Israeli court rules U.S. activist Rachel Corrie's death an accident
JERUSALEM -- Nine years after their daughter was crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip, the parents of American activist Rachel Corrie on Tuesday lost their legal bid to hold Israel responsible for her death and force authorities to reopen their investigation into the matter.
A Haifa judge rejected the case by Corrie's parents, calling the death a unfortunate accident that the victim brought on herself.
"I am hurt," Corrie's mother, Cindy, was quoted telling journalists after the verdict was announced.
The court rejected the family's request for a symbolic $1 in damages and legal expenses.
For the members of the Corrie family, who live in Olympia, Wash., it's been an expensive and emotional process, requiring them to travel frequently to Israel for sporadic hearings over the last two years and listen to graphic testimony about how Rachel Corrie, then 23, was run over by a slow-moving bulldozer near the Rafah border of Gaza.
Corrie, a college student, traveled to Gaza with the activist group International Solidarity Movement to act as a human shield to prevent Israeli soldiers from demolishing Palestinian homes and farms.
During the trial, the Israeli bulldozer driver, who was never identified, said he did not see Corrie standing in front of his vehicle. He ran over the young women, then backed up and drove over her a second time, witnesses said.
Activists testified that the driver must have seen Corrie, wearing a fluorescent orange vest. They said it appeared Corrie became trapped in the dirt and debris and was unable to escape.
An Israeli military investigation blamed Corrie and other activists for putting themselves in harm's way. The inquiry suggested that the bulldozer was not directly responsible for her death and that she might have been fatally injured after falling into concrete and other debris.
No charges or disciplinary actions were brought against anyone involved. U.S. officials raised questions about whether the inquiry was credible.
The family argued in court that the military should have suspended the bulldozing operations until the civilian protesters had been removed from the area.
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-- Edmund Sanders