Rachel Corrie and an Israeli bulldozer (Picture from Wikipedia).
A street named for Rachel Corrie in Ramallah
A play about Rachel Corrie at a theater in London, 2006
A ship from one of the flotillas to the Gaza Strip, renamed for Rachel Corrie (All pictures from Wikipedia).
Rachel Corrie burns the American flag during a demonstration in Rafah
Rachel Corrie burns the American flag during a demonstration in Rafah
The site of the incident in which Rachel Corrie was killed (Picture from a posting about the renewal of the Rachel Corrie trial, israelseen.com website, September 9, 2010)
1. On August 28, 2012, the ruling of the Haifa District Court in the matter of the suit filed by the family of Rachel Corrie was made public. The court dismissed the charges brought against the State of Israel and the IDF of intentionally causing the death of Rachel Corrie, an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist. On March 16, 2003, Corrie was run over by an IDF bulldozer in an attempt to prevent IDF earth-moving works on the Philadelphi Corridor, which runs along the Gaza Strip-Egypt border.
2. The judge was particularly critical of the tactics employed by the ISM, an American network of far-left activists which plays a key role in the campaign to delegitimize Israel. Inter alia the judge mentioned the "significant gap between the Organization's statements and the true character of its activities and actions." "The actions," he said, "taken by the members of the organization, in practice, do not match its statements. In fact, the Organization exploits the dialogue regarding human rights and morality to blur the severity of its actions, which are, in fact, expressed through violence." Note: ISM activists and their leaders continue playing a key role in the Friday demonstrations in Judea and Samaria, in the flotilla campaign to the Gaza Strip, and in holding anti-Israeli activities and spreading anti-Israeli hate propaganda in the United States and other Western countries.
3. Palestinian anti-Israeli activists, among them those who participate in the campaign to delegitimize Israel and engage in lawfare against it, rushed to denounce the judge's ruling, attacking the credibility of the Israeli judicial system. Raji al-Sorani, director of the NGO Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a leader in the anti-Israeli lawfare campaign, promised that the next step would be persecution of "Israeli war criminals" in international courts.
The Main Points of the Ruling
4. On August 28, 2012, the Haifa District Court rejected the civil suit brought by the family of Rachel Corrie against the State of Israel and the IDF. The following are passages from the 65-page ruling:
1) The Philadelphi Corridor:"During the relevant period of time, the "Philadelphi Corridor" was the site of daily warfare." That was because it served as the main conduit for smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip and for the infiltration into and exit from the Gaza Strip of terrorist operatives. Terrorist operatives who exited the Gaza Strip did so to enter the State of Israel to carry out hostile acts of terrorism and murder, including suicide bombing attacks. The volume of terrorist attacks and attempted terrorist attacks targeting IDF forces was particularly high in the Philadelphi Corridor region. An estimated 70% of all terrorist activity in the State of Israel during the relevant period occurred in the south and in particular in the Philadelphi Corridor sector. The Corridor was the site of daily battles and "Only soldiers who were in combat units fought in the region…[and] there was a military directive in force declaring the Philadelphi Corridor a closed military area and forbidding the entry of civilians…"
2) The ISM: The Court based its ruling in part on the testimony of expert witness Brigadier General (Ret.) Ruth Yaron, former IDF Spokesman, and on the study of the ISM issued by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, whose findings and conclusions were adopted by the Court. According to the ruling (original emphasis throughout):
A. "The ISM assigned itself the task of working alongside the Palestinians against the 'Israeli occupation' by using what it called 'non-violent protest activities.' However, the evidence presented to me shows a significant gap between the Organization's statements and the true character of its activities and actions. The actions taken by the members of the organization, in practice, do not match its statements. In fact, the Organization exploits the dialogue regarding human rights and morality to blur the severity of its actions, which are, in fact, expressed through violence."
B. Between 2001 and 2005, the years of the second intifada, the volunteers recruited by the ISM were sent to participate in activities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The volunteers, who began arriving in the Palestinian Authority territories in December 2001, did not merely aid the local Palestinian population, but specialized in undermining, disrupting and sabotaging IDF operational activities.
C. "The Organization's activists specialized in sabotaging the IDF's operational actions. ISM activities included, inter alia: stationing activists to serve as 'human shields' for terrorists wanted by Israeli security forces; financial, logistical and moral assistance to Palestinians, including terrorists and their families; interrupting demolition activities or the sealing off of houses belonging to terrorists who conducted suicide attacks with multiple casualties."
3) The mission of the bulldozers on the day of Rachel Corrie's death(according to the commander of the local brigade): On the afternoon of March 16, 2003, two D9 bulldozers were moving earth. "The mission of the IDF force on the day of the incident was solely to clear the ground. This […] included leveling the ground and clearing it of brush in order to expose hiding places used by terrorists, who would sneak out from these areas and place explosive devices with the intent of harming IDF soldiers. There was an urgency to carrying out this mission so that IDF look-outs could observe the area and locate terrorists thereby preventing explosive devices from being buried. The mission did not include, in any way, the demolition of homes. The action conducted by the IDF forces was done at real risk to the lives of the soldiers. Less than one hour before the incident that is the focus of this lawsuit, a live hand-grenade was thrown at the IDF forces."
4) The behavior of Rachel Corrie and other ISM activists: According to the judge, the behavior of the ISM activists, including Rachel Corrie, was both illegal and irresponsible. According to expert testimony, Rachel Corrie chose to remain in the dangerous Philadelphi Corridor region without authorization or protection, exposing herself to mortal danger [in a war zone occupied only by the military]. In addition, she stood in front of a piece of large, heavy dangerous military equipment, and although it was advancing toward her at a speed of one kilometer, or .62 miles per hour, she did not move away from it. Her behavior revealed her willingness to freely risk her life for the sake of the ISM's goal. Her own behavior, characteristic of the members of the organization and their activities, caused the tragic result.
5) Rejecting the plaintiffs' claim that the bulldozer deliberately ran her over: The judge stated the following: "I hereby determine unequivocally that there is no foundation to the plaintiffs' claim that the bulldozer struck the decedent intentionally. This was a very unfortunate accident and was not intentional. No one wished to harm the decedent. I was convinced that the bulldozer's operator would not have continued to work if he had seen the decedent standing in front of the bulldozer, as he and his colleagues acted in similar circumstances earlier that day, when they moved from location to location because of the disturbances caused by the members of the Organization…," and that Rachel Corrie's death was an accident caused when she tried unsuccessfully to climb on the mound of earth.
Initial Palestinian Reactions
5. The following were the initial Palestinian reactions to the judge's decision:
1) Raji al-Sorani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, said that the human rights organizations were not surprised by the ruling or by "the determination of the Israeli judicial system to place itself higher than international law." He promised to persecute so-called "Israeli war criminals" in international courts, saying that that would be the next step (The PIJ's Paltoday website, August 28, 2012). He also claimed that the Israeli judicial system whitewashed IDF crimes, and that "justice cannot be had under the occupation" (Filastin al-'Aan, August 28, 2012).
2) Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, said that "[t]oday Corrie was killed again in cold blood with the decision of the Israeli court." She claimed that "the Israeli judicial system is involved with the occupation regime in obstructing facts and whitewashing them for [the regime's] interests" (Wafa News Agency, August 28, 2012).
3) Mustafa Barghouti,secretary general of the National Palestinian Initiative movement, claimed that the ruling of the Israeli court finding the murderers of Rachel Corrie not guilty was clear proof that the Israeli judicial system was involved in the war crimes committed by the IDF against the Palestinian population and international solidarity activists. He said there was no untainted judicial system in Israel today, and that the ruling was "inhuman" (Ma'an News Agency, August 28, 2012).
4) Jamal al-Khudari, chairman of the Hamas-affiliated Popular Committee against the Siege of the Gaza Strip, said that humanity would not forget the killing of Rachel Corrie despite the Israeli ruling. He said that the voices of Corrie, the Palestinian shaheeds and the foreign solidarity activists would stay alive (Al-Quds, August 28, 2012).
 All quotes taken from the official English translation of the Summary of the Verdict (T.A. 371/05) Estate of the Late Rachel Corrie, etc. v. The State of Israel – Ministry of Defense, emphases included, unless otherwise noted.
 Raji al-Soriani is a lawyer and director of the NGO PCHR in the Gaza Strip, where it plays a key role in the lawfare being waged around the world against Israel.