Craig, Cindy and Sarah Corrie (Simpson) said on Sunday they hope that after
nearly 10 years, the Haifa District Court will find the IDF responsible in the
death of their daughter Rachel, 23, in Rafah, the southern Gaza
Strip. A verdict is expected on Tuesday.
She was killed in disputed circumstances on March 16, 2003, while
protesting an IDF home demolition.
In a wide-ranging interview with The
, Cindy described herself as “naive” when the trial started two
years ago about what it would look like and its ability to reveal more about
what led to her daughter’s death and how the investigation was
The Corries said that while they remained “optimistic” about
the result, they also knew from the start that suing the Defense Ministry would
be an “uphill battle.”
While they did not want to prejudge the outcome of
the case, Craig appeared to make it clear that they were ready to go to the
Supreme Court if the Defense Ministry was not found liable.
that while she found various decisions the judge made about the admissibility of
evidence troubling, she also felt that she had “bonded” on some level with the
“We sat in court with him for two-and-a-half years,” she said, and
he tried to convey messages to them turning in their direction and speaking to
them through their lawyer (the Corries do not speak Hebrew). The family
highlighted several of the points that have emerged in dispute over the course
of the trial.
Sarah, Rachel’s sister, said that bilingual observers who
attended the hearings disputed the translations made by the court translator
relating to the testimony of some of the key eye witnesses’ who testified in
Even the judge recognized some limitations in the court
translator’s ability, said Sarah, noting that the judge at certain points looked
toward the bilingual observers accompanying the Corries for approval of some of
Although this has not been a central legal contention
by the family’s attorney, it is another example of how almost every detail in
the case has been disputed at some point.
The Corries were highly
critical of most of the main defense witnesses for the state. They argued that
they did not think that a former IDF spokeswoman, whose testimony was accepted, would have been accepted under US legal standards as an
expert on the International Solidarity Movement, which Rachel was involved in
when she was killed.
A major argument for the state has been to
characterize Rachel’s activities and the events of her death as being directly
connected to ISM, which the state considers an illegitimate
The state also cited court decisions characterizing the ISM
as interfering with IDF operations.
The Corries were taken aback at what
they called the “aggressive” tactics of the state in this regard.
complained that the closure they expected to achieve from meeting the bulldozer
driver who they consider to have killed Rachel went unrealized because they
never got to see him or make eye contact with him. Rather, they only heard his
testimony from behind a screen and through a microphone.
Ministry issued an order barring the disclosure of the identities of any of the
soldiers involved in the operation out of a concern for their safety.
Corries said that they had asked that just they be able to see the bulldozer
driver, ostensibly ensuring his safety from view by the general public, but that
this request was denied.
Cindy said that she found it “hurtful” that the
driver could not “remember the time of day” when Rachel was killed. She said
that she had wanted “to know more about the humanity of this person.”
driver testified that it is difficult to hear or see while operating a bulldozer
and that he had no idea Rachel was in the area.
The state also said that
Rachel was in the middle of a war zone where the IDF was regularly being
Cindy also expressed surprise that “in almost 10 years, there
has been no attempt to say I’m sorry.”
Sarah said she was concerned that
the video footage used at trial was less comprehensive and covered up
discrepancies, as opposed to video footage obtained and aired by at least two
The state said that it had not released the tape for the
entire day of operations because the rest of the tape covered routine operations
and not relevant.
In addition, the Corries noted that the US has
consistently criticized the Israeli investigation, including as recently as last
week when US Ambassador Dan Shapiro called for greater transparency and
Ultimately, the Corries say they hope their persistence and
the publicity of the trial, regardless of the final result, will get the IDF to
make its policies more “human rights friendly” so that similar tragedies will be
avoided in the future.
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