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Rachel Corrie verdict: Death under IDF bulldozer was an accident

An Israeli judge ruled Tuesday morning that the State of Israel is not to blame for the death of Rachel Corrie, an American who was killed on March 16, 2003 in the Gaza Strip when she she stood in front of an IDF bulldozer that crushed her.  The judge called her death a “regrettable accident.

American activist Rachel Corrie (photo: Rachel Corrie Foundation)

Rachel Corrie was in Rafah as an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, acting as a human shield to protest the demolition of Palestinian homes. She was 23 years old at the time of her death. She had arrived in Israel in January 2003 and spent two days getting trained in the West Bank with the ISM before going to demonstrate in the Gaza Strip. During this period there were demolitions happening on an almost daily basis.

An Israeli military investigation into the incident in 2003 found that the IDF was not to blame, arguing that the area was a “combatant” zone that protesters should not have entered in the first place, and that Corrie put herself in a dangerous position. The IDF also argued that she was not visible to the soldier operating the bulldozer and was in fact killed by debris falling on her.

Corrie’s parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, filed a civil claim of negligence against the Israel Ministry of Defense in 2005, and now, almost 10 years after her death, an Israeli judge in Haifa has reaffirmed the military findings, clearing the Defense Ministry of any responsibility.

According to the family’s attorney Hussein Abu Hussein:

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.

Dozens of activists were at the courthouse in Haifa Tuesday morning to show support for the Corries and to protest the expected verdict. Supporters say there is no way she was not visible as she was photographed wearing an orange high visibility jacket.

At a press conference held after the ruling, Cindy Corrie said, “This was a bad day not only for my family but for human rights, humanity and the rule of law and also for the country of Israel.” The family intends to appeal the decision with the High Court in the next 45 days.

Here is a video interview with Rachel, filmed just two days before she was killed.

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    1. The infamous captain R, who murdered 13 year old Iman Darweesh Al Hams at close range, was payed handsomely for his deed, plus a promotion to major. Calling Rachel’s killing “an accident” is sort of the best they can do, I guess, within the framework of a culture (or should we say ‘cult’?) of impunity. The only thing one can think of that could be good about this, is that it would finally make it to main stream news, not as “an accident” but as a dangerous symptom.

      Reply to Comment
      • PS Max Blumenthal claims: “No one from the Israeli media was present — the case has been virtually ignored inside Israel.” Is that true?

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    2. Mairav Zonszein

      Israeli media was indeed present and all the major outlets are reporting on the verdict. However whether the case got sufficient attention in Israeli media over the years is debatable.

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    3. Laurent Szyster

      It was not a regrettable accident, indeed.

      Because neither did Rachel Corrie stand in front of that bulldozer by accident, nor was she inadvertently brainwashed into martyrdom.

      PS: While the propalestinian crowd mourns its icon, the UN just reported that the Gaza Strip ‘will not be liveable by 2020’ … thanks to its own disastrous demographic policy.

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    4. Rachel Corrie will live forever as a symbol of selfless sacrifice in the fight against oppression and evil. The Zionist state will be remembered in infamy after it dissolves, like all oppressive regimes before it.

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      • Dan

        Yes, much like Simon of Trent was a symbol of youth, children and martydom

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      • caleb

        She will be remembered as being unfortunate for dying so young but also others should learn from the ignorance she displayed by involving herself in thing which do not concern her.
        I don’t see aid workers running to Syria where some 30,000 have been killed and even more would.
        It is the face of hypocrisy and the lesson to be learned is not to stand in front of a large tractor lest you will not be seen.

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        • RichardL

          Crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Israel do not concern aid workers. The same crimes committed in Syria should. Please explain this contradiction.

          Incidentally what have you done for the millions suffering in Syria other than to exploit their misery by shedding crocodile tears on this site?

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    5. Jay

      It was a groovy verdict — RC should have known better than to go out to play directly in front of a moving bulldozer.

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    6. Richard Witty

      Her effort was courageous.


      She was attempting to help others. That is admirable.

      One can disagree with her views, her priorities and still respect her willingness to sacrifice herself for others’ well-being.

      ISM though also should review its policies and practices, so that it doesn’t carelessly continue to put idealists at risk beyond their actual level of commitment.

      Did the Corrie family confront the ISM at all in the course of the history?

      Reply to Comment
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