53 thoughts on “Israeli Court Blames Rachel Corrie for Own Death, Says IDF, State Not Responsible – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. It’s not Stalin’s henchmen to blame for Raoul Wallenberg’s death, he put himself in harm’s way.

    R.I.P. Raoul,
    R.I.P. Rachel,
    R.I.P. the pretence of Israeli justice.

    1. Right. Just like Palestinians “living” in the WB and Gaza. These are non-thinking people.

      An American citizen is murdered by the Israeli government and the US State Dept., the US President does nothing at all. I can’t vote for this nobody.

        1. Exactly. It scares me to death to hear so many progressive Americans say they can’t possibly vote for Obama. God help us if Romney wins. Do we want a replay of the worst Bush years?

          1. The alternative at least has few pretensions — it would just be just a rich American sending American kids to fight all over the world because it’s good business. Ok, I’ll vote for Obama. Jeez.

      1. This “unthinking” theory, putting one’s self in “harm’s way” has some teeth: Palestinians thoughtlessly put themselves in such a position by insisting upon living in their homes! I see it.

  2. The excuse that the driver couldn’t see out of the window is, in all honestly, breathtaking in its arrogance.

    IF you can’t see where you are going
    BUT you know there are protestors in your way
    THEN you stop
    AND you refuse to go on
    UNTIL the border police has cleared the area.

    It doesn’t really matter how the border police does that – chases them away with water cannon and guard dogs, or thow them all into the paddy-wagon and chuck ’em into the lockup – but what does matter is that you don’t drive around in a Honkin’ Big Bulldozer until they have all been removed.

    To do otherwise is – and this is putting the very best shine on things – an admission that you are guilty of manslaughter.

    The other aspect of the ruling that simply beggars belief is the court’s argument that the IDF can’t be held responsible for what takes place in a “closed military zone”.


    It’s “a closed military zone” because, gosh!, the IDF “closed it”, and that means that The IDF Has Taken Full Responsibility For What Goes On In There.

    This ain’t exactly rocket science: the IDF was the occupying power, and that means IDF had authority over this area and, therefore, is responsible for what goes on in there.

    Q: And if protestors are running around in there?
    A: Then the IDF chases them outta there.

    Q: What? It isn’t allowed to run over the top of them with bulldozers?
    A: No, stupid, it isn’t.

    The IDF is allowed to chase them outta there, or arrest them, or do whatever else it needs to do to clear the area, but they are not allowed to run over the top of protestors, and certainly not with Honkin’ Big Bulldozers That You Can Not See Out Of.

    1. you do not really know the details of the case. Any way, the picture that shows Rachel Corrie standing on top of the small ruins waiving in front of the bulldozer is misleading as the CNN and the NYT them self admitted, since it was taken about an hour before the sadly accident:
      “A picture caption on March 17 with an article about an American protester who was crushed by an Israeli Army bulldozer in Gaza referred incorrectly to the bulldozer shown. It was one that the protester, Rachel Corrie, had earlier tried to stop from destroying a Palestinian home. It was not the one that killed her.”
      This is the the propaganda works, you take a not relevant pictures and build a story around it. I think that 99% of the Israelis are sorry for that accident, this is what important. I am sure that this would not the same vice versa.

      1. It makes no difference when the photo was taken, nor do the speculations about the driver’s intent matter much. The death resulted from an Israeli fulfilling Israeli policy and the liability is Israel’s. Your superior tone about “vice versa” is particularly obnoxious and racist. Israelis don’t think enough about human rights to create a military and judicial system that distributes liability effectively and honestly,. So, perhaps Israelis just aren’t sad enough and need to get sadder to create an honest judiciary.

        Frankly, there is little to suggest that Israelis feel things so deeply in any case, not much in their political history for sure. If Israelis cared one wit about others they would not be bulldozing the homes of other people, occupying their land, treating these people as prisoners and humiliating them on a daily basis and killing them in murderous killing sprees. So don’t give me that sensitive Israelis nonsense. Or does the sensitivity only extend to other Jews, like poor Rachel? If that is your point then, just like racisms in the past, it has no merit.

        I think most everyone understands the difference between propaganda and facts, though this may be new territory for you.

      2. The fact that 99 or 29 or 109% of Israelis feel sorry about Rachel Corrie’s killing doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when the power centers of Israeli society, the IDF and judiciary, unite to pervert justice. They speak for you & if you allow justice to be stained and do nothing except shed a crocodile tear, you’re culpable for her death.

        1. Richard, you are very wrong about saying that IDF and Judiciary are unite. They are not, at least not in Israel. This could be the practice around here but here. The court is full of verdicts against the IDF requests and pro Palestinian. If you claim this, then there is no difference between Israel and its neighbors, then what do you expect and why going against Israel and not after other countries?
          When the leaders around us (especially late Arafat) were speaking about a Just Peace (a Peace that will reflect justice) we all know what that means: our destruction, evacuation and exile from our land. You can think that what I said is a crocodile tears, it is not any way. You are wrong again.

          1. 1. Israel is strongly dominated by the Military as is represented in Executive, Legislative and Judiciary. The Judiciary is always jockeying to see how much power they can wield. In many instances, for example, court rulings are simply disregarded by the Military which would not be tolerated in a democratic country. In the end, the court is accountable to the powers that be in Israel and that means the Military.

            2. A “just peace” requires recognition of the wrongs perpetrated against the indigenous people of Palestine by Zionists, including theft of rights and land, imprisonment, murder and scheming for war and expansion. It is the self-serving, but revealing fantasy of Israelis that justice requires the disappearance of Israel and its people from “their” land. The fantasy allows Israelis to hold on to their criminal acts and put off judgment while the Zionists finish up stealing the whole of Palestine. Without recognition and reparations for the Palestinians, Israel will remain the world bandit and be subject to ever increasing popular outcry and physical attacks, as currently, and virtually forever. Israelis use the “extinction” bs over and over to serve themselves to other people’s property and it is obscene. In the Israeli version, if Israel doesn’t kill everyone around it, it will be killed and yet there is no threat emanating from a border state with an army, or tanks or F-16s or anything much. If the price of Israel is the death of everyone else in the region, then the hell with Israel.

          2. Israeli police dismiss 97% of cases in which Palestinians complain about IDF mistreatment. Only 3% are even minimally investigated. And you think the Israeli courts rule against the IDF? In what universe are you living?

            I dare you to read this book which is devoted to precisely this subject: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0791453383/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&

            But unlike you, this Israeli academic has actually researched this subject & come to his conclusions based on facts & evidence rather than prejudice & ideologgy.

  3. IANAL, but…

    I do think that Rachel Corie put herself in harm’s way, taking responsibility that she might be harmed, injured and even killed. The responsibility, the decision to be there, was indeed hers.

    Her death, under an army bulldozer, is partially her responsibility. She chose to be there.

    However, the Israeli Army bulldozer driver and, thus, the Israeli Army and state, likewise, chose to drive on, knowing full well that protesters are there to try to shield homes. The responsibility is thus also theirs.

    There can be an argument who “started it” and I have no idea how to handle it.

    It is a pity that the court chose not to, at least, award partial damages to the family.

    1. Standing up for a righteous cause does not endow upon you a liability. It does not create a responsibility for you or blame where non existed.

      Rachel Corrie was completely innocent and braving her life for a very virtuous cause in the face of utter tyranny. The Jews who got on the trains — their fault partially?

        1. Ok, disgusting. But Jews living in Poland were, in one sense, “in harm’s way” in 1939. People living in their homes in the WB are guilty of being “in harm’s way.” I do not believe this thinking stretches the idea at all: The mere fact that the phrase serves to excuse murderous behavior is enough to suggest that the onus, the responsibility, must lie with those producing “harm.”

      1. Freedom riders who got their heads bashed in in Alabama during the Civil Rights movement would be a more appropriate comparison. There was danger but people saw injustice and decided to face it anyway.

    2. There is no way that Rachel could be even partially responsible as there is no ok justification for manslaughter/murder. Nothing she does allows the state (or anyone) to kill her. She can be obnoxious, a pest, shouting virulent insults…nothing allows the bulldozer to kill her when they know she is there. Nothing. Not even partially responsible.

      Rachel is responsible for being alive and protesting. The state is completely responsible for killing her.

  4. I was there in 2003, considered joining them, but was too intimidated and simply didn’t have the balls to put myself in harm’s way. People with Rachel’s courage make this world a better place.

  5. If one side is the opressor and the other side resists you cannot distribute blame evenly.
    I think you will agree that the text below would be silly:

    “I do think that members of the Resistance put themselves in harm’s way, taking responsibility that they might be harmed, injured and even killed. The responsibility, the decision to be there, was indeed theirs. Their death, in camps or by execution was partially their responsibility. They chose to be there.” etc.

    And then go on to argue that the Germany army likewise bears some responsibility!

  6. Few comments: do you really think that an innocent bulldozer driver was killing her intentionally? do you really think he got an order to that that? if so, why her and not somebody else? Why she was protesting in a zone declared as war zone with warning issued by the US? does every country in war (and there is a war over there) pays compensation to journalist who died in the war area? did it happen in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt or any other country?
    Finally why do you blame the government for the court decision? do you implies that court is getting orders from the government? that the court case is a fake show? the judges do not really conducted a true trial? if this is the case why the Corries went to court? you disgrace the court when you do not like the outcome? the court has to rule only in one direction? by the way, most Israeli accuse the courts and judges in Israel to be very Leftist, pro human rights, more than necessary, that usually OK, until the very same court rules diffidently than what it was expected by few bloggers…..

    1. After the incidents where people, including Irish UN peacekeepers, have been deliberately shot by Israeli soldiers who could quite clearly see who they were killing, it’s actually entirely plausible that the bulldozer driver did indeed drive over Miss Corrie, knowing she was there, and that makes it deliberate, whether it had explicit orders or not.

      However risky the conduct of the activists, they were making themselves as visible as they possibly could, and they were posing no aggressive threat whatsoever. Unfortunately, as George Orwell observed after Ghandi’s assertion that passive resistance could prevent a Japanese occupation of India at the cost of only thirty million lives, non-violence only works if the oppressor is actually embarrassed by killing large numbers of people. (Ie: it has only ever actually worked against the British Authorities: not the French and certainly not the Japanese Imperial Guard. I don’t think anyone ever tried it against the Serbs.)

      The tactic, of deliberately destroying houses as a collective punishment under the pretence of clearing fields of fire, is one which the US government wishes its own troops to use, which may explain their ineffective response to this case.

      I have seen film of US soldiers bellyaching loudly and endlessly that the British troops who preceded them in an Afghan town had left courtyard walls and buildings standing all over the town: the Americans promptly put that right, and the number and intensity of “Taliban” attacks duly shot up. The attackers were no more Taliban than fly in the air: they were the people who’d been living in the destroyed houses. The British troops hadn’t done much fighting because there hadn’t been an insurgency there before the bulldozers were let rip. Bulldozers actually excite more visceral anger than tanks, because they are there to rip up the earth and not just occupy it.

      I note that when the Russian army moved into South Ossettia a couple of years back, they set fire to almost very building they passed in the apparent belief that this suppressed sniper fire, and when the Indonesian Army evacuated East Timor when it became clear that the Australian Army was on its way, whether they liked it or not, they, too, torched every single building they passed on their way to the evacuation ports, despite there being no armed attacks on them at all. It was stated afterwards by the UN that the majority of all built structures in East Timor had been destroyed within about a fortnight. Similar things were done by Nazi troops in Norway and Soviet Troops in Finland.

      There are precedents for the Israeli Army’s behaviour, and they are not wholesome.

    2. Few? That was 13 questions and 1 remark about what ‘most Israeli’s’ think. (And does that make them right?)

    3. 1) You need not to delve into a killer’s mind to assume that, having seen the unarmed civilian, continuing to drive towards her suggests either deadly intention or, at least, extreme disregard to her life.
      2) You need not have access to classified IDF commands to know the killer was following the consistent commanders’-spirit of disregarding humanitarian considerations and relevant Supreme Court orders (Annat Kam is rotting in jail for proving just that).
      3) It was her (and not you, for instance) who got squashed by the bulldozer, because it was her (and not you) who had the guts to stand up and defend the defenceless.
      4) There was no war going on at the time. Israel controlled Gaza Strip and was illegally demolishing the local doctor’s house to better secure its illegal settlements on the occupied land.

      Finally, look at the Pussy Riot case in Russia and ask yourself why it’s innocent Putin who gets the blame for the court’s decision.

    4. Do we really think Zionists have killed another innocent in the cause of stealing land and globally oppressing people for short-term self-interests?

      Do fish swim in water?

    5. The bulldozer driver wasn’t innocent & he did run over her intentionally. He received general orders that turned anyone in that zone into kill fodder.

      Sorry, but the IDF doesn’t get to determine what’s a war zone when there’s no war. When it wishes to destroy 1,700 homes in Gaza & render 17,000 homeless, that’s not a war, that’s a war crime. And killing an unarmed civilian in such a situation is a crime.

      Don’t talk to me about paying compensation. Israel did it to the Miller family & many others whom it killed or severely wounded in senseless violence.

      You know zilch about Israeli judges. Does a judge hearing a sensitive IDF security case in which the stature of the state & military are at stake have to be told how to rule? Of course not. Does he want his job? Does he want a promotion? Of course. Does he rule against the IDF & jeopardize a career? Never. As for “disgracing the court,” this ruling does that. Nothing I could write would prove a greater disgrace than that.

      The courts are “leftist?” Your very terms of reference show you to be an Israeli rightist from whom we don’t take any lessons as to what is defined as leftist.

      1. RS: “Sorry, but the IDF doesn’t get to determine what’s a war zone when there’s no war. ”

        Absolutely true and, if you think about it, axiomatic.

        After all, according to this court the IDF is not responsible for civilian deaths in an area that has been declared a “closed military zone”.

        Hellllllllo. That logic means that the IDF can grant itself a “license to kill” merely by declaring an area to be a “closed military zone” and then going in with t.o.t.a.l. disregard for life ‘n’ limb.

        Israel is the occupying power. It has “authority” over the occupied territory, and with “authority” comes “responsibility”.

    6. You seem very naive. The answer to your rhetorical questions is a resounding “yes!” That’s the whole point. Everyone in Israel is accountable to the military, including judges. This is why military policies set the standards. Israeli aggressors must be able to function without fear of liability to be effective. They need impunity or it will be hard to recruit these minions. If impunity is required military policy, the court will reflect this standard. It is a miserable sham.

  7. “Obama could care less. He’s got bigger fish to fry. To win an election. ”


    Richard, you are a writer, you should know this.

  8. She was wearing a fluorescent vest like the kind they wear in construction and standing directly in the drivers line of vision. There is no way he could have avoided seeing her. Also if she was between him and demolishing a home, and by some miracle he didnt see her, why did he drive over her and then back up over her again instead of just going forward to finnish the job he had come to accomplish? Why did the government confiscate security footage from surrounding buildings that could have been used in court.
    This was not justice.

    1. Israeli authorities confiscated all footage of the incident for the same obvious reason they confiscated, years later, all footage they could lay their blood-stained hands on from the Mavi Marmara.

  9. It’s not enough for Silverstein that the government and media are radically leftists-bent. Even a tinge of straight, lawful expression must be doused because he wants nothing of it. Like Corrie, he’ll go to his wits end to fight against anything that resembles justice for the Jew. If ever there was a proud Jew, Richard could never be one.

    1. I believe Richard is a very proud Jew, and I respect him for that. He clearly doesn’t feel that justice for the Gentile is inherently exclusive of justice for the Jew, or that justice for the Jew is inherently exclusive of justice for the Gentile. In fact, he seems to hold to a pattern of Judaism which claims pride in the insistence of universal values of justice, which I was brought up believing a central plank of Judaic thought.

      Or is that changed now? Has the existence of Israel made all our values of justice relative? Depends on the ethnicity or religion of whomever we’re judging…

      1. I believe it is the “universality” of beliefs that has changed. Israel has created a geographic locus of Judaism and much of the universalism of Judaism, borne of the Diaspora, is being repackaged into a local, rigid code applicable to Jews (and only those in Israel) and nobody else. The ethical core is emphasizing much of the narrowness that oppressed Jews in past centuries: How can a Jew take pride (“proud Jew”) in becoming the very type who hated his forebears? That’s not pride, it’s psychosis.

  10. Why would Obama defend his own citizens? I mean, the man is approving laws so that they can kill and detain their own citizens without a trial, this time themselves. From him we don’t have to expect anything.

  11. This is horrifying. The circumstances under which she was there, the circumstances under which she died. Why didn’t someone push her out of the way when they saw that the bulldozer was not going to stop? Horrifying. I am so sorry for Rachel but even more so for her parents who have lost her at such a young age. The fact that someone took a picture of her dying – sad.

    1. Lori: “Why didn’t someone push her out of the way when they saw that the bulldozer was not going to stop? ”


      Why didn’t the IDF commander stop all the bulldozers u.n.t.i.l. he was certain that all the protestors had been removed?

      What, was he scared that Rachel Corrie would wrestle his troops to the ground and smack their little botties?

  12. From Omar Barghouti, as quoted in Mondoweiss –

    “It’s a sad day for humanity, for the Corries, for Palestinians, for all people of conscience around the world …

    Cindy and Craig, we share your hurt. We share your indignation at this Israeli mockery of justice which is typical of this unjust system.

    This latest and widely expected Israeli court whitewash underlines what the UN Goldstone Report had proven after the Israeli massacre in Gaza in 2008-09. Referring to “structural flaws” in the so-called Israeli justice system, the report concluded that Israel cannot be trusted to administer justice according to international standards.[Goldstone Report, paragraph 1756]

    Precisely! In too many cases to enumerate here, Israel’s courts have rarely sentenced Jewish-Israeli criminals for killing or injuring Palestinians or wantonly destroying their property. According to Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din,

    “… 91% of investigations [by Israeli police in the OPT] into crimes committed by Israelis against Palestinians and their property are closed without indictments being served. 84% of the investigation files are closed because of the investigators’ failure to locate suspects and evidence. … Indictments were served in less than 3% of these cases.”

    Even as early as 1996, at the height of the so-called “peace process,” an Israeli settler fatally pistol-whipped 11-year-old Palestinian child Hilmi Shusha near Bethlehem for no apparent reason. An Israeli judge first acquitted the murderer, saying the child “died on his own as a result of emotional pressure., After numerous appeals and under pressure from the Supreme Court, which termed the act “light killing,” the judge reconsidered and, as the Intifada was raging, sentenced the killer to six months of community service and a fine of a few thousand dollars. The boy’s father accused the court of issuing a “license to kill.”

  13. Richard, I have a question and I would be very interested to know your answer. So, if you get a minute, please try to give me your opinion:

    I really believed that the Israeli courts would find the IDF responsible for Rachel Corrie’s death. Not because they are interested in actually pursuing justice per se, rather because they would be keen to show the world that Israel is a country where the rule law prevails. I truly imagined that they would find the IDF responsible and designate some heads for rolling. That would be, surely, a public relations coup for the Israeli government and would enable it to draw a stark difference between itself and a torture state like Jordan or Assad’s Syria. But no.

    So my question is: What has possessed them, Richard? What do you think it is? Are they insane? Are they so insular and so out of touch that they don’t realise the international disgrace to which they are subjecting Israel as the occupation continues? What possible interest is served by callously announcing that Rachel Corrie is responsible for her own death?

    I’d love to know what you think.

    PS: Pam Geller, in this post, calls Rachel Corrie a ‘Jew hater’ who effectively committed suicide. She seems to represent the stance of the Israeli courts. I think the Jewish State is in some serious trouble:


    1. Israel has been committed for a long while to an ethnic and religious war, and has tailored its institutions around it – but the unquestioning American defense of Israel is leading to an institutionalization of the same ethnic and religious war in the US.

      Its not just Israel which is in serious trouble.

  14. According to Zionist mores had the guy from Tiananmen Square been run over by the Chinese army tanks it would be his own fault since he put himself in harm’s way. This just shows that Zionism is antithetical to the notions of freedom and justice as its adherents automatically identify with and support the oppressor and cannot fathom a reality in which they are in fact part of evil.

    I highly recommend reading Israel Shamir’s masterpiece essay “The Maid and the Ogre”:


  15. I’m feeling charitable. Rachel Corrie lost her balance when the bulldozer driver pushed at the mound of earth. She fell down. At that moment she may well have been out of the sight of the driver. Maybe he assumed that she had got out of the way, so he carried on. If it was a genuine accident he may have been stricken with remorse but the pro-protest, pro-Palestian propaganda band wagon got going, gleefully grateful for another stick with which to beat Jews senseless. I don’t know all the facts but though I feel sympathetic to Rachel Corrie’s parents the fact remains that she had the courage to put herself in a situation of danger. The court’s verdict is not perverse in my opinion.

    1. Anton Schmid – a notorious traitor who wilfully put himself in harm’s way – was sentenced to death for defending the legally defenceless.
      I wonder whether you find his harsh sentence perverse in any way.

    2. “Maybe he assumed that she had got out of the way, so he carried on.”

      Then that is manslaughter.

      Honestly, this isn’t a difficult concept to grasp:
      IF you are driving a Big Honkin’ Bulldozer
      AND you know there are protestors intent on standing in your way
      THEN you stop
      AND you refuse to restart your engine
      UNTIL the border police have removed all the protestors

      You certainly don’t “assume” that because you can’t see what is being crushed under your tracks that, du’oh!, you aren’t crushing them under your tracks.

      Make that fasle “assumption” and you’ve just committed manslaughter.

    3. Even if it was a “genuine accident” — there would be liability. But it wasn’t. Perhaps the driver sought to scare Rachel off by pushing forward, perhaps he thought he had been successful, he still is responsible for the operation of the machine and still liable for any death he inflicts. Under the circumstances, he had every duty to ascertain that the field was clear and, giving it the best possible spin, he failed to do so. I think these guys were out to teach these “internationals” an Israeli message in some form or other and that this occasion to terrorize Rachel came up. The driver was at best derelict in his duties, at worst a murderer.

    4. The only one beat “senseless” here was Rachel. How dare you promote “the poor innocent Jews” business here when we are discussing the actions of the State of Israel, not Jews. “Bandwagon?” Try funeral dirge.

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