Jewish Journal


August 28, 2012

Israeli court dismisses charges in Rachel Corrie civil suit


The parents and sister (front row) of Rachel Corrie sit together in Haifa district court before the verdict in a civil case on Aug. 28. Photo by REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The parents and sister (front row) of Rachel Corrie sit together in Haifa district court before the verdict in a civil case on Aug. 28. Photo by REUTERS/Amir Cohen

An Israeli court dismissed all charges against the state in a civil suit brought by the parents of Rachel Corrie, an American activist killed in Gaza after being run over by an Israeli military bulldozer.

In his verdict Tuesday, Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon ruled that the state was not responsible for Corrie’s death in 2003. Gershon said that Corrie, a pro-Palestinian activist, entered the Gaza Strip despite knowing it was a war zone with live fire being exchanged daily. In addition, he cited a warning from the United States urging American citizens not to enter the Gaza Strip.

Corrie, 23, was an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, which protests on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. On March 16, 2003, she was acting as a human shield for a Gaza house set to be demolished by an armored bulldozer when she became enveloped in the pile of dirt created by the bulldozer as it moved toward the house. Corrie died soon afterward in a nearby hospital.

Her parents, Craig and Cindy, sued the state for responsibility in her death, claiming that the bulldozer advanced despite knowing that Corrie was in its path.

Gershon also said that because Corrie was standing behind the pile of dirt created by the bulldozer, the driver could not see her. The judge added that instead of moving away from the bulldozer as it advanced “as any reasonable person would do,” Corrie attempted to climb onto the pile of dirt created by the bulldozer.

“The party put herself in a dangerous situation opposite a bulldozer when he couldn’t see her,” Gershon said. “She didn’t move away like anyone of sound mind would. She found her death even after all of the IDF’s efforts to move her from the place.”

Gershon also dismissed charges that the state tampered with the evidence in an investigation into Corrie’s death.

The attorney for Corrie’s parents called the verdict a “failure to hold the Israeli military accountable.”

“This court has given a stamp of approval to the flouting of illegal practices that fail to protect human life,” said the attorney, Hussein Abu Hussein.

A lawyer for the state, Nirit Kalman, said, “We showed there was no negligence.”

Cindy Corrie told reporters following the verdict, “We are of course deeply saddened and deeply troubled by what we heard today from Judge Oded Gershon. This was a bad day not only for our family but a bad day for human rights, for humanity, for the rule of law and also for the country of Israel.”

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