Israel court: activist Rachel Corrie's death 'accidental'

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Israel court: activist Rachel Corrie's death 'accidental'

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An Israeli court has ruled that the state was not at fault over the death of an American pro-Palestinian activist during a protest in Gaza.

Rachel Corrie was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003 while trying to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes. The judge called it a “regrettable accident” but as it happened in a war-time situation the state was not responsible.

He said soldiers had tried to keep people away from the site, but Corrie did not act “as any thinking person would have done”.

For the 23-year-old’s family, the ruling is a bitter disappointment. Their long legal battle came after a military investigation which cleared the army of wrong-doing.

“We are of course deeply saddened and deeply troubled by what we heard from judge Oded Gershon in the Haifa district court,” said Rachel’s mother Cindy Corrie. “I believe that this was a bad day not only for a family, but a bad day for human rights, for humanity, for the rule of law and also for the country of Israel.”

Rachel Corrie died at the height of the Palestinian uprising. Thousands of Palestinians were killed and hundreds of Israelis blown up in suicide bombs.

The activist gained international notoriety, her story was dramatised on stage and told in a book, but few Israelis showed much sympathy for her death.