Israel’s high court hears appeal of suit by family of Rachel Corrie

Israel/Palestine
on 12 Comments

corrie.familyLast week the family of Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003 while trying to protect a Palestinian house from demolition, appealed a civil suit to Israel’s high court. In 2012 parents Craig and Cindy Corrie lost a Haifa district trial. The judges ruled because Corrie, 23, was in a “combat zone,” the soldier who killed her and the Israeli military could not be held liable.

Representing the Corrie family, Hussein Abu Hussein, chairman of Adalah — the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel — argued the lower court’s verdict should be overturned due to a botched military investigation. “Nobody investigated the command center that was observing this sector or the tape,” said Abu Hussein during the hearing. He added, “There are no laws to protect the destruction of evidence.”

Abu Hussein said the video evidence that was included was marked by “blurring in the very beginning of the tape” and it disappeared for seven days after it was discovered during the military investigation. Another video of Corrie’s final moments found by documentary filmmaker Simon Bitton and featured in the film “Rachel,” which is longer and in color, was never presented to the court. Furthermore, two 19-year old soldiers who the appeal alleges had “no experience in investigations” conducted the army review.

The soldier who drove over Corrie told army investigators in 2003 that he did not see her until after she was crushed. Corrie stood a mere 10 meters from the bulldozer driver in the seconds before he drove over her. State attorney’s also said from that distance “she yelled, but they [the soldiers] couldn’t hear.”

Corrie was dressed in a gray pullover with a bright orange hazard vest. Lawyers for her family said she had screamed along with other foreigners present. Yet the driver maintained he was not negligent because a mound of dirt blocked her from his line of sight. In the appeal, Abu Hussein presented photographs from before and after the Corrie’s death where there was no visible mound.

Lawyers representing the state argued that the cause of death was not being contested, the liability is. They maintained that Corrie was in a danger zone and so she alone was negligible for her own killing.

“All of the soldiers,” argued the state’s attorneys, “said there was a vital need of this particular operation,” to demolish houses near the “Philadelphia corridor,” a buffer zone near the Rafah crossing inside Gaza that was controlled by Israeli forces at the time of Corrie’s death.

State attorneys claimed that the soldiers were not able to suspend their operation to remove Corrie from standing in front of the house she was protecting, because such a break from the army mission could risk the lives of the Israeli citizens. “They couldn’t predict the fact that the activists would behave in such a manner as they did.”

“It seemed from what I could tell the judges asked important questions,” Cindy Corrie said after the appeal was presented to the panel of jurists. “They seemed to understand the key issues that are involved. We have to trust that they will take a good look at that and look at how the decisions they make here will greatly impact what happens to human rights defenders like my daughter.”

She continued: “One of the hardest things for me is the context of why Rachel was there gets lost sometimes and there were massive home demolitions going on. Rachel was not on the Philadelphia corridor, the original Philadelphia corridor that Israel has access to under international law.” Corrie’s mother said that she was killed while protecting a house that was outside of the militarized buffer zone.

The presiding judges on the appeal will not convene a public hearing to deliver their verdict; it is to be delivered on the court’s website. “We don’t know when, it could be in one week, it could be in one month, it could be in one year,” said a spokesperson for the Corrie family.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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12 Responses

  1. just
    May 26, 2014, 11:51 am

    Israel is so psychotic in this and in so many other ways.

    Bless Rachel, her family and friends.

    “The presiding judges on the appeal will not convene a public hearing to deliver their verdict; it is to be delivered on the court’s website. “We don’t know when, it could be in one week, it could be in one month, it could be in one year,” said a spokesperson for the Corrie family.”

    What a load. Disrespect ad nauseam. Business as usual for this state.

    “Furthermore, two 19-year old soldiers who the appeal alleges had “no experience in investigations” conducted the army review.”

    Huh? 2 19 y.o. kids??????

  2. Citizen
    May 26, 2014, 12:01 pm

    Rachel’s mother said recently on Scott Horton show that Rachel was trying to protect children in the house the IDF bulldozer was demolishing. She had slept with them, the night before she was murdered. I really despise Americans who never heard the name Rachel Corrie. It’s so symbolic of the US public’s ignorance, and the manipulative control of the five big corporations delivering 90% of mainstream news on the I-P situation. Such is the state of “informed consent” in America. Democracy, poof!

    • Kay24
      May 26, 2014, 5:50 pm

      Americans do not know about Rachel Corrie, because the controlled media are toeing the zionist line of not mentioning anything that makes Israel looks bad, to the American public. After all Israel must be protected at all costs, even the cost of an American life.
      If this was Iran, and she was trying to protect the home of an Iranian family, when she was cruelly killed by a bulldozer, she would be considered a hero, and all the US media, would have covered this story, making the Iranian government look evil.
      It is sickening that the MSM keeps covering the Amanda Knox murder trial, and CNN even interviewed her (with hardly any sympathy for the victim Meredith Kercher), but totally ignore the murder of a wonderful young lady, who was killed trying to help powerless people. I sincerely hope Rachel Corrie’s parents gets some justice, and can find closure, for the murder of her daughter, the botched investigation, and the obvious discrepancies in this case, but we all know no one
      can trust those Israelis.

  3. Hostage
    May 26, 2014, 12:49 pm

    Off topic breaking news: a Turkish High Court has issued arrest warrants for four senior Israeli officers over the 2010 raid on the Gaza aid flotilla. They can be arrested if the enter Turkey or any country, like the United States, that has an extradition treaty with Turkey.
    * http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.592911
    * http://www.mcnabbassociates.com/Turkey%20International%20Extradition%20Treaty%20with%20the%20United%20States.pdf

    • just
      May 26, 2014, 12:51 pm

      Wonderful news! Thanks Hostage.

      (not so off-topic at all! I was thinking of the flotilla victims as I was reading this article by Allison… another died just the other day)

  4. David Doppler
    May 26, 2014, 1:25 pm

    “They maintained that Corrie was in a danger zone and so she alone was negligible for her own killing.”

    “negligible” . . . . She is not negligible in the minds of those who admire people willing to stand up for justice.

    We’ll see what the Israeli court is made of, justice, or rationalization for murder and oppression.

    • just
      May 26, 2014, 1:47 pm

      I assume that ‘negligible’ is a typo, and that ‘negligent’ was meant.

      Perhaps not.

  5. eljay
    May 26, 2014, 1:48 pm

    >> They maintained that Corrie was in a danger zone and so she alone was negligible for her own killing.”

    Does this rule apply to citizens of Sderot and Ashkelon? Or does the state feel that this rule is only valid when non-Jews are killed by Jews?

  6. Citizen
    May 26, 2014, 4:22 pm

    I repeat, Rachel’s mother said recently on the Scot Horton radio show that Rachel had slept at the home demolished the night before, and that while it was being demolished there were still children living there, those she had slept with the night before she was killed. Any takers on this info?

    • just
      May 26, 2014, 5:14 pm

      I had heard that before, Citizen. Rachel was doing the work of angels… and the Israelis murdered her and still refuse to take any responsibility. It’s part of the sociopathy of the Zionist state.

      I pray that they will be brought to account for her murder and for much, much more in the near future.

      And her parents are continuing her good work in their efforts to hold Israel responsible– thereby trying to ensure the safety of other activists and humanitarians.

  7. Philip Munger
    May 27, 2014, 12:33 am

    Anyone who expects this court to reverse the lower court’s ruling is expecting more than is likely.

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