A former Military Police investigator told the Haifa District Court on Sunday
that the head of Southern Command, whose name he did not know at the time,
ordered him to cut short an investigation hearing into the death of
International Solidarity Movement activist Rachel Corrie in Rafah seven years
Maj.-Gen. Doron Almog led the IDF’s Southern Command at the
The investigator, who was identified only as “Oded,” was testifying
on the first day of the second round of hearings on a lawsuit filed by the
Corrie family, charging that the government deliberately killed Corrie or was
guilty of negligence in her death. Corrie was struck and killed by an army
bulldozer on March 17, 2003.
The government maintains that Corrie should
not have been in a war zone and that the bulldozer operator did not see her and
did not know he had struck her.
According to a representative of the
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice who attended Sunday’s hearing,
the Corrie family’s lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, asked Oded why he had not
complained about the alleged interference by Almog.
Oded replied that at
the time he was a junior and inexperienced soldier who had undergone a
three-month training course and had only investigated one previous case of
alleged wrongful death.
The foundation representative claimed that Almog
had frequently “meddled” in the investigation.
But according to the
state, Almog ordered the investigation to be halted on one particular day, and
only because of a dispute as to which body should be investigating the
Oded himself said the order came toward the end of the
questioning and did not cause harm. The Military Police later resumed and
completed its investigation.
According to the Corrie Foundation
representative, Oded also testified that the film from the surveillance cameras
that operated in the area where Corrie was killed did not reach the
investigators until a week later, and that he did not know what had happened to
it in the interim.
The state maintains that the film makes it clear that
the cameras were not directed at the site of the killing at the moment
happened, and that only after word came that someone might have been hit
the cameras switched around in a search for the whereabouts of the
There were also transcripts of the radio transmissions between
the crew of the bulldozer and other military personnel in the area,
the two-man crew of the other bulldozer operating in the area and the
operational headquarters of the unit they belonged to.
According to the
Corrie Foundation representative, Oded said there was a short
Arabic. The Corrie family believes it was a conversation between the
the two bulldozers that had not been transcribed and translated and
according to the representative, the investigating team had believed was
The Corrie Foundation spokeswoman said the translation of the
conversation revealed that one of the members of the second bulldozer
the first: “Did you kill him?” The first crew allegedly replied, “May
mercy on his soul.”
This was supposedly proof that the bulldozer operator
knew immediately he had killed Corrie.
However, the state argues that the
Arabic conversation was not part of the IDF transmission.
The words had
apparently been spoken by one or two Beduin and were garbled. The state
said the operator of the bulldozer that struck Corrie did not speak