Former Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade Commander, Colonel Pinhas (Pinky) Zuaretz – the final witness in the case – is scheduled to testify Sunday, July 10, in the Corrie civil trial against the State of Israel.
Colonel Zuaretz was the commanding officer of the Israeli military’s Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade in 2003, when American peace activist Rachel Corrie was killed. Troops under his command were responsible for the actions resulting in her killing. Zuaretz is the highest ranking officer called as a government witness in the civil trial who had command responsibility in Gaza. He is possibly the highest such officer ever to face cross examination in a civil suit regarding the actions of the Israeli military against civilians in Gaza during the second intifada. His testimony is expected to shed light on the Israeli military’s failures as an occupying power to protect civilian life and property in the region.
The lawsuit, filed in 2005 by Attorney Hussein abu Hussein, charges the State of Israel with responsibility for killing Rachel in Rafah, Gaza in 2003. Since the trial opened in March 2010, 14 hearings have been held, with over 2000 pages of court transcripts recorded from 22 testimonies – including that of 14 Israeli Military personnel, and four peace activist eye-witnesses with the International Solidarity Movement. Most government witnesses for the State of Israel were identified only by their initials, and many testified while hidden behind a screen. Each hearing was attended by officials from the American Embassy, numerous observers from legal and human rights organizations, and members of the Corrie family.
Craig and Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s parents, will hold a press conference on Monday, July 11, at 11:00 AM at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem to discuss the conclusion of this phase of the case, as well as next steps in their efforts to seek accountability for their daughter’s killing. They will be joined by their other daughter, Sarah Corrie Simpson and Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein. The press conference will be held in English, with attorneys available at the conclusion for brief interviews in both Arabic and Hebrew.
Court proceedings on Sunday, July 10, will begin at 12:00 noon in the courtroom of Judge Oded Gershon, 6th floor, Haifa District Court, 12 Palyam St., Haifa, Israel.
Please visit the Trial Update page of the Rachel Corrie Foundation website for updates, last minute changes to the court schedule, and related information.