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View Full Version : Rachel Corrie's family bring civil suit over human shield's death in Gaza



David Guyatt
02-24-2010, 01:39 PM
All power to their family elbow.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/23/corrie-death-law-case?CMP=AFCYAH


Rachel Corrie's family bring civil suit over human shield's death in Gaza

Parents want case to highlight events that led to American activist's death under Israeli army bulldozer

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 23 February 2010 17.45 GMT

Peace activist Rachel Corrie died while protesting in front of a bulldozer trying to destroy a Palestinian home in Rafah in March 2003. Photograph: Denny Sternstein/AP

The family of the American activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza seven years ago, is to bring a civil suit over her death against the Israeli defence ministry.

The case, which begins on 10 March in Haifa, northern Israel, is seen by her parents as an opportunity to put on public record the events that led to their daughter's death in March 2003. Four key witnesses – three Britons and an American – who were at the scene in Rafah when Corrie was killed will give evidence, according the family lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein.

The four were all with the International Solidarity Movement, the activist group to which Corrie belonged. They have since been denied entry to Israel, and the group's offices in Ramallah have been raided several times in recent weeks by the Israeli military.

Now, under apparent US pressure, the Israeli government has agreed to allow them entry so they can testify. Corrie's parents, Cindy and Craig, will also fly to Israel for the hearing.

A Palestinian doctor from Gaza, Ahmed Abu Nakira, who treated Corrie after she was injured and later confirmed her death, has not been given permission by the Israeli authorities to leave Gaza to attend.

Abu Hussein, a leading human rights lawyer in Israel, said there was evidence from witnesses that soldiers saw Corrie at the scene, with other activists, well before the incident and could have arrested or removed her from the area before there was any risk of her being killed.

"After her death the military began an investigation but unfortunately, as in most of these cases, it found the activity of the army was legal and there was no intentional killing," he said. "We would like the court to decide her killing was due to wrong-doing or was intentional." If the Israeli state is found responsible, the family will press for damages.

Corrie, who was born in Olympia, Washington, travelled to Gaza to act as a human shield at a moment of intense conflict between the Israeli military and the Palestinians. On the day she died, when she was 23, she was dressed in a fluorescent orange vest and was trying to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home. She was crushed under a military Caterpillar bulldozer and died shortly afterwards.

A month after her death the Israeli military said an investigation had determined its troops were not to blame and said the driver of the bulldozer had not seen her and did not intentionally run her over. Instead, it accused her and the International Solidarity Movement of behaviour that was "illegal, irresponsible and dangerous."

The army report, obtained by the Guardian in April 2003, said she "was struck as she stood behind a mound of earth that was created by an engineering vehicle operating in the area and she was hidden from the view of the vehicle's operator who continued with his work. Corrie was struck by dirt and a slab of concrete resulting in her death."

Witnesses presented a strikingly different version of events. Tom Dale, a British activist who was 10m away when Corrie was killed, wrote an account of the incident two days later.

He described how she first knelt in the path of an approaching bulldozer and then stood as it reached her. She climbed on a mound of earth and the crowd nearby shouted at the bulldozer to stop. He said the bulldozer pushed her down and drove over her.

"They pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit," Dale wrote.

"They waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time. Every second I believed they would stop but they never did."

While she was in the Palestinian territories, Corrie wrote vividly about her experiences. Her diaries were later turned into a play, My Name is Rachel Corrie, which has toured internationally, including to Israel and the West Bank.

Other foreigners killed by Israeli forces

Iain Hook, 54, a British UN official, was shot dead by an Israeli army sniper in Jenin in November 2002. A British inquest found he had been unlawfully killed. The Israeli government paid an undisclosed sum in compensation to Hook's family.

Tom Hurndall, a 22-year-old British photography student, was shot in the head in Rafah, Gaza, in April 2003 while helping to pull Palestinian children to safety. In August 2005 an Israeli soldier was sentenced to eight years for manslaughter.

James Miller, 34, a British cameraman, was shot dead in Gaza in May 2003. He was leaving the home of a Palestinian family in Rafah refugee camp at night, waving a white flag. An inquest in Britain found Miller had been murdered. Last year Israel paid about £1.5m in damages to Miller's family.

Austin Kelley
02-24-2010, 01:54 PM
The Corries are awesome and inspiring people. I wish them all the best.

Magda Hassan
02-24-2010, 11:45 PM
This is good news. Unbelievable what they did to her. Inhuman. She, on the other hand is an ispiration as are her family. I wish them all the best in this and I hope this get a lot of publicity.

Peter Lemkin
02-25-2010, 08:27 AM
See Corrie Website http://www.rachelcorrie.org/statements.htm

And see play My Name Is Rachel Corrie (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1127233395334654720) [banned in NYC and many others]

The good die young!....

Magda Hassan
03-11-2010, 12:35 AM
Rachel Corrie Family Finally Puts Israel in Dock
Court hears how army bulldozer killed peace activist
By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

March 10, 2010 "Information Clearing House (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/)" -- Seven years after Rachel Corrie, a US peace activist, was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, her family was to put the Israeli government in the dock today.

A judge in the northern Israeli city of Haifa was due to be presented with evidence that 23-year-old Corrie was killed unlawfully as she stood in the path of the bulldozer, trying to prevent it from demolishing Palestinian homes in Rafah.

Corrie’s parents, Craig and Cindy, who arrived in Israel on Saturday, said they hoped their civil action would shed new light on their daughter’s killing and finally lead to Israel’s being held responsible for her death. They are also seeking damages that could amount to millions of dollars if the court finds in their favour.

An internal army investigation was closed shortly after Corrie’s death, exonerating both the bulldozer driver and the commanders who oversaw the operation.

Three Britons and one US citizen, who were standing close to Corrie when she was killed, are expected to challenge Israel’s version of events, arguing that the bulldozer driver knew Corrie was there when he ran her over.

The Israeli government had sought to block the activists from entering Israel for the hearing but finally relented three weeks ago, when Britain and the US exerted strong pressure.

The four, like Corrie, belonged to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which brings activists to Israel to resist the occupation non-violently alongside Palestinians.

Cindy Corrie, from Olympia, Washington, said: “My family and I are still searching for justice. The brutal death of my daughter should never have happened. We believe the Israeli army must be held accountable for her unlawful killing.”

For many observers, Rachel Corrie’s death in March 2003 rapidly came to symbolise the injustices of Israel’s occupation. Diary entries, many of them written while she was living with Palestinian families, were adapted into a play that has been performed around the world.

However, as one Israeli commentator noted in the liberal daily newspaper Haaretz on the first anniversary of her death: “In Israel, her name has been all but forgotten.”

Corrie’s family hopes the court case will rectify that.

Rachel, a film released last year about her life and the events in Rafah, is due to be screened in Tel Aviv on March 16, on the seventh anniversary of her death and in the midst of the legal proceedings.

Until the court case in Haifa, the Corrie family had run into a series of administrative and legal brick walls in trying to get their daughter’s death independently investigated and to hold those responsible to account.

Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister at the time of Corrie’s death, promised a “thorough, credible and transparent investigation” would be conducted.

But an internal military inquiry clearing the two soldiers operating the bulldozer was widely criticised, including by US officials. Human Rights Watch said it “fell far short of the transparency, impartiality and thoroughness required by international law”.

The army’s report claimed that Corrie had been “hidden from view” behind a mound of earth and that the bulldozer had never come into contact with her. It concluded that “Corrie was struck by dirt and a slab of concrete” as earth slipped on top of her.

The four former ISM activists due to appear in court this week have been told not to comment before giving their testimonies.

But previous witness statements, backed by photographic evidence, have questioned the army’s account. Photographs show Corrie, wearing an orange fluorescent jacket and holding a megaphone, confronting the bulldozer over several hours. They also show the bulldozer’s track marks over Corrie’s body moments after she was crushed.

Tom Dale, a British activist who was next to Corrie when she was killed, wrote two days later that she had climbed on top of a mound of earth as activists nearby shouted at the bulldozer driver to stop.

The bulldozer, he wrote, “pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit. They waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time.”

In 2007 a US court denied the Corrie family the right to sue the Caterpillar company, which supplies the Israeli army with the special D-9 bulldozers that killed their daughter and that Israel regularly uses to demolish Palestinian homes.

This week’s hearing is the outcome of a private lawsuit filed by the Corries in March 2005, at the suggestion of the US state department.

Mrs Corrie said: “We hope this trial will also illustrate the need for accountability for thousands of lives lost, or indelibly injured, by the Israeli occupation and bring attention to the assault on non-violent human-rights defenders.”

Mr Corrie added that the family had had to endure “lies and misrepresentations” about the circumstances of their daughter’s death. The family also accused Israel of resorting to procedural delays to drag the case out.

Although Israel has agreed to let in the four ISM witnesses, it has refused to allow Ahmed Abu Nakira, a doctor in Gaza who treated Corrie, to attend the hearing or to be questioned over a video link.

The lawsuit accuses the Israeli government of being responsible either for Corrie’s intentional killing or for the negligent conduct of its soldiers towards unarmed demonstrators.

Israel claims it is not liable because the army’s actions were “acts of war” and because Corrie recklessly endangered herself.

Around the time Corrie was killed, three Britons -- Iain Hook, Tom Hurndall and James Millar -- were fatally shot by Israeli soldiers. Only in the case of Hurndall, another ISM volunteer who was shot in Rafah a month after Corrie, did an investigation lead to a soldier being found guilty and jailed.

Hussein Abu Hussein, the Corrie family’s lawyer, said they were seeking $324,000 compensation for specific costs related to Corrie’s death, including the funeral, legal expenses and flights. In addition, the family will ask for general compensation for their suffering and Rachel’s loss of earnings, and punitive damages from the state.

In recent weeks the ISM’s office in the West Bank has been raided several times by the Israeli army, with computers and documents taken.

Mr Abu Hussein said he would be arguing in court that the D-9’s manual specifically states that work must not be carried out with civilians nearby, and that the state ignored a judicial decision that a US embassy representative be present at Corrie’s autopsy.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

A version of this article originally appeared in The National (www.thenational.ae), published in Abu Dhabi.

Dawn Meredith
03-11-2010, 06:38 PM
See Corrie Website http://www.rachelcorrie.org/statements.htm

And see play My Name Is Rachel Corrie (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1127233395334654720) [banned in NYC and many others]

The good die young!....

She was murdered in cold blood. I too hope on this, the seventh anniversary of her brutal slaying, that her family is afforded justice. Her story is heartbreaking.

Magda Hassan
10-18-2010, 10:39 AM
Bulldozer driver and ground commander to testify in Corrie trial


by Rachel Corrie Foundation (http://www.facebook.com/rcfoundation) on Monday, 18 October 2010 at 11:34

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 18, 2010
Supreme Court refuses challenge to use of screen to shield soldiers
Haifa, Israel – The driver of the bulldozer that crushed to death Rachel Corrie in Rafah, Gaza, in March 2003, and the military commander in charge of the unit on the ground that day, are scheduled to testify on Thursday, October 21 in the civil lawsuit filed by Rachel’s family against the state of Israel for her unlawful killing.

Download this press release: English (http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/download/42) (pdf, 164.55 kB)
Earlier this month, the court granted the State of Israel’s request that soldiers involved in the incident be permitted to testify behind a screen to protect their identity. Lawyers for the Corrie family appealed the decision to the Israeli Supreme Court, requesting that at a minimum the family be allowed to view the soldiers, but the court refused to hear the challenge.
Consequently, the bulldozer driver will testify behind a screen. However, because the unit commander on the ground that day, Captain R.S., gave an interview that was broadcast on Israeli television in 2003, and was thus already known to the public, the presiding judge ruled that he will testify in plain view. Although disclosed during the TV broadcast, his name still remains redacted in official court records.
A third witness scheduled, known only as S.L., was driving the second bulldozer in the unit near Palestinian homes in Rafah. He will also testify from behind a screen.
The court was to hold hearings in the case on October 17-18, but postponed due to a death in Judge Gershon’s family. Therefore, additional court dates are anticipated to be added to the court calendar.
The October 21 hearing will take place between the hours of 9:00-16:00 before Judge Oded Gershon at the Haifa, District Court, 12 Palyam St., Haifa, Israel.
Please visit rachelcorriefoundation.org/trial for trial updates, changes to the court schedule and related information.
For press related inquiries and further information, please contact:
Stacy Sullivan
stacy [at] rachelcorriefoundation.org
Phone (Israel): 972-54-280-7572

Ed Jewett
04-11-2012, 08:11 PM
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2012

Justice for Rachel Corrie Delayed


Justice for Rachel Corrie Delayed


by Stephen Lendman


Delay may end up denial. More on that below.


On March 16, 2003, an Israeli bulldozer driver murdered Rachel in cold blood.


Trying to stop a Rafah refugee camp home demolition, eye witnesses said she climbed atop the giant Caterpillar tractor, spoke to the driver, climbed down, knelt 10 - 20 meters in front in clear view, and blocked its path with her body.


With activists screaming for it to stop, the soldier-operator deliberately crushed her to death. To be sure, he ran over her twice.


Rachel's family wants justice. So should everyone. The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice (http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/)(RCFPJ) supports it. Its mission and guiding principles state:


The Foundation continues what Rachel began. It reflects "her vision, spirit, and creative energy...." It supports "build(ing) understanding, respect, and appreciation for differences, and that promote cooperation within and between local and global communities."


"The foundation encourages and supports grassroots efforts in pursuit of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice, which we view as pre-requisites for world peace."


Its guiding principles include:

challenging injustice and resisting oppression;


teaching justice and peacemaking skills;


advancing "human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice for all....;"


seeking creative ways to achieve these goals; and


committing to people and places the way Rachel did, especially those most disadvantaged and repressed.


Rachel was 23 when murdered. She believed in nonviolent direct action. She supported oppressed Palestinians. It became her life's struggle. She gave it doing what's right. What greater sacrifice than that!


In her own words, she said:


"I’m here for other children.


I’m here because I care.


I’m here because children everywhere are suffering and because forty thousand people die each day from hunger.


I’m here because those people are mostly children.


We have got to understand that they dream our dreams and we dream theirs.


We have got to understand that they are us. We are them.


My dream is to stop hunger by the year 2000.


My dream is to give the poor a chance.


My dream is to save the 40,000 people who die each day.


My dream can and will come true if we all look into the future and see the light that shines there.


If we ignore hunger, that light will go out.


If we all help and work together, it will grow and burn free with the potential of tomorrow."


Her dedication and humility came out in comments like "I can't be Picasso. I can't be Jesus. I can't save the planet single-handedly. I can wash dishes."


From Occupied Palestine, he emailed often. Her comments showed dedication. They're inspirational for others. They reflect a spirit vital to be kept alive. The Foundation, Rachel's family, friends, and kindred spirits do it.


What better life's mission than supporting peace and justice. Rachel died for it. It bears repeating. What greater sacrifice than that!


Rachel's Family Lawsuit


In 2005, representing Rachel's family, attorney Hussein abu Hussein sued the State of Israel. It bears full responsibility for her death.


On March 10, 2010, oral testimonies began. Fifteen court hearings were held. Twenty-three witnesses testified. They included four International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activists with Rachel when she died. They saw what happened close up. Over 2,000 court transcript papers were produced.


US embassy officials attended each hearing. So did Rachel's family members, as well as numerous international legal and human rights organization observers.


On July 11, 2011, proceedings concluded. Judge Oded Gershon scheduled dates for both sides to present written summations and closing arguments. He also set April 23, 2012 for his ruling. Multiple delays along the way postponed it.


Rescheduling hasn't been set. The longer it's delayed, the more likely justice will be denied. Whatever the ruling, Rachel's lost life can't be restored.


In her absence, her inspirational spirit motivates others to continue her important work. Helping others and pursuing justice defines it. The Rafah City/Rafeh refugee camp Rachel Corrie Clinic and Children's Center (http://www.mecaforpeace.org/partners/rachel-corrie-childrens-center) performs vital services in her name.


The Rachel Corrie Memorial web site (http://www.rachelcorrie.org/) provides information about her and what everyone can do. The best way to honor her is follow her example. Support peace and justice issues. What's more important than those.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.



posted by Steve Lendman @ 10:08 AM (http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2012/04/justice-for-rachel-corrie-delayed.html)

Albert Doyle
04-14-2012, 04:52 PM
Rachel Corrie's being crushed to death by a US Military Industrial Complex Caterpillar bulldozer in the process of committing Geneva Conventions-violating collective punishment and destruction of civilian property human rights violations is more than symbolic.