Palestinians Slam Corrie Verdict

Palestinian leaders and factions on Tuesday slammed an Israeli court’s decision which rejected accusations of negligence over the 2003 killing of American activist Rachel Corrie.

An Israeli court had cleared Israel’s military of any blame for the death of Corrie, who was crushed by an army bulldozer while trying to stop the demolition of a home in Rafah in southern Gaza.

The PLO executive committee deplored what it described as "a miscarriage of justice."

"Despite the testimonies of eyewitnesses, the audio-visual evidence and the overwhelming proof that Rachel was deliberately murdered, the Israeli court insists on victimizing her again in her tragic death," senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement.

"This proves that once again the occupation has distorted the legal and judicial systems in Israel and that the lack of accountability for its violence and violations has generated a culture of hate and impunity," she added.

Ashrawi said Israel’s practice of blaming the victim now applied to international activists and all victims of Israeli violence, and not just Palestinians.

"We must make sure that Rachel Corrie’s death is not a senseless incident," Ashrawi added.

Palestinians will continue to love and cherish Rachel and her sacrifice will always be a source of hope and a tribute to genuine humanity, she said.

‘Impunity Must End’

Mustafa Barghouti, the head of the Palestinian National Initiative, said the court’s decision showed its complicity in war crimes committed against Palestinians and peace activists.

Describing the decision as "unjust," Barghouti said Israeli leaders and army generals should be tried at the International Criminal Court.

He also called on the US, as Israel’s financial and political backer, to take a stand against Israel’s recklessness.

Gaza-based MP Jamal al-Khudari said conscience of humanity would remember Corrie’s murder.

"Rachel came to Gaza after she knew the truth, she came in solidarity with people who are facing occupation, killing and destruction. She stood in the face of the Israeli bulldozers which were demolishing people’s homes south of Rafah."

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights extended its condolences to Corrie’s family, and condemned the continued impunity for her death.

"Israel’s house demolitions are a violation of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the targeting of civilian property. Rachel Corrie was within her rights protesting this illegal activity and should not have been attacked," PCHR said in a statement

"This decision by Israel’s courts is just one of the many extending immunity to Israel’s forces, including another recent case where a soldier responsible for the death of two Palestinian women received a lesser sentence that did not reflect the gravity of his crime and only resulted in 45 days of imprisonment. This air of impunity can no longer exist."

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine also condemned the court’s verdict.

DFLP politburo member Qais Abdul Karim said the decision proved the role of Israel’s judiciary in serving the Israeli occupation.

"This verdict confirms again the complicity of the Israeli judiciary and its courts with the occupation’s army in justifying their daily crimes committed against Palestinians and internationals," he said in a statement.

(Ma’an)

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