The second stage of the civil suit brought by the family of Rachel Corrie against the State of Israel is to open today in the Haifa District Court.

Corrie, an American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death on March 16, 2003 by an Israel Defense Forces bulldozer as she and associates from the International Solidarity Movement attempted to prevent the demolition of houses in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

Among the witnesses to appear today, tomorrow and after the holidays, are two Military Police investigators who in March 2003 decided, together with the southern district prosecutor, to close the case. The state will also present an expert witness who will give his opinion as to the bulldozer driver's field of vision.

The state submitted 13 affidavits, including that of the driver who ran down Corrie, his commander and other military officials involved in the case.

Corrie's parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie, who arrived in Israel over the weekend to be present in court, said that to give a chance for the peace process begun in Washington to succeed, truth, justice and responsibility for all the suffering in Israel must be sought, and that they hoped it would be sought in the case of their daughter's death.

The suit states that Corrie was killed intentionally, that Israel is responsible for the negligence of the soldiers and officers in using an armored bulldozer without noticing that there were unarmed civilians present, and that they did not protect Corrie as obligated by the laws of Isael and international law.

The state claims that Corrie's death took place during an armed conflict in a closed military zone and should be considered an act of war, thus absolving soldiers of responsibility under Israeli law. It also claims that Corrie's own negligence had led to her death.