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Proximate Cause 1, Terrorist Assistance 0



A 9th Circuit panel has confirmed that Caterpillar Inc. cannot be held legally liable for the use of its bulldozers in an Israeli military operation which Rachel Corrie�s family and supporters claim caused her death in Gaza four years ago. Protesters from the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement allege that Corrie, 23, was crushed by Israeli military personnel driving the Caterpillar to demolish Palestinian homes. A lengthy Israeli investigation established that the bulldozer team was clearing debris on an anti-smuggling mission, was not destroying homes, and that the operator of the bulldozer never saw Ms. Corrie.

Because the U.S. government pays for all Caterpillar bulldozers sold to Israel, the lawsuit presented foreign policy questions best left to the White House and Congress, said the unanimous panel. "A court could not find in favor of the plaintiffs without implicitly questioning, and even condemning, United States foreign policy toward Israel," Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote. "It is not the role of the courts to indirectly indict Israel..."

Stephen Plaut had a nice piece in FrontPage Magazine on l'affaire Corrie back in 2004: here's a snippet that the Corrie family would likely like to forget:

"What are we to make of this new Corrie family jihad? For those whose memories fail them in this matter, let me refresh things. Rachel Corrie was a young fanatic college student from Washington State, who decided she could make the world a better place by showing her solidarity with Middle East terrorism and Palestinian mass murderers. She joined the International Solidarity Movement, a communist-anarchist group who openly support Palestinian terrorism. Corrie set up shop in the Gaza Strip, where she and her ISM comrades spent their days trying to harass and provoke Israeli troops and interfere with Israel's anti-terrorist military operations. They would set up obstacles on roads to prevent Israeli troops and otherwise assist and defend the terrorists. The ISM is probably the campus organization most upfront about its support for the Palestinian �right� to engage in terrorism, and that is saying quite a lot these days!

In one confrontation with the Israelis, Corrie was trying to block an army bulldozer that was knocking down homes of terrorists and buildings hiding tunnels through which weapons and explosives were being smuggled into Israel. These tunnels brought weapons from Egypt to the Gaza city of Rafiah. One of these homes might have been that which Corrie's parents describe as that of an �innocent pharmacist.� Corrie and her ISM comrades wanted to help protect the Gaza smuggling tunnels. Rachel Corrie put herself in a position where the bulldozer driver could not see her, and she was dragged under the heavy machine. She died in a PLO ambulance or hospital shortly thereafter. The ISM then issued a host of "eyewitness" reports about the accident, which turned out to be fabrications. The simple fact of the matter was that Corrie had figured the Israeli bulldozer driver could be cowed into backing off if he saw her blocking his access to the terrorist house; she probably figured correctly, except that he did not see her from his limited-visibility window in the rig.

Thank you, 9th Circuit, for putting an end to the Corrie family's sad crusade against Israel.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.