The bulldozer driver who ran over Rachel Corrie in Gaza in 2003 said Thursday he did not realize he had trampled the American left-wing activist to death until he heard what had happened over the radio network.
The driver, whose name has not been released, testified during a Haifa District Court hearing on a civil wrongful-death lawsuit filed in March by the activist's parents, Cindy and Craig, against the State of Israel and Defense Ministry. The driver testified from behind a wooden partition to keep his identity secret.
Photo displayed during court hearing (Photo: Avisag Shear Yeshuv)
The 23-year-old Corrie was run over and killed by an Israeli bulldozer while attempting to prevent Palestinian homes from being demolished along with other members of the International Solidarity Movement. The driver said he did not see her, and her death was ruled an accident by the IDF.
The Corries are demanding $324,000 from the State, which claims the activists endangered IDF soldiers and were in a closed military zone at the time of the incident.
During Thursday's hearing, Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, who is representing the parents, spoke of inconsistencies between the driver's testimony during the IDF investigation and the affidavit he submitted to the court. According to the attorney, the driver told military investigators he had reported the incident over the radio system, while he told the court he heard of Corrie's death over the network.
The lawyer also pointed to discrepancies in the driver's testimony regarding how far he continued driving after crushing Corrie. The driver told the court he drove another 20 meters (66 feet) before stopping, but in his affidavit he said he stopped after three meters (10 feet). In addition, the driver claimed Corrie's body was found between the bulldozer and a mound of dirt, while another soldier said the body was behind the mound. During the hearing, Attorney Hussein displayed a photo in which no mound of dirt can be seen at all.
Meanwhile, Cindy Corrie slammed the state, saying Israel is hiding behind individual soldiers who are hiding behind partitions.
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