First Published: 2010-02-24

Israel sued for 'intentional' killing of Rachel Corrie

Family of US activist killed by Israeli bulldozer in Gaza wants Israel to be held to account.


Middle East Online

Rachel Corrie, 'clearly visible' before being run over - twice

TEL AVIV- The family of US activist Rachel Corrie, run over by an Israeli bulldozer during a demonstration in Gaza in 2003, will sue Tel Aviv over her death, their lawyer said on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old killed at the height of the 2000 Palestinian intifada, or uprising, became an symbol of foreign support for the Palestinian cause and the subject of a 2005 play based on her emails and diary.

"The state should take responsibility for the death of Rachel Corrie. We believe her killing was done intentionally or at least out of negligence and wrongdoing," Hussein Abu Hussein, the family's lawyer, said.

The family will be travelling to Israel for the trial, which will start March 10, Abu Hussein said.

Israel has allowed four activists who witnessed the incident to return to testify. The Palestinian doctor who pronounced Corrie dead has been summoned by the court but has not yet been given a permit to leave Gaza, he added.

Activists who witnessed Corrie's death said she and others were acting as human shields to prevent a house demolition in the Gaza border town of Rafah for more than two hours and were clearly visible to the bulldozer driver.

"The whole time she was wearing a fluorescent jacket, as were her friends, and she had a megaphone," Abu Hussein said.

The Israeli military closed its own investigation into the matter in 2003 without taking any disciplinary action, saying the bulldozer crew could not see Corrie because she was behind a mound of rubble.

"The death of Ms. Corrie was not caused as a result of a direct action by the bulldozer or by its running her over, but by the falling of earth and building materials that was pushed by the bulldozer," it said at the time.

The army went on to accuse Corrie and other activists from the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM) of "illegal and irresponsible behaviour" contributing to her death.

According to an account published two days after her death by activist Tom Dale, who witnessed the incident, Corrie was clearly visible in an open area.

"They pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit," he wrote.

"They waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time. Every second I believed they would stop but they never did."


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