x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Rachel Corrie lawsuit against Israeli military awaits ruling

Decade-long fight for justice by parents of American pro-Palestinian activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer.

JERUSALEM // Almost a decade after their daughter was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer as she tried to block its path in a Gaza Strip conflict zone, Rachel Corrie's parents are preparing for a judge's ruling in their high-profile civil lawsuit against the military.

Cindy and Craig Corrie hope that today's court decision will conclude a case that has turned their daughter into a rallying cry for pro-Palestinian activists, taken years of their lives and drained their savings.

"We are here with a great deal of anticipation for Tuesday," said Mrs Corrie, 64, a homemaker and musician from Olympia, Washington. "We are hoping for some accountability here for what happened to Rachel."

Rachel, a pro-Palestinian activist, was killed in March 2003 while she and other activists attempted to block an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza border town of Rafah. She was 23. The driver has said he did not see her and that the death was accidental.

She belonged to the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, whose activists enter conflict zones and try to interfere with activities of Israel's military.

Supporters of Israel argue that Rachel, like thousands of other foreign activists, recklessly chose to risk her life.

"Rachel Corrie was injured as a result of her prohibited action, for which she is solely responsible, due to her considerable negligence and lack of caution," the justice ministry said.

The family's case is the first civil lawsuit over a foreigner harmed by Israel's military to conclude in a full civilian trial. Others have resulted in out-of-court settlements.

Since the Corries went to court in 2005, there have been 15 hearings with testimony from 23 witnesses.

They hope the court will apportion blame to the bulldozer driver and his superiors, who were all cleared of wrongdoing by a military court.

The Corries are seeking a symbolic US$1 (Dh3.67) in damages, along with compensation for the money they have spent bringing the case to trial. They said they had spent more than $200,000 of their savings to fly in witnesses, attend hearings and translate more than 2,000 pages of court transcripts.