The Washington Post

Rachel Corrie ruling ‘shameful,’ some pro-Palestine activists say

The ruling by an Israeli court that the 2003 death of Rachel Corrie was an accident drew immediate scorn from several pro-Palestinian groups and writers, who view the decision as evidence that the Israeli government ignores the human rights of Palestinians and their supporters.

The court decided Tuesday that the country’s military was not responsible for the death of Corrie, an American activist who was run over by an army bulldozer as she was protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli court has ruled that the death of U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie in 2003 was not Israel's fault and was an accident. Corrie was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer while acting as a human shield in an attempt to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes in Gaza. (Getty Images/GETTY IMAGES)

The bulldozer’s driver said he didn’t see the 23-year-old activist as she stood in the vehicle’s path, and the military deemed her death an accident after an investigation. Corrie’s parents filed a civil lawsuit, calling the investigation not credible and requesting just $1 in damages. Judge Oded Gershon cleared the Israeli military of any wrongdoing.

"She [Corrie] did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done,” the judge said.

Some took to twitter to voice their outrage over the decision.

With the #RachelCorrie verdict, Israel has moved one step closer to erasing the idea that Palestinians and their supporters are civilians.

— joseph dana (@ibnezra) August 28, 2012

The verdict is in.Shameful. “@rcfoundation:State&army absolved of responsibility killing #RachelCorrie.” Judge says Rachel caused own death

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) August 28, 2012

As expected #Israel legal systems fails to provide Rachel Corrie’s family with justice, read: “A History of Impunity”

— Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) August 28, 2012

In an editorial, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal wrote that the incident is indicative of an Israeli military mindset that “gave itself a blanket protection by declaring southern Gaza a war zone, even though it was heavily populated by ordinary Palestinians, and set rules of engagement so broad that just about anyone was a target.”

Meanwhile, pro-Israel advocates called Corrie a “leftist radical” for her outspoken style:

#RachelCorrie Leftist Radical who burned the US flag surrounded by Palestinians in the W. Bank:……

— Dennis (@Dennis_Hostetlr) August 28, 2012

In an interview activists say was conducted with Corrie two days prior to her death, she describes the circumstances that drew her to the region:

“I’ve been here for about a month and a half now, and this is defnitely the most difficult situation that I’ve ever seen. In the time that I’ve been here, children have been shot and killed. On the 30th of January, the Israeli military bulldozed the two largest water wells. People are economically devastated because of the closure of the borders. I feel a lot of horror about the situation.”

Tom Dale, now a news editor at the Egypt Independent, tweeted an account he gave after allegedly witnessing the incident in 2003:

“The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop as it went. She knelt there, she did not move. The bulldozer reached her and she began to stand up, climbing onto the mound of earth. She appeared to be looking into the cockpit. The bulldozer continued to push Rachel, so she slipped down the mound of earth, turning as she went. Her faced showed she was panicking and it was clear she was in danger of being overwhelmed.”

“All the activists were screaming at the bulldozer to stop and gesturing to the crew about Rachel’s presence. We were in clear view as Rachel had been, they continued. They 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. Every second I believed they would stop but they never did.”

In a statement given by the unnamed Israeli battalion deputy commander, troops claimed they were unable to see Corrie properly through the bulldozer’s cockpit:

"As a result of the situation that has been created and the repeated but unsuccessful efforts to keep these people away, the event that occurred was unavoidable. The D-9's field of vision is small; the D-9 identified the impact only after it happened. 

CNN quoted Rachel’s mother, Cindy Corrie, as saying, "I believe 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” in response to Tuesday’s verdict.

More world news coverage:

- France urges action in Syria

- ASEAN nations struggle with rivalries

- Taliban said to behead 17 Afghans

- Read more headlines from around the world


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