View Full Version : Sickening! - Israel Denies All Blame for Corrie Murder and $1 Symbolic Compensation

Peter Lemkin
08-28-2012, 07:06 AM
Rachel Corrie verdict: death was an accident, Israeli judge rules

Judge finds no fault in military investigation that cleared defence force of responsibility in protester being killed by bulldozer

Harriet Sherwood in Haifa
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 28 August 2012 07.47 BST

Rachel in 2002, a year before she was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer. Photograph: Denny Sternstein/Associated Press

The death of the pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie was not caused by the negligence of the Israeli state or army, a judge has ruled, dismissing a civil lawsuit brought by the family.

Corrie's death was an accident for which the state of Israel was not responsible, said the judge at Haifa district court.

There had been no fault in the internal Israeli military investigation clearing the driver of the bulldozer which crushed Corrie to death in March 2003 of any blame. The judge said the driver had not seen the young American activist.

Corrie could have saved herself by moving out of the zone of danger as any reasonable person would have done, said Judge Oded Gershon. He ruled that no compensation would be paid and the family would not have to pay costs of the case.

The lawsuit, filed by Corrie's parents, Cindy and Craig, of Olympia, Washington state, accused the Israeli military of either unlawfully or intentionally killing Rachel or of gross negligence.

Their daughter was killed on 16 March 2003, crushed under an Israeli military bulldozer while trying to obstruct the demolition of a Palestinian home in Rafah on to the Gaza-Egypt border.

At the time – the height of the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising – house demolitions were common, part of an increasing cycle of violence from both sides. Palestinian suicide bombers were causing death and destruction with terrifying frequency; the Israeli military was using its mighty force and weaponry to crush the uprising.

The Israeli defence forces said the houses it targeted with bulldozers and shells were harbouring militants or weapons or being used to conceal arms-smuggling tunnels under the border. Human rights groups said the demolitions were collective punishment. Between 2000 to 2004 the Israeli military demolished around 1,700 homes in Rafah, leaving about 17,000 people homeless, according to the Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem.

Corrie was one of a group of around eight international activists acting as human shields against the demolitions. According to witness statements made at the time and evidence given in court, she clambered atop a pile of earth in the path of an advancing Caterpillar bulldozer.

"She was standing on top of a pile of earth," fellow activist and eyewitness Richard Purssell, from Brighton, said at the time. "The driver cannot have failed to see her. As the blade pushed the pile, the earth rose up. Rachel slid down the pile. It looks as if her foot got caught. The driver didn't slow down; he just ran over her. Then he reversed the bulldozer back over her again."

Tom Dale, an 18-year-old from Lichfield in Staffordshire, said: "The bulldozer went towards her very slowly, she was fully in clear view, straight in front of them. Unfortunately she couldn't keep her grip there and she started to slip down. You could see she was in serious trouble, there was panic in her face as she was turning around. All the activists there were screaming, running towards the bulldozer, trying to get them to stop. But they just kept on going."

The day after Corrie's death, Israel's then prime minister, Ariel Sharon, promised US president George W Bush that Israel would conduct a "thorough, credible and transparent" investigation into the incident.

Within a month the IDF had completed an internal inquiry led by its chief of staff. It concluded that its forces were not to blame, that the driver of the bulldozer had not seen the activist, that no charges would be brought and the case was closed.

"Rachel Corrie was not run over by an engineering vehicle but rather was struck by a hard object, most probably a slab of concrete which was moved or slid down while the mound of earth which she was standing behind was moved," it said. Corrie and other ISM activists were accused by the investigators of "illegal, irresponsible and dangerous" behaviour.

The Corries launched their civil lawsuit against the state of Israel as an "absolutely last resort". The case opened at Haifa district court in March 2010.

Among those giving evidence was the driver of the bulldozer, who testified anonymously from behind a screen for "security reasons". He repeatedly insisted that the first time he saw the activist was when she was already dying: "I didn't see her before the incident. I saw people pulling the body out from under the earth."

The hearings ended in July last year.

Magda Hassan
08-28-2012, 07:09 AM
It is sickening. And it is also going to cause a bigger split between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora they depend on. This revolting.

Peter Lemkin
08-28-2012, 08:53 AM
It is sickening. And it is also going to cause a bigger split between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora they depend on. This revolting.

The case actually only asked for two things from Israel:
1] admission of wrongful death and orders to commit wrongful death.
2] A $1 token symbolic payment to the family for their grief and loss.

But Israel never does any wrong....even when murdering peaceful and just protesters, attempting to protect the persecuted. It is injustice piled on injustice upon injustice. The family has vowed to fight on. A great family. Rachel was a great person and a great loss. A more morally worthy person than all of the leaders in government and military and many of the citizenry in Israel combined, IMO! The right to protest all around the world is increasing being met with deadly force and the admonition,'if you don't want to be hurt or killed, don't be there [i.e. never protest anything...be a silent slave /passive witness to fascism, imperialism, militarism, injustice].

Peter Lemkin
08-28-2012, 06:25 PM
Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein’s statement on verdict in Corrie wrongful death lawsuit
Posted in News and Updates, Trial, Trial Press Releases on August 28, 2012 by Dave.

(Haifa, Israel – August 28, 2012) – While not surprising, this verdict is yet another example of where impunity has prevailed over accountability and fairness. Rachel Corrie was killed while non-violently protesting home demolitions and injustice in Gaza, and today, this court has given its stamp of approval to flawed and illegal practices that failed to protect civilian life. In this regard, the verdict blames the victim based on distorted facts and it could have been written directly by the state attorneys.

We knew from the beginning that we had an uphill battle to get truthful answers and justice, but we are convinced that this verdict distorts the strong evidence presented in court, and contradicts fundamental principles of international law with regard to protection of human rights defenders. In denying justice in Rachel Corrie’s killing, this verdict speaks to the systemic failure to hold the Israeli military accountable for continuing violations of basic human rights.

We would like to thank everyone who supported the family and the legal team; including activists, NGOs, legal observers, US embassy officials, interpreters, reporters who covered the trial, and we look forward to talking to you at the press conference.

Peter Lemkin
08-28-2012, 06:25 PM
AMY GOODMAN: An Israeli judge has cleared Israel’s military of responsibility for the killing of U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie. She was a 23-year-old college student crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza nine years ago, standing in front of a Palestinian home to help prevent its demolition. Today’s ruling came in a wrongful death civil suit brought by Rachel Corrie’s family, with the judge rejecting any negligence on the part of the driver, finding that Rachel Corrie’s death resulted from, quote, "an accident she brought upon herself."

To talk more about the verdict, we’re joined by Rachel Corrie’s mother, Cindy Corrie.

We welcome to Democracy Now!, Cindy. You’re in Haifa. Can you respond to the verdict?

CINDY CORRIE: Thank you, Amy. Yes, I’m here, and Craig is here, as well.



CINDY CORRIE: We’ve had about six hours, you know, to sit with this latest development. We’ve been very busy talking to a lot of people since then, and a short amount of that time with our attorneys. It was shocking, of course, to sit in court and to hear—hear the verdict this morning. And it was deeply disturbing on a lot of levels, not only because of our quite lengthy journey to get to this point, but also because the judge chose to say that the Israeli military was engaged in a war operation, an act of war—and, by doing so, I think, made this day a very bad day for human rights, all of our human rights, for humanity and for the rule of law, basically disregarding the rights of civilians, the right of nonviolent activists under international law and Israeli law. We charged that Rachel’s right to life and to dignity were violated by what occurred that day. And the judge basically went to a place to say that what the Israeli military did, what militaries do in anything that they determine to be acts of war is legitimate. And so, that’s kind of where we’re left.

AMY GOODMAN: Craig Corrie, your response? Rachel was standing in front of the home of a Palestinian family, preventing its demolition. And what do you want to see happen now?

CRAIG CORRIE: Well, of course, Amy, we’re going to have to review all of our options. I think that this needs to be appealed. Of course it has to be opposed, this sort of thinking. You know, I think you do know that I was in Vietnam in 1970, and strangely enough, I—as a combat engineer, I had some responsibility over bulldozer operations. In the first place, when you talk about—

AMY GOODMAN: We have 15 seconds.

CRAIG CORRIE: I think we have to oppose the idea that a military can do whatever it wants. We have to oppose the idea that there are no civilians in wartime. We know that there are civilians down in Gaza. Gaza is a place under occupation, and it was not a war. We have to oppose there ideas, and we have to oppose it any way we can. And we need the support of American people, we need the support of people around the world to do that. Thanks.

Peter Lemkin
08-29-2012, 05:37 PM