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Rachel Corrie: Israel 'Not Responsible' For Bulldozer Death Of Pro-Palestinian Activist

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The parents of pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie's have lost their claim against the state of Israel over the death of their daughter, who was crushed as she stood in front of an army bulldozer.

A Haifa court ruled on Tuesday that the state and the army were not responsible for her death nine years ago, saying instead that the incident was part of "combatant activities".

American activist Corrie was one of eight working for the International Solidarity Movement, who acted as human shields attempting to prevent Palestinian house demolitions.

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ISM activist Rachel Corrie, standing in front of a bulldozer as she attempted to prevent a house demolition

The judge also ruled there had been no fault in the internal Israeli military investigation in 2003 - which cleared the driver of the bulldozer of any wrongdoing.

He also noted how high tensions were running in the area at the time, with IDF forces attacked by Palestinian fighters just hours before.

Corrie was working in Rafah, on the Gaza-Egypt border, at the height of the second intifada.

Witnesses told the court she clambered up to the top of a pile of earth as the bulldozer advanced towards her, wearing a bright orange, hi-visibility jacket, and carrying a megaphone.

Fellow activist Tom Dale told the court: "The bulldozer went towards her very slowly, she was fully in clear view, straight in front of them.

"Unfortunately she couldn't keep her grip there and she started to slip down. You could see she was in serious trouble, there was panic in her face as she was turning around.

"All the activists there were screaming, running towards the bulldozer, trying to get them to stop. But they just kept on going."

Corrie's parents Cindy and Craig, from Washington state, said the Israeli military had either unlawfully or intentionally killed 23-year-old Rachel in 2003 or, at best, was guilty of gross negligence.

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Rachel's parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, awaiting the verdict in Haifa

They said the state had failed to conduct a proper investigation.

But Judge Oded Gershon ruled the driver had not seen her, and that any reasonable person would have moved herself out of the way of the bulldozer. He said the original investigation had "no mistakes".

“This was a very unfortunate accident and not an action undertaken with intent.

"She put herself into a dangerous situation and stood in front of a large bulldozer in a place where the operator could not see her.

"Her death is the result of an accident she brought upon herself,”

The internal army inquiry, promised by then Israeli President Ariel Sharon to US President George Bush, found Corrie was not run over by the bulldozer, but hit with a large slab of concrete as the mound she was standing on shifted.

It said the ISM activists were acting "illegally, irresponsibly and dangerously".

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Rachel Corrie at a Palestinian rally in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah

The Corries will receive no compensation from the state, but will not have to pay costs. The civil case has been ongoing since 2010.

Their lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, said the verdict was "bad for human rights and contravenes international law” and said they intended to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

House demolitions were widely condemned as "collective punishment" by human rights groups at the time of the intifada, when Palestinian suicide bombers were targeting Israeli cities and civilians.

The Israeli army said the houses were harbouring "terrorists" but Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said the demolitions left 17,000 people homeless.

During the uprising, 1,053 Israelis were killed by Palestinian attacks through to 2008, and 4,745 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces.

Corrie's diary has been turned into a successful play - My Name Is Rachel Corrie - touring worldwide, including Israel and the Palestinian territories.

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