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Israeli Court Rejects Suit Over US Activist's Death

  • Robert Berger

Lebanese anti-American protesters display a poster of peace activist Rachel Corrie during a demonstration near the U.S. Embassy in Aukar northeast of Beirut, Lebanon, June 6, 2010.

Lebanese anti-American protesters display a poster of peace activist Rachel Corrie during a demonstration near the U.S. Embassy in Aukar northeast of Beirut, Lebanon, June 6, 2010.

JERUSALEM — A long court case pitting the American family against the state of Israel over the death of a pro-Palestinian activist ended Tuesday when an Israeli court dismissed the lawsuit.

An Israeli court rejected the lawsuit of the family of American activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while trying to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip in 2003.

The family contends that Corrie was killed intentionally, and it demanded that the Israeli bulldozer driver be punished on grounds that he acted recklessly. The driver said he did not see Corrie as she blocked the path of his armored vehicle.

The court ruled that the killing was accidental and it rejected the family’s demand for a symbolic $1 in damages and compensation for about $200,000 in legal fees. The judge said Corrie put herself in danger by entering a closed military zone and that her death was "the result of an accident she brought upon herself."

State attorney Irit Kalman said it was a tragic incident and the nation of Israel shares in the sorrow of the Corrie family. She said Israeli soldiers were operating against terrorists in a combat zone and did all they could to prevent civilian casualties.

But the Corrie family is not convinced.

"We are deeply saddened and deeply troubled by what we heard today in court," said Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother. She said justice has not been done.

"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," said Corrie.

Rachel Corrie has become a symbol of non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation. Her family says it will continue the struggle for justice by appealing to Israel’s Supreme Court.

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