Israel refuses to reveal neither the name nor the face of the military bulldozer driver who crushed pro-Palestinian US activist Rachel Corrie to her early death.
The third session of a hearing into the March 2003 killing of the 23-year-old Corrie in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah was held on October 21 in Israel with the presence of the man who drove the vehicle.
Rachel’s parents were, however, denied a chance to confront him face-to-face in the Israeli courtroom, Stacy Sullivan who heads the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice told Fars news agency in a letter.
The unidentified former soldier was shielded behind an opaque partition, where he read his testimony about the events leading up to Corrie’s death.
In an unprecedented move, Tel Aviv has identified the man merely as a Russian immigrant who entered Israel in 1995.
Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother, expressed dismay at the “blatantly offensive” behavior of Israeli authorities who even refused to allow them to meet the suspect in private over “security considerations.”
According to Sullivan, the bulldozer driver’s testimony seemed to be the same as the one he had submitted earlier to the police and was filled with contradictory information.
In the remarks he had made days after the incident, the driver had stated the vehicle’s blind distance was three meters — a distance he put at 30 meters at the hearing.
The man declined an offer by the court to withdraw his testimony, which also differed from the one by a senior officer who was next to him in the bulldozer.
Cindy Corrie said it was difficult to see the impenitence on the part of the driver, who said he had been ordered to continue the demolition work at the site of the incident despite the presence of international activists in a distance of less than 10 meters.
“It was so difficult for me to find no sign of regret in his words or voice. Unfortunately, the only thing I heard from the other side of the story was indifference,” Fars news agency quoted her as saying.