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Israel cleared itself again about US Activist piece and justice martyr Rachel Corrie Death

Israel Court rejects family’s lawsuit alleging Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer, was unlawfully killed.

Rachel Corrie’s family filed the civil lawsuit in the city of Haifa in 2005 accusing the Israeli state of intentionally and unlawfully killing their 23-year-old daughter and failing to conduct a full and credible investigation.

In a lengthy ruling, the judge said Miss Corrie’s death was a “regrettable accident”.

He said Israel was not responsible for any “damages caused” as they had occurred during what he termed war-time actions and dismissed allegations that key video evidence had been destroyed.

Rachel Corrie in front of an Israeli army bulldozer at Rafah, 16 March 2003
Rachel Corrie in front of an Israeli army bulldozer at Rafah, 16 March 2003

Miss Corrie was killed in the Gaza border town of Rafah in 2003 as she and other activists attempted to block the bulldozer in a protest against the Israeli military’s demolition of Palestinian homes.

Judge Oded Gershon said soldiers at the scene had done their utmost to keep people away from the site and therefore prevent accidents.

“She (Miss Corrie) did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done,” he said.

The bulldozer driver, who has said he did not see Miss Corrie, and his superiors had all previously been cleared of wrongdoing by an Israeli military court.

The Corries were seeking a symbolic $1 in damages, along with compensation for the money they have spent bringing the case to trial.

They said they have spent more than $200,000 (£125,000) of their own savings to fly in witnesses, attend hearings and translate more than 2,000 pages of court transcripts.

Speaking at a news conference after the verdict, Rachel’s mother, Cindy Corrie, said: “We insist that Rachel’s killing could have and should have been avoided.

“We believe that Rachel was seen. Everything that we knew coming into this process, reinforced by all that we saw and heard in court confirmed our belief that at least one soldier … knew Rachel was in the bulldozer’s path.

She added: “The policies that Rachel came to Gaza to oppose, that led to her killing and the killing of so many others must change.

“At the very least we hope that our loss will make some small difference in making those changes more likely.”

The family’s lawyer Hussein Abu Hussein told reporters that they would appeal.

“The verdict is based upon distorted facts and could have been written by the state’s attorney,” he said.

Several foreign activists have been killed or wounded in confrontations with the Israeli military during the past decade, but Miss Corrie’s case became a symbol of what activist’s say is Israel’s harsh repression of non-violent protest.

The case was the first civil lawsuit over the death or injury of a foreigner by Israel’s military to conclude in a full civilian trial. Others have resulted in out-of-court settlements.

Tom Dale, a pro-Palestinian campaigner and friend of Rachel Corrie told  “For those who follow events in Gaza and Palestine, we are not wholly a surprise there is another event in which justice has not been met.

“The unfortunate reality of having spent some time in Gaza, or in Palestine in general, is that one very frequeently sees tragic, terrible abuses of human rights in which the official line of the Israeli government, and even the later verdict of the courts doesn’t match up to reality.

“Those cases which have to come to court, unfortunately, are yet to see a single prosecution of an Israeli soldier for murder.”

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