There was no middle ground in reactions to the Haifa District Court ruling
rejecting the Corrie family’s case on Tuesday, with Rachel Corrie’s parents and
attorney calling the ruling a “black day for human rights,” and the State
Attorney’s Office expressing complete satisfaction that the court fully accepted
Hussein Abu-Hussein said that the court’s ruling showed
that there was injustice across the legal system.
photographs which had been presented in court and which he said proved that the
bulldozer must have seen Corrie.
The photographs also disproved the
judge’s ruling that the bulldozers were active, but not demolishing homes at the
time, said Hussein.
Hussein argued that there was no basis for applying
the “combatant activities” exception because there was no battle going on at the
time that Rachel was killed.
Rather, he noted that all that was happening
was several hours of a slow motion version of cat and mouse where the bulldozers
would approach an area to bulldoze it and International Solidarity Movement
(ISM) Activists like Corrie would step in the way until they were removed or
moved out of the way on their own.
Her voice trembling, Corrie’s mother
Cindy read out a letter written by Rachel to thank her hosts in Gaza where she
was staying at the time of the incident and in which she told them to remain
hopeful against the “occupation.”
Cindy also said that the ruling was a
blow not just for her family personally, but for human rights both in Gaza and
Rachel Corrie’s humanity was missing from the trial and was
ignored by the court’s decision, said Cindy.
Cindy also lashed out at the
IDF, saying that she believed the investigation was flawed and a cover-up from
the start, but that she had hoped the judge would fix the situation.
contrast, the state attorney called Corrie’s death “without a doubt a tragic
accident.” However, the state also said that, “As the verdict states – the
driver of the bulldozer and his commander had a very limited field of vision,
such that they had no possibility of seeing Ms. Corrie and thus are
exonerated of any blame for negligence.”
The press release also noted
that the background to the incident was “a military action in the course of
war.” “The security forces at the Philadelphi Corridor during 2003 were
compelled to carry out ‘leveling’ work against explosive devices that posed a
tangible danger to life and limb and were not in any form posing a threat to
Palestinian homes,” said the statement.
On behalf of the Palestinian
Authority, legislator and activist Hanan Ashrawi said that despite the
“testimonies of eyewitnesses, the audiovisual evidence and the overwhelming
proof that Rachel was deliberately murdered, the Israeli court insists on
victimizing her again in her tragic death.”
“This proves that once again
the occupation has distorted the legal and judicial systems in Israel and that
the lack of accountability for its violence and violations has generated a
culture of hate and impunity,” she said.
NGO Monitor, which critiques
various anti-Israel NGOs, said that the court had affirmed that Corrie had put
herself in harm’s way while acting on behalf of the ISM.
reflects all of the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident, without
the slogans and distortions,” said the statement.
In fact, “Corrie’s
death was entirely unnecessary, and the leaders of the ISM bear much culpability
for her death,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO
NGO Monitor also quoted ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida
Arraf as stating in 2002 that, “The Palestinian resistance must take on a
variety of characteristics, both non-violent and violent...
will get killed and injured,” but these deaths are “no less noble than carrying
out a suicide operation.”