ADC's Statement on Rachel Corrie Verdict

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Photo credit: Associated Press

Washington, DC | www.adc.org | August 28, 2012 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) deplores the shameful verdict delivered by an Israeli court in Haifa today in the murder of Rachel Corrie. Corrie was run over and crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on March 16, 2003 in Rafah, Gaza Strip while volunteering for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The 23-year old pro-peace activist from Olympia, Washington was protesting Israeli settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes.

Following the ruling, Rachel’s mother, Cindy, said: “We are upset and saddened by the verdict […] This is a sad day not only for our family, but also for human rights, for the legal system and for the State of Israel […] it is clear that the legal system protects soldiers and provides them with legal impunity at the cost of civilians. At least we have the option to turn to the justice system – a right many Palestinians are denied of." 

ADC President Warren David expressed in reaction to the ruling, “Justice has not been served in the case of Rachel's senseless death. The Arab American community will continue Rachel's struggle in advocating for peace and justice in Palestine, and an end to the Israeli occupation."

In today’s ruling, which rejected the suit, Judge Oded Gershon stated that Corrie’s death was “a regrettable accident.” He maintained that the state was not responsible and should not be made to pay any damages (the Corrie family sought only $1 in damages) because the incident occurred during a “war-time situation.” Judge Gershon added, "She (Corrie) did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done." Commenting on the prior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) investigation, which US Senior officials had criticized as neither thorough nor credible, the judge categorized the inquiry as appropriate and refused to blame the army. 

The IDF completed their internal inquiry a month after Corrie’s death and concluded that IDF forces were not to blame. It was their determination that the driver of the bulldozer that caused Corrie’s death had not seen her and that no charges would be brought -- thus the case was closed. Dissatisfied with the IDF report and the closure of the investigation into Rachel’s death, the Corrie family exercised their “[absolute] last resort” effort to see justice in her death when they filed a civil case against Israel’s Ministry of Defense in March 2010. 

The Corrie family plans on appealing the verdict to the Israeli Supreme Court. The family's lawyer was quoted in the Guardian saying "This verdict is yet another example of where impunity has prevailed over accountability and fairness. Rachel Corrie was killed while non-violently protesting home demolitions and injustice in Gaza, and today, this court has given its stamp of approval to flawed and illegal practices that failed to protect civilian life."

The case of Rachel Corrie is a prime example of the Israeli occupation forces’ relentless onslaught against a defenseless civilian population that can no longer be tolerated. ADC continues to stand in solidarity with the Corrie family.