In 2003, the death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie sparked controversy. She was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer and died in hospital. Her family filed a civil lawsuit but a Haifa court ruled Israel was not at fault in Rachel Corrie’s death. The court added the 23-year-old activist’s death was an accident.
Cindy and Craig Corrie, the activist’s parents, filed their civil lawsuit accusing Israel of gross negligence and of their daughter’s death. The Israeli military were accused in the Rachel Corrie civil lawsuit they unlawfully or intentionally killed her. A Haifa court ruled her death to have been an accident and dismissed any charges against the state of Israel.
“We knew from the beginning that we had an uphill battle to get truthful answers and justice” said Hussein Abu Hussein, Corrie’s parents lawyer. “But we are concerned that this verdict denies the strong evidence and contradicts the principles of international law” he added.
The Israeli court said that the internal military investigation showed no sign of foul play in Rachel Corrie’s death. In fact, the man driving the bulldozer that killed the 23-year-old peace activist was cleared of any charges. Judge Oded Gershon said the driver didn’t see Rachel Corrie and she shouldn’t have been in the danger zone in the first place.
“I reject the suit” said Judge Oded Gershon. “There is no justification to demand the state pay any damages”. He added Corrie’s death was a “regrettable accident” that could have been avoided if the activists would have stayed away from the site. “She did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done” said the judge adding soldiers on site tryied their utmost to make sure people kept away from the site.
Corrie’s parents say the judge’s decision is hurtful. Their daughter was protesting against the Israeli demolition operation of Palestinian homes in Rafah. “Rachel was in Gaza because there were and are civilians there, those who have rights and deserve protection” the activist’s mother said. “Rachel’s right to life and dignity were violated by the actions of the Israeli military” she added.