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Home » News & Views

Judge Rules Rachel Corrie’s Death an Accident

Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie
Photo Credit: Screenshot

Judge Oded Gershon of Haifa District Court ruled today that the death of Rachel Corrie in 2003 was an accident.  In a 62 page verdict, the judge stated there was no liability on the part of the Israel Defense Force.  He also found there was no fault in the month-long military investigation which the Israeli military undertook immediately following Corrie’s death.  The Israel Defense Force has been cleared of responsibility.

The judge found that Corrie was in a closed military zone.  Further, he ruled that, based upon the evidence, the driver of the bulldozer,  whom the plaintiffs had claimed intentionally or negligently killed Corrie, could not have seen the International Solidarity Movement volunteer before she was struck.  Corrie could have saved herself, the judge found, if she had removed herself from the situation.

All claims of negligence against Israel in the death of Rachel Corrie have been dismissed.  Corrie’s parents, the plaintiffs in the wrongful death case, will not be charged with court costs.

Read: Why US Ambassador Condemned IDF Probe, Boosting ISM’s Rachel Corrie Myth

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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11 Responses to “Judge Rules Rachel Corrie’s Death an Accident”

  1. Liad Bar-el says:

    Would you believe it? The JPost has a picture of a woman standing in front of a bulldozer in full view by the driver as if to say that Corrie was killed intentionally when actually she was standing below the bulldozer in a pit and out of sight of the driver.

  2. Alan Rockman says:

    Short and simple.

  3. Joel Keller says:

    The judge should have charged the Corries with court costs. Their malicious intent on prosecution of the case cost the State of Israel in both time and money. The facts were known by all sides.

  4. Mordechai Motti Luzia says:

    tall the ISM to stey away.

  5. The judge was very generous and lenient, and perhaps too lenient. There is substantial evidence that the International Solidarity Movement knowingly, willfully, and recklessly exposed Rachel Corrie and others to danger by encouraging them to play "chicken" with bulldozers, even after several close calls earlier in the day. Two ISM spokesmen, one of whom was present at the time but who made no visible effort to pull her out of the bulldozer's path, said she was more useful to the ISM's cause dead than alive. Reckless endangerment, criminal negligence or even worse?

    It is a matter of record (E-mail) that Rachel Corrie's parents were informed of the above by E-mail–not just my word for it, but links to the ISM's own statements about how much more useful their daughter is dead than alive–but they persisted in blaming Israel. Maybe media attention was more important to them than actual justice for their daughter.

  6. Stephen Tannenbaum says:

    I agree completely. And now, I understand they're considering a case in the US. Let's hope the US courts take a much tougher stand. It's about time people like this learned that they're nothing more than useful idiots and tools of the hate brigade.

  7. The following was sent to info "at" rachelcorriefoundation.org on March 12, 2010, and I have the E-mail on file to prove it.

    Dear Mr. and Mrs. Corrie,

    I have been following the story of your daughter, and I agree that she deserves justice. I think, however, that you are looking for justice in the wrong place. The following is available on the Internet, and it is from the International Solidarity Movement or sources friendly to the ISM (i.e. hostile to Zionism). It shows among other things:

    (1) That the ISM was fully aware that the civil disobedience in which it encouraged your daughter to engage could easily result in her death or serious injury, but nonetheless continued to allow or encourage her to engage in it.

    (2) The ISM and the Palestinians with whom it was working expressed a motive (publicity for the cause) for wanting your daughter to be killed or seriously injured in a confrontation with Israel's security forces.

    Item 1, as reported by the Electronic Intifada at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article1248.shtml.

    "Picture taken between 3:00-4:00PM, 16 March 2003, Rafah, Occupied Gaza. Rachel Corrie (L) and Nick (R) oppose the potential destruction of this home (to the west of the Doctor's home where Rachel was killed). In the instance pictured, the bulldozer did not stop and Rachel was pinned between the scooped earth and the fence behind her. On this occasion, the driver stopped before seriously injuring her."

    What this tells me is that Rachel narrowly escaped death or serious injury in a previous confrontation with a bulldozer, and that her so-called "friends" in the ISM allowed or encouraged her to do the same thing again despite this more than ample demonstration of the risks involved.

    Item 2, as reported by the indicated sources.

    http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/3-22-2003-37821.asp ("Making of a Martyr" by Sandra Jordan.

    " Joe Smith, 21, who went to college with Corrie, said that, although they acknowledged the danger, they saw death as a 'small, unlikely, potential risk'."

    'We knew there was a risk,' Smith said, 'but we also knew it never happened in the two years that we (the ISM) have been working here. I knew we take lots of precautions so that it doesn't happen, that if it did happen it would have to be an intentional act by a soldier, in which case it would bring a lot of publicity and significance to the cause.'

    "Small, unlikely, potential risk?" According to the Electronic Intifada's story, Rachel had barely escaped death or serious injury a mere hour or so before her death. In fact, the Electronic Intifada page says the photo of Rachel being pinned against the fence was taken by Joseph Smith! Note also Smith's statement, "it would bring a lot of publicity and significance to the cause," and this is not the only such statement he made after Rachel's death (see below). From the same article,

    "'If only they'd had a video camera,' one Palestinian journalist lamented. 'A film of the Israelis killing an American in cold blood would have ended the intifada.'".
    The Palestinian is not sorry that Rachel died, he is sorry that they didn't have a video camera with which to record her death for propaganda purposes. Joseph Smith again, from a Web page the Palestine Solidarity Movement took down but is still available from Archive.org:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20030417080621/http://www.freepalestinecampaign.org/Stranger+article.htm

    "The spirit that she died for is worth a life. This idea of resistance, this spirit of resisting this brutal occupying force, is worth anything. And many, many, many Palestinians give their lives for it all the time. So the life of one international, I feel, is more than worth the spirit of resisting oppression."
    Rachel Corrie's life, not Joseph Smith's life, is how I read this.

    ISM leader George Rishmawi also expressed (after the fact) a motive for wanting Rachel Corrie dead.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/07/14/MNGBS7L5V71.DTL

    "Rishmawi said the ISM's main purpose is to increase international awareness of Palestinian suffering through the involvement of foreign activists, who pay their own way to the West Bank, where they are trained in various methods of nonviolent direct action."

    "When Palestinians get shot by Israeli soldiers, no one is interested anymore," Rishmawi said. "But if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice."

    ==========================================================

    "Making of a Martyr" adds that Rachel was in fact kneeling in front of the bulldozer (which would make her harder to see on the other side of the bulldozer blade) and not standing.

    "The activists have compelling photographic evidence to support eyewitness claims that Corrie's death was a deliberate, murderous mowing down of a unarmed protester. Dale watched as she knelt down in front of the bulldozer, perhaps 20 metres away, something the activists had done repeatedly that day as they had in the past. 'The bulldozer went towards her, very slowly, she was fully in clear view, straight in front of them.'".

    So the ISM stipulates first of all that Rachel was kneeling and not standing, and furthermore that the bulldozer was moving very slowly–which suggests that an able-bodied man could have intervened by pulling Rachel out of the bulldozer's path when it became clear that it was not going to stop. This did not happen. "Making of a Martyr" suggests in fact that Joseph Smith's highest priority was to take pictures of Rachel being run over (note that it says he began to take the pictures when she stood in front of the bulldozer or, per Mr. Dale, knelt) than to do anything to protect her.

    "A traumatised Smith raised his camera and took photographs: Rachel standing in front of the bulldozer; then her bloodied body being pulled from the freshly turned soil; being cradled in the arms of her friends."

    I also note as an engineering professional who is at least familiar with industrial and workplace safety that the ISM allowed Rachel to interact with heavy construction equipment without a hard hat (noting that rocks and other debris can easily be thrown up at a construction or demolition site). This act of negligence by the ISM may have proved fatal noting that, as I have seen reported, head injuries played a role in her death.

  8. If they file a case in the U.S., I will be happy to provide the defense with the evidence (shown above) that the Corries knew the ISM's role in endangering their daughter's life.

  9. Another great reason for the U.S. to stop all funding and trade with Israel.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Just want you to know that this post was re-posted under an article on Raw Story. See http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/28/rachel-corrie-ruling-deeply-troubling-says-her-family/

  11. Now her family will try to escalate it higher.

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