Dead U.S. activist’s family slams Israeli court ruling

Cindy, right, and Craig Corrie, the parents of Rachel Corrie, a pro-Palestinian activist who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003, stand together with their daughter Sarah after the district court's ruling in Haifa, Israel, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (File photo: AP)

The family of a U.S. activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003 have condemned an Israeli Supreme Court ruling that the military was not responsible.

“It will take some time before we have (the) ability to read the decision in English and to process all the court has said,” the parents and sister of Rachel Corrie wrote in a statement published Friday.

“Nevertheless, it is clear that this decision, affirming the August 2012 lower court finding, amounts to judicial sanction of immunity for Israeli military forces when they commit injustices and human rights violations.”

The Israeli court on Thursday rejected an appeal against the 2012 Haifa district court ruling rejecting a civil suit filed by the family.

It accepted the Haifa court’s finding that the site of the fatal incident, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, was at the time a combat zone.

“The state is not liable for damages over an act committed by the Israel Defense Forces during warfare,” Thursday’s ruling stated.

According to eyewitness accounts, Corrie, 23, was killed while she was acting as a human shield with a group of activists from the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement to prevent troops from demolishing a Palestinian home.

“Rachel’s case provides yet another example of how the Israeli justice system is failing to provide accountability,” the family statement said.

“We urge the international community, and not least the U.S. government, to stand with victims of human rights violations and against impunity, and to uphold fundamental tenets of international justice.”

An internal investigation by the Israeli military in 2003 was concluded just four weeks after her death and cleared troops of any responsibility, saying the bulldozer crew did not see Corrie.

Her killing came at the height of the second intifada or uprising (2000-2005) and she quickly became a symbol of foreign support for the Palestinian cause. She was the subject of a 2005 play based on her emails and diary.

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