the courtyard. Shortly after that, the sniper's bullet caught him
in the back.
- At first the Israelis said he was shot outside the compound
while standing among Palestinians.
- When that was shown to be false, they changed their story,
saying Hook's final message proved that Palestinian fighters had overrun
the UN compound and that the sniper had mistaken him for one of them and
his mobile phone for a gun or grenade.
- The UN says that is "totally incredible". Its
investigators have been told by staff, including Mr Wolstenholme, that
no gunmen entered the site.
- One question is why, if the Israeli army's version is
correct, was Hook alone killed, and none of the Palestinian gunmen supposedly
- And where, if the Palestinians were using the compound
to attack the Israelis, is the evidence of such a battle? None of the surrounding
homes carry any evidence of bullet holes.
- Witnesses told the UN investigators that there was no
gunfire around the compound for "tens of minutes" before Hook
- Mr Wolstenholme told them that he looked up and saw the
face of the soldier who fired the fatal shot.
- The Israeli army says that it was told that Hook had
been shot 10 minutes after it happened.
- But soldiers prevented an ambulance reaching the compound
for 25 minutes.
- Hook had bled to death before the ambulance reached the