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Thursday, August 30, 2012 | return to: news & features, international


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Judge absolves Israel of responsibility in Corrie death

by ben sales, jta

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The verdict by an Israeli court in the case of Rachel Corrie, an American activist killed in Gaza by an Israeli military bulldozer in 2003, has touched on a range of ethical issues at the center of Israel’s military operations.

But at its core, the Aug. 28 ruling absolving Israel of any wrongdoing in Corrie’s death hinged on one simple question: Did the bulldozer driver who ran over Corrie see her or not?

The judge in Haifa District Court ruled that he did not. Corrie’s family maintains that he did.

Activists demonstrate outside the Haifa District Court awaiting the Rachel Corrie verdict.   photo/jta-ben sales
Activists demonstrate outside the Haifa District Court awaiting the Rachel Corrie verdict. photo/jta-ben sales
Larger issues were part of the proceedings: What are the responsibilities of civilian activists in an armed conflict? Does a civilian area with terrorist activity count as a war zone? What distinguishes an organization that peacefully opposes the Israeli presence in disputed territories from one that aids terrorists?

Those matters, however, took a back seat to the reasoning behind the legal ruling by Judge Oded Gershon.

Corrie was in a restricted military zone and “put herself in a dangerous situation opposite a bulldozer when he couldn’t see her,” Gershon said, reading the verdict. “She didn’t distance herself from the area, as any person would have done.”

On March 16, 2003, Corrie, a 23-year-old from Olympia, Wash., was protesting in the Gaza city of Rafah during the second intifada as an activist with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement. Her supporters allege that she was acting as a human shield for a house that was about to be demolished by the Israeli army when she became enveloped in a pile of dirt created by an armored bulldozer. Corrie died soon after in a nearby Palestinian hospital. The Israeli military maintains that no house demolition was taking place.

Her parents brought a lawsuit in Israel that accused the state of responsibility for their daughter’s death. But in clearing the state of all charges, Gershon said Corrie voluntarily risked her life by entering a place where there was daily live fire. Moreover, the Haifa judge said the bulldozer driver did not see Corrie as she was standing behind the pile of dirt, and that Corrie did not move out of the way when she saw the bulldozer moving toward her, but climbed on the pile instead.

Gershon also dismissed charges that the state tampered with the evidence in its investigation into Corrie’s death. He added that the operation by the Israel Defense Forces took place in an area that was a closed military zone.

The judge reserved some of his harshest words for Corrie’s organization, saying ISM was “mixed up in terror” and accusing the group of aiding terrorists behind a facade of human rights activism.

Corrie has become a symbol for many who oppose Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza. Her parents founded the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, which “supports grassroots efforts in pursuit of human rights and social, economic and environmental justice,” according to its website, and a play titled “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” opened in London in 2005.

Speaking at a news conference following the verdict, Corrie family members and their lawyer presented a narrative that contradicted the judge’s.

The lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, called Corrie and the other ISM volunteers “all peaceful activists. The army did not try to stop them. There was no command that it’s a closed military area. There was no threat to the lives of the soldiers. How could he say that?”

The Corrie family said it planned to appeal the verdict, which it must do within 45 days.

Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother, blamed the ruling on “a well-heeled system to protect the Israeli military and the soldiers who conduct actions in that military.

“This was a bad day not only for our family but a bad day for human rights, for humanity, for the rule of law and also for the country of Israel,” she said.

Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father, denied that bringing the lawsuit was “an attack against Israel.” Israeli activists, he said, have supported the Corries “from the first moment we’ve done this.”

The Corries rejected a statement from Israel’s state prosecutor’s office declaring that “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.”

“I can say without a doubt that I believe my sister was seen as that bulldozer approached her,” said Sarah Corrie Simpson, Rachel Corrie’s sister. “I hope someday he will have the courage to sit down in front of me and tell me what he saw and what he feels.”

The U.S. State Department reacted to the verdict cautiously. “We understand the family’s disappointment with the outcome of the trial,” spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters, saying that U.S. authorities “reiterate our condolences” over the death.

The department declined to comment further, noting the family’s right to appeal.


Ynetnews.com
contributed to this report.


Comments

Posted by Dan Spitzer
08/30/2012  at  04:06 PM
'Course, Prez Peanut Brain Carter is Critical of the Israeli Ruling

After Carter expressed his dismay with the decision concerning the pro-Palestinians beloved martyr St. Pancake, he returned to counting the money regularly send by the Saudis to his foundation…

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
08/30/2012  at  04:07 PM
What this Piece Doesn't Say is that Mr. and Mrs. Corrie...

have traveled the world on behalf of their daughter’s disgusting organization, the ISM, shilling the party line demanding BDS vs Israel…

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Posted by paul
08/30/2012  at  04:10 PM
Shame on Corrie

I can tell you that I’M full of shame and dislike all those who undermine Israel existence under it’s security and peace. And, Corrie is one of them. Corrie, abviosly supported terrorists such as Hamas, Hezbolla,etc. I will be more then happy if her parents loos their case against Israel. ISM, ISM for Pro-Terror against Israel. This organization such as, Jewish Voice For Peace and Bay Area Women Of the Black, are Sponsor terror and against Israel, period. Shame on Corrie! Shame on Jewish Voice For Peace-Jewish Voice Pro-War! Shame on Bay Area Women of the Black. It’s a shame that some of them are Jews and against Israel which is only Land that we Jews have.

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Posted by Pacifique
08/30/2012  at  10:16 PM
An American Died

An American citizen was murdered in Israel.  Any time any American is murdered in a foreign country, we have the right to be outraged.  Israel is a foreign state and our outrage needs to be firmly registered with all Israelis.  Rachel Corrie is one of us, an American.  That is enough for us to be angry with those who murdered her as well as those who now attempt to cover up Rachel’s murder.
This is not a matter of religion.  It is a matter of simply respecting human life.

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Posted by sol rosenberg
08/30/2012  at  10:21 PM
never ending rachel corrie eulogy shows leftist hypcrisy

NPR reported today that an estimated 250,000 refugees from syria have poured into jordan, turkey and lebanon now. according to the UN the body count from the war is around 18000. all because of a sadistic power drunk tyrant who’s desperate to hold on to power at all costs. as it is what’s going on in syria is hardly on the radar of the “anti-war” liberals and progressives out there. when it’s finally over, to them it’ll be as if it never happened but make any mention of one useful idiot who put herself in harms way and they’ll be up in arms about the inhumanity.

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Posted by Friscokind
08/30/2012  at  10:44 PM
A Jew-hating American died in Gaza...

And so - who cares? May all our enemies meet their ultimate demise

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Posted by Dave Marshak
08/31/2012  at  01:08 PM
Rachel Corrie

Attacking a young woman who is dead does not help Israel. There is no reason to think the driver saw Rachel and intentionally ran her down. We have intemperate rhetoric on both sides and it doesn’t help.

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Posted by paul
08/31/2012  at  01:42 PM
Do you think that peace will come?

Do you think that peace will come if we give up on Israel? Israel has the right to exist and will remain the map. No to Palestine.

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
08/31/2012  at  03:26 PM
Pacifique, Corrie was Shilling for a Society Which...

danced in the streets to celebrate 9/11. That is to say, she went to “defend” both America’s enemies and our best Middle Eastern ally’s enemies.

She wasn’t murdered. Corrie died in an accident as a free and fair investigation concluded.

Why are you not so worked up at the genuine murders of Americans who died at the hands of Palestinian terrorist bombers when they were in Israel?

We all know the answer to that…

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Posted by auntie
09/01/2012  at  11:06 PM
A curse for danny

We must disown you, boychik, for the pancake comment – it was disgusting, a shonda on our whole community. 

I leave you with this curse:  may you be lost and stranded in a Palestinian village of Muslims, and may you be treated only with dignity, kindness and respect

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/02/2012  at  07:28 AM
Auntie, If Either I or You (if you are Jewish) ...

were lost in a Palestinian village, we would be handed our heads. And if you don’t realize this, you are more idiotic than your comment.

As for your martyr, the fine Rachel Corrie, she was “protecting” a Palestinian house which had a tunnel running under it like so many do in Rafah to run munitions to your Palestinian pets to facilitate them murdering Israelis.

Poor St. Pancake, peaches and preserves be upon her. wink>

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Posted by auntie
09/02/2012  at  09:03 AM
Dignity

Unlike Spitzer, I’ve been been to Palestinian villages, and have been treated with kindness, respect and dignity.

Imagine if the Corrie family came across these pages and saw the dirty-minded glee Spitzer takes in the horrific circumstances of their daughter’s death.

No dignity here.

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Posted by auntisemite
09/02/2012  at  11:07 AM
Mr. Dre-ck is a post-child

Mr. Dre-ck is a post-child for ‘shonda’.  Like a member of the Tea Party, he refuses to see beyond his own irrational prejudice.  Feh!

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Posted by Michael Harris
09/02/2012  at  12:18 PM
I wouldn't celebrate Rachel Corrie's death

While the verdict seems to be wholly appropriate, I would suggest not celebrating the death of a foolishly idealistic young woman.  She’s not Sheikh Yassin or even John Walker Lindh, although she was certainly on the same spectrum—and was indeed supporting Hamas by her actions. 
But let’s look at where the real responsibility for her death lies—with the ISM that recruited her and other young people, indoctrinated them with hate, and sent them out to help protect the jihadi terror organizations.  While Corrie died, the leaders of ISM continue to walk freely—even in the Bay Area, where ISM leader Paul Larudee continues to raise money for his various attempts to invade Israel by sea and by land.

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Posted by auntie
09/02/2012  at  01:21 PM
Good cop/bad cop

Good Cop/Bad Cop

Trust Mr. Harris and Mr. Marshak to ride in on their white horses and be the Zionist good cop to Dirty Danny’s bad cop.

We’re not buying it. It’s not a matter of being “balanced”.  We know who’s invading (not ISM), who’s stealing, who’s bulldozing, who’s killing,  and who’s running an apartheid system in the occupied Palestinian Territories. 

Why can’t you be honest cheerleaders for Jewish supremacy and empire in Israel-Palestine, instead of hiding behind a mask of victimization?

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/02/2012  at  01:28 PM
As an ISM'er, Corrie was Indeed a Supporter of Palestinian Terorrists...

as are auntie and aunti-semite. I no more mourn for St. Pancake than I do for members of Al Queda or Hamas who wind up imprisoned in the civilized world which includes Israel and the US but certainly not the barbarians of Palestine.

I have no doubt that auntie has been well treated in Palestinian villages as they recognize her as another “Convenient Idiot” who they can and do use for propaganda purposes, which we can clearly see on this site…

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Posted by auntie
09/02/2012  at  03:51 PM
Terrorism in Israel-Palestine

TESTIMONIES BY IDF VETERANS ABOUT
VIOLENCE AGAINST PALESTINIAN CHILDREN
http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Children_and_Youth_Soldiers_Testimonies_2005_2011_Eng.pdf

VIOLENCE BY ISRAELI SETTLERS AGAINST PALESTINIANS
http://www.btselem.org/topic/settler_violence

ATTACKS ON PALESTINIANS BY JEWISH TEENAGERS
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/world/middleeast/7-israelis-held-in-attack-on-palestinians-in-jerusalem.html?pagewanted=all

ISRAELI VIOLENCE AGAINST BEDOUINS(“Judaizing the Negev”)
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/police-destroy-dozens-of-buildings-in-unrecognized-bedouin-village-in-negev-1.304443

EVICTING PALESTINIAN FAMILIES FROM THEIR HOMES IN EAST JERUSALEM
http://www.icahd.org/node/264

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/02/2012  at  09:33 PM
It Seems Virtually Everyone but Auntie...

knows about the incessant attempts to murder Jews by Palestinian terrorists. But ever the truth-challenged propagandist, auntie comes on this site and screams one-sided invective that only she and her fellow terrorist loving pals in JVP and the ISM can hear.

And when I say “terrorist loving,” I’m reminded of ISM leader Paul Larudee who wrote on his website how gratified that he was to sleep in the bed of a martyred Palestinian murderer. I believe Larudee has acknowledged that this was his first auto-erotic experience.

Auntie, nobody on this site takes you seriously. Tantrum throwers stew in their infantile juices and everybody within earshot of their foot stomping and shouts of “Look at me, me, me” understands that they are flailing away like little kids at their imaginary enemies. But they are good for laughs so thanks for that silver lining…

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Posted by Dave Marshak
09/02/2012  at  09:34 PM
Joined

Auntie and Dan are on the same page justifying each other. Polar opposites on these issues approach them the same way but from different sides.

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/02/2012  at  09:59 PM
If Anyone Needs a Sedative...

the sanctimonious offerings of Mr. Marshak supply the perfect dosage.

zzzzzzzz

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Posted by Dave Marshak
09/02/2012  at  10:14 PM
As I said

Dan and auntie think alike even though they are on different sides. There is no virtue in anger.

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/03/2012  at  07:57 AM
Ya See, Ole Even-Handed Fair-Minded Marshak Thinks...

that the Palestinians have acted toward the Israelis as the Israelis have acted toward the Palestinians. As I said, that kind of absurd sanctimonious thinking and ridiculously facile “equation” what leads to a few fools joining JVP and ISM, where they then become Palestinian partisans and rationalizers of Arab terrorism—witness auntie.

Dave, won’t you be better served by umpiring little league baseball or better yet, serving as a referee in pro wrestling? Just trying to be helpful…

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/03/2012  at  09:20 AM
"Can't We All Just Get Along" Era is Over

Foolishness like the “Year of Civility” posited by the likes of Rachel Erin Kalish and the nonsense of people like Marshak is OVER.

You simply cannot engage in dialogue with either those pledged to kill you (murder Israelis and other Jews, that is) or their supporters.

This is what the Palestinian leadership has pledged and those who believe an even handed approach or even a sympathetic stance-think JVP, ISM and their ilk-are working in complicity with these barbarians intent on Jewish genocide.

To say one should be “even-handed” in the face of promised genocide is tantamount to recommending nothing short of suicide…

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Posted by Dave Marshak
09/03/2012  at  10:32 AM
Making things up

Dan,

Why not stick to facts rather than making things up about people? I am not defending the Palestinians or saying what Israel does is equivalent to what they do. I am not arguing for an even handed approach. I am arguing for a rational approach.

I have to assume you and some others really think what you do helps Israel. I don’t see how confirming the negative views people like JVP have of all of us helps Israel in any way.

The Year of Civility has helped congregations to unite in support of Israel. The more we are united the better. Your attacking people who are working hard in support of Israel plays into the hands of people like JVP. What you and people like Auntie can’t understand is how similar you are:

You are all filled with anger. You all think many people are awful. You are all against trying to make things better by discussing them.

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/03/2012  at  11:28 AM
Marshak, Your Failure to Comprehend the Peril in Which Israel Finds Itself...

makes it not worth responding to you or those who sat on their hands by buying into the Kool Aid of the absurd Year of Civility. It is over and done with as comprehension of the dire straits Israel has found itself has set in with those who appreciate any sense of reality.

I’ll simply not respond further to people such as yourself who feel that the gravity of the situation Israel finds itself in and the lack of response by the few such as you who continue to sing “Kumbaya” in the face of both Palestinian barbarism and the ethically-challenged people who have become partisans of the Palestinians who advocate genocide (Israel haters like auntie, JVP, ISM, Michael Lerner, KPFA, Barbara Lubin, Becky O’Malley, etc.).

Marshak, sitting on your hands on the Israeli situation has done nothing but soil them. ‘Nuff said…

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Posted by Dan Spitzer
09/03/2012  at  11:30 AM
Typo

(People such as Marshak) who fail to appreciate the gravity in which Israel finds itself and their unwillingness to respond to it…

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Posted by Dave Marshak
09/03/2012  at  12:10 PM
Reason

Those of us who use reason in defense of Israel do not minimize the issues facing Israel. We are working as hard as we can to defend Israel. I have no idea what people like Dan think they are doing or how they think the posts above are helping Israel.

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