Israel will not pay compensation to the family of anti-Israel ISM activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an IDF bulldozer in 2003 in Gaza, the Supreme Court decided Thursday.
Corrie had been standing in front of a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer and acting as a human shield to try and interfere with the razing of a house in Rafiah, Gaza. In 2012, Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon ruled against the Corries' civil lawsuit and supported the IDF claim that the driver of the bulldozer could not see Corrie when she was hit by the bulldozer's blade.
The court noted that Corrie, 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. The judge found the IDF free of blame and said it did not act recklessly.
The court also invoked the “combatant activities” exception, which states that a country’s armed forces cannot be held liable for physical or economic harm to civilians that occurs in an area defined as a war zone.
Supreme Court Judge Esther Hayut agreed with the District Court and noted in her verdict that “the understanding that the fighting against terror organizations is also worthy of being called 'war activity' has been seeping into the world's consciousness in recent years, in view of the growing need, in many states and not just Israel, to conduct these war operations against grave acts of violence by terrorists against soldiers and civilians.”
Hayut also agreed with the lower court's determination that the D9 driver could not see Corrie, who was standing in front of the bulldozer's blade.
"I think they've set a very low threshold in terms of what would be considered negligence, and just ignored the lack of a credible and thorough investigation," Rachel's father Craig Corrie said when the Supreme Court appeal was filed, referring to the 2012 court ruling.
"If you take (all the material for the appeal) together, what you have is a mechanism that allows the Israeli military to act with impunity," he told journalists before the hearing. "As an ex-soldier myself I think that's very dangerous."