Corrie Family: Ruling a black day for human rights

Family whose daughter killed by IDF bulldozer reacts angrily to rejection of case; state satisfied court fully accepted its arguments.

Activist Rachel Corrie before being killed by IDF buldozer 3 (photo credit: reuters)
Activist Rachel Corrie before being killed by IDF buldozer 3
(photo credit: reuters)
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 its arguments.
Hussein Abu-Hussein said that the court’s ruling showed that there was injustice across the legal system.
He displayed 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 in Israel.
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.
In 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.
“The verdict 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 Monitor.
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...
Yes, people will get killed and injured,” but these deaths are “no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation.”