The family of US activist Rachel Corrie, run over by an Israeli amry bulldozer during a demonstration in Gaza in 2003, will sue Israel over her murder, their lawyer said on Wednesday.
Corrie, who was born in Olympia, Washington, travelled to Gaza to act as a human shield at a moment of intense conflict between the Israeli military and the Palestinians. On the day she died, when she was 23, she was dressed in a fluorescent orange vest and was trying to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home. She was crushed under a military Caterpillar bulldozer and died shortly afterwards.
The civil lawsuit will begin on March 10 and will take place in Haifa, shortly before the seventh anniversary of Ms Corrie’s death.
The Corrie became an symbol of foreign support for the Palestinian cause and the subject of a 2005 play based on her emails and diary.
Activists who witnessed Corrie's death said she and others were acting as human shields to prevent a house demolition in the Gaza border town of Rafah for more than two hours and were clearly visible to the bulldozer driver.
According to an account published two days after her death by activist Tom Dale, who witnessed the incident, wrote, "they pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit."
"They waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time. Every second I believed they would stop but they never did."
Now, under apparent US pressure, the Israeli government had to allow them entry so they can testify. Corrie's parents, Cindy and Craig, will also fly to Israel for the hearing.
A Palestinian doctor from Gaza, Ahmed Abu Nakira, who treated Corrie after she was injured and later confirmed her death, has not been given permission by the Israeli authorities to leave Gaza to attend.
The four witnesses were all with the International Solidarity Movement, the activist group to which Corrie belonged. They have since been denied entry to Israel, and the group's offices in Ramallah have been raided several times in recent weeks by the Israeli military.
The Israeli military closed its own investigation into the matter in 2003 without taking any action, saying the bulldozer crew "could not see Corrie".