Israeli high court rejects appeal by family of murdered activist Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie (Rachel Corrie Foundation)

Israel’s high court has rejected an appeal made by the family of Rachel Corrie, the young American activist crushed to death by the Israeli military while she was protesting against a home demolition in the Gaza Strip.

The Corrie family brought a civil suit against the Israeli army in 2005 after a military prosecutor closed the case with no charges.  Rachel’s parents, Cindy and Craig, have been seeking to hold Israel liable for her death. The Corries have alleged that Israel’s defense ministry had either killed her deliberately or was guilty of negligence.

Rachel, who was 23 when she was killed in March 2003, had traveled to Gaza from her home in Olympia, Washington to work with the International Solidarity Movement. She had been in Gaza for two months before she she was run over by a soldier driving a bulldozer. She was killed in Rafah, near Gaza’s border with Egypt.

In August 2012, a lower court in Haifa had ruled in favor of the military; the State of Israel had argued that it was not responsible for damages in “closed military zones.”

In 2010, an Israeli military leader told the Haifa court that “During war there are no civilians.” As part of a policy that is still in effect, the Israeli military and police do not investigate complaints of attacks against civilians in “closed military zones.”

“Disappointed, not surprised”

During the lower court’s proceedings, the Corries’ lawyer had tried to prove that the driver of the bulldozer had a clear view of Rachel when he decided to drive toward her and then run her over. The judge, however, accepted the state’s position that the soldier had not seen her and that furthermore, she “chose to endanger herself … and thus found her death.”

Israel’s high court upheld that decision this week. The ruling has yet to be translated into English.

“Our family is disappointed but not surprised,” the Corries wrote in a statement. “We had hoped for a different outcome, though we have come to see through this experience how deeply all of Israel’s institutions are implicated in the impunity enjoyed by the Israeli military.”

The US State Department has maintained that Israel had not provided the Corries with a satisfactory investigation. In 2012, the US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, told the Corrie family that Israel’s investigation into Rachel’s death was not thorough, credible or transparent.

“We continue to be appalled that it requires a lawsuit to have a truthful accounting of what occurred, and complete repatriation of Rachel’s remains,” the family said in its statement.

The family has taken a separate case against Dr. Yehuda Hiss and the Abu Kabir Institute, which has been accused of mishandling an autopsy on Rachel. That case is still pending in Israel’s lower courts.




Isn’t there precedent for the Corries to file suit in the US? Many US victims of foreign aggression have done so, including WWII genocide survivors, and American Jews who claim to be victims of Palestinians.


The despicable Israeli "judiciary" again expose themselves to be biased and bigoted, spitting in the face of Rachel Corrie and her family. Contemptible judges meeting out "justice" in the terrorist State of Israel.


If Israel can be so callous as to sweep Rachel's death under the rug and drag on the civil litigation brought against them for shooting Tristan Anderson in the head with a high velocity tear gas canister, you can imagine the kind of "justice" it makes available for those they are occupying and oppressing. Justice apparently will not come to the area from within Israel, but it stands a very good chance of coming from without, like through the BDS and hopefully, the International Court. It's disgusting that we have no to little hope such push for justice might come from the United States.

Charlotte Silver

Charlotte Silver's picture

Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist and regular writer for The Electronic Intifada. She is based in Oakland, California and has reported from Palestine since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @CharESilver.