State Dept. presses Israel for ‘credible’ Corrie inquiry

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration is pressing Israel to conduct a "thorough, transparent and credible" investigation into the death of Rachel Corrie.

"Rachel Corrie’s parents have visited the department regularly since March of 2003 and her tragic death, and we continue to provide them with support and assistance," P.J. Crowley, the State Department spokesman, said in Wednesday’s briefing with reporters. "And the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is attending an ongoing civil lawsuit filed by the family against Israel, and that opened in Haifa on March 10th. We continue to stress to the Government of Israel at the highest levels to continue a thorough, transparent, and credible investigation of the circumstances concerning her death.

Corrie, 23, a pro-Palestinian activist from Olympia, Wash., was wearing an orange vest and attempting to stop a bulldozer from demolishing a Palestinian home when she was killed seven years ago.

An Israeli army investigation following Corrie’s death found that the driver of the bulldozer could not see Corrie and did not intentionally run over her. The report accused Corrie and the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement of "illegal, irresponsible and dangerous" behavior.

Witnesses say that Corrie was clearly visible and that activists shouted for the bulldozer to stop before it hit the college student.

Crowley did not say why the United States was not satisfied with the Israeli army’s probe. In similar cases, however, most recently involving Israel’s deadly raid on an aid flotilla, the Obama administration has indicated that it sees civilian inquiries as more independent than those conducted by the military.

In the civil case under way, Corrie’s parents reportedly are demanding $324,000 in damages from the Israel Defense Forces.

The Corries lost a lawsuit against Caterpillar Inc., the U.S. company that manufactured the bulldozer.

NEXT STORY