The United States sympathized on Tuesday with the family of Rachel Corrie, after a Haifa court ruled that she caused her own death by intentionally remaining in front of an IDF bulldozer.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States has worked with the Corries “all through this process and we will continue to provide consular support.”
She added, “We understand the family's disappointment with the outcome of the trial. Under Israeli law the family has the right to appeal the verdict and we've seen reports that they are considering doing that. So we will see how this proceeds going forward.”
Judge Oded Gershon supported the IDF claim that the driver of the bulldozer could not see Corrie, who was protesting the 2003 demolitions of structure in Rafiah, Gaza.
The court noted that the case of Corrie is sad but that the young woman, who was 23 years old, was fully aware that she was in danger and that she could have prevented her own death by moving out of the path of the bulldozer.
Judge Gershon found the IDF free of blame and said it did not act recklessly.
Corrie was protesting with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), whose members have often worked with Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists to help them hide from Israeli security personnel.
The Haifa court accepted the testimony of the soldier who drove the bulldozer that his vision was impaired by a pile of rubble. Because of the size of the bulldozer, it is difficult to see what is in front of the blade when it is on the ground and close to its object.
Corrie’s father said two years ago, "The more we found out, the more likely that the killing was intentional, or at least incredibly reckless. As a former soldier, I was even in charge of bulldozers in Vietnam ... You're responsible to know what's in front of that blade, and I believe that they did."
Meanwhile, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee and head of the PLO Department of Culture and Information, condemned Tuesday’s ruling. CNN quoted her as having said that the evidence shows Corrie was “deliberately murdered” and that the Israeli court has victimized her again.
“We must make sure that Rachel Corrie's death is not a senseless incident,” Ashrawi said. “It must be stressed that Israel's habit of blaming the victim and exonerating the criminal is not (only) applied to Palestinian victims, but also it has extended its reach to international solidarity activists and victims of Israeli violence.”