US activist's family sue Israel

Two bulldozer drivers who crushed Rachel Corrie in Gaza in 2003 will give evidence at a court in Haifa.

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    A civil lawsuit brought by the parents of a US peace activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli forces bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in March 2003 has begun being heard in the Israeli city of Haifa.

    The driver of the bulldozer that crushed Rachel Corrie to death will testify in court on Thursday, while the military commander in charge of the unit on the day will give evidence at a future date. 

    Rachel Corrie's family filed the private lawsuit against the state of Israel five years ago after an Israeli military investigation into the incident concluded that the soldier operating the bulldozers could not see Rachel and closed the case.

    "The bulldozer driver and the commander claimed that they were not aware that Corrie was there, they also said that this is a war zone, and there are no 'civilians' in war zones," Al Jazeera Sherine Tadros, reporting from Haifa, said.

    The Corries are suing the government for the symbolic amount of $1, saying that Rachel's "unlawful killing" denied her her "basic human rights". They have also accused the government of "gross negligence".

    Corrie was protesting against Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in the town of Rafah, close to the border with Egypt, when she was killed.

    The bulldozer driver will testify behind a screen to protect their identity after the court refused Corrie's parents' request that the family be able to see the soldiers that killed their daughter.

    The family's lawyers have complained that this is against the transparent procedure that they were promised, Al Jazeera's Tadros said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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