| Israeli Supreme Court to hear Rachel Corrie appeal!

Israeli Supreme Court to hear Rachel Corrie appeal ~ International Solidarity Movement, Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice | Occupied Palestine.

Nine years after filing a civil suit against the State of Israel for the wrongful death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie, her family will have their appeal heard before the Israeli Supreme Court on May 21 at 11:30 a.m. in Jerusalem. The appeal, which will be argued by attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, challenges the Haifa District Court’s August 2012 ruling which concluded that the Israeli military was not responsible for Rachel’s death and that it conducted a credible investigation.

“During the past nine years, we have sought accountability in the Israeli courts for Rachel’s killing but were handed a verdict that showed blind indifference to the rights of the victim and little interest in seeking truth and justice,” said Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father.

The Corrie family appeal focuses on serious flaws in the lower court verdict which erred by ignoring and misinterpreting essential facts and misapplying legal norms. The appeal also challenges the lower court’s total disregard of international law obligations as well as procedural advantages that were regularly granted to the state during the proceedings. Lawyers for the Corries and the State of Israel have submitted their arguments in writing to the panel of three justices – Deputy-President of the Court Miriam Naor, Esther Hayut, and Zvi Zylbertal.

Speaking of his family’s hopes, Craig Corrie said, “It is a tragedy when the law is broken, but far, far worse when it is abandoned altogether.  The Supreme Court now has a choice, to either show the world that the Israeli legal system honors the most basic principles of human rights and can hold its military accountable, or to add to mounting evidence that justice can not be found in Israel.”

Rachel, a 23-year-old human rights defender from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death March 16, 2003, by an Israeli military bulldozer while nonviolently protesting demolition of Palestinian civilian homes in Rafah, Gaza. The following day, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised President George W. Bush a “thorough, credible, and transparent” investigation into Rachel’s killing. In 2004, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff informed the Corrie family of the U.S. Government’s position that the Israeli investigation did not meet these standards and advised them to “use the Israeli court system.” The Corries filed suit in 2005, charging the State of Israel and its Ministry of Defense with responsibility for Rachel’s killing.

The civil trial before Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon began March 10, 2010, and 23 witnesses testified in 15 hearings, spread over 16 months. Each session was attended by the Corrie family,American Embassy officials, and numerous legal and human rights observers.

Testimony exposed serious chain-of-command failures in relation to civilian killings, as well as indiscriminate destruction of civilian property at the hands of the Israeli military in southern Gaza. Four eyewitnesses from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) testified that Rachel was visible to soldiers in the bulldozer as it approached. Military witnesses testified that they saw ISM protesters in the area; and the on-site commander asked to stop operations due to their presence, but was ordered to continue working. An Israeli colonel testified that there are no civilians in war, and the lead military police investigator, himself, stated his belief that the Israeli military was at war with all in Gaza, including peace activists.

Testimony also revealed serious flaws in the military’s investigation into Rachel’s killing. Investigators failed to question key military witnesses, including those recording communications; failed to secure the military video, allowing it to be taken for nearly a week by senior commanders with only segments submitted to court; failed to address conflicting testimony given by soldiers; and ignored damning statements in the military log confirming a “shoot to kill” order and a command mentality to continue work in order to avoid setting a precedent with international activists.

On August 28, 2012, Judge Gershon ruled against the Corrie family, handing down a verdict stating the Israeli military was not to blame for Rachel’s death and that she alone was responsible for her demise. The Judge lauded the military police investigation and dismissed the case, adopting the Israeli Government’s position that the military should be fully absolved of civil liability, because soldiers were engaged in operational activities in a war zone.

The verdict was widely condemned by legal and human rights organizations monitoring the case, citing misrepresentation of facts and the fundamental principle of international humanitarian law – that in a time of war, military forces are obligated to take all measures to avoid harm to both civilians and their property. President Jimmy Carter stated that the court’s decision confirmed “a climate of impunity, which facilitates Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territory.” 

Seating in the courtroom is limited, and members of the press are advised to arrive early with press credentials.  Proceedings will be in Hebrew. The family is seeking permission from the Court to provide simultaneous translation for court observers.  However, pending the Court’s decision, journalists should make plans to bring their own translator. Cameras and audio recording equipment will not be permitted once proceedings begin.  Photos may be taken before the judges enter the room.

A performance of My Name is Rachel Corrie, a play drawn from the diaries and e-mails of Rachel and staged around the world, will be presented in Hebrew on Monday, May 19 at 21:00 at the Arab-Hebrew Theatre in Jaffa. It will be followed by a panel discussion with the Corrie family, moderated by human rights lawyer Michael Sfard. For more information, visit The Coalition of Women for Peace, which is sponsoring the event.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

Israeli soldiers to testify behind screen in Corrie Case

October 8, 2010FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5 October 2010 | Rachel Corrie Foundation Extraordinary state secrecy motion is granted Haifa, Israel – The Haifa District Court on Thursday granted a government request to allow soldiers to testify behind a screen in the lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza.

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| Occupied Palestine: Demonstration in commemoration of Land Day!

Demonstration in commemoration of Land Day ~ Team Nablus, International Solidarity Movement, Burin, Occupied Palestine.

On the 30th March 1976, Palestinian citizens of Israel instigated demonstrations in protest at Israeli government plans to confiscate large amounts of Palestinian land in the Galilee region for new Israeli settlements. The thousands of people who took part in non-violent general strikes, demonstrations and marches were violently attacked by the Israeli military, who injured many hundreds and killed six young Palestinian men.

Farmers watched by Israeli Occupation Forces

Farmers watched by Israeli Occupation Forces

Thirty-seven years later, Israeli land-grabs continue and settlements continue to expand. But Palestinians in the West Bank, in Gaza, in Israel and in the diaspora unite in solidarity on Land Day each year, demonstrating to the Israeli authorities their continuing sense of a Palestinian community – a people who will continue to struggle against occupation and fight for self-determination.

Today in the village of Burin , a group of Palestinians and internationals planted olive trees in a field close by to Yitzar and Bratcha settlements. Pictures of Rachel Corrie, Vittorio Arrigoni and Tom Hundrnall were hung from the newly planted trees. Black balloons adorned with the Palestinian flag and Land Day posters were released into the air.

A young boy holds a Palestinian flag in front of Israeli soldiers

A young boy holds a Palestinian flag in front of Israeli soldiers

The activists were joined almost immediately by several Israeli military and police jeeps. A soldier announced that we were in a closed military zone and that we had 25 minutes to vacate the land. The village mayor wanted to avoid any problems so all of the activists then left the land.

The activists were then invited to a house next to the field for tea but the soldiers said that this also was a closed military zone and that we should leave immediately.

Olive trees are planted to commemorate Land Day

Olive trees are planted to commemorate Land Day

Poster of deceased ISM activist Tom Hurdnall is planted alongside an olive tree.

Poster of deceased ISM activist Tom Hurdnall is planted alongside an olive tree.

Balloons are released into the sky

Balloons are released into the sky

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| Palestinian [Israeli-Arab] student explains why he heckled Obama in Jerusalem!

Arab Student Explains Why He Heckled Obama in Jerusalem ~ ROBERT MACKEY, NYT.

A 24-year-old Arab-Israeli student who interrupted President Obama’s speech in Jerusalem on Thursday explained his comments and why he made them in an interview with The Lede on Friday.

The heckler, Rabbea Eid, a political science student, said by telephone that he did not plan the outburst but was offended by Mr. Obama’s remarks, which seemed to rule out the solution that he favors: a single, binational state to be shared by Israelis and Palestinians:

I was listening to the speech of Obama and he said a lot of things that made me upset so I just stood up and shouted. He was talking about democracy and justice and at the same time he said he supports Israel as a Jewish country. So, from my perspective and that of a lot of people, Arab people, Palestinians who were in the building listening to the speech … the Arabs, the minority in Israel are also against a Jewish country because it’s not a democratic country. It’s against us, so how can Mr. Obama be democratic and in the same time support an ethnic country?

 

So I stood up and I told him, “President Obama, did you come to make peace or to support Israel and the Israeli occupation?” Then I asked him about this thing, “How can you be democratic and support a Jewish country?” And I asked him also, “Who killed Rachel Corrie?” The last question was, “Did you see the apartheid wall when you came from Ramallah?”

 

And then the security guys came and took me out, the Israeli security guys, and they told me that I’m arrested and they threatened me and they used, at first, a little bit of violence with me. But after that there was a journalist, from Fox News, I think, came out and followed me … She started taking my details and pictures, while I was stopped by the Israeli security guys … One of the security guys, I think the boss of them, told his team, “Deal with him easy. I don’t want to make a big story now. There is media so just let him go.” Then they walked me outside.

Rabbea Eid, an Arab-Israeli student, was removed by security after interrupting President Obama's speech in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Doug Mills/The New York TimesRabbea Eid, an Arab-Israeli student, was removed by security after interrupting President Obama’s speech in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Footage of Mr. Eid after he was removed from the hall by security was broadcast by Israel’s Channel 2.

 

Mr. Eid, an activist with the Balad Party, which represents Arab citizens of Israel, also said, “I don’t think Obama can solve the problem, because he’s as I see it, he’s part of the problem because he supports Israel and gives Israel weapons and money without saying they shouldn’t be killing the Palestinian people.”

He added:

I believe if he’s from a real democratic party, he should support a country for all its citizens and end the occupation, not to support a Jewish country and to support the Israeli army. He didn’t talk that much about the settlements. He talked about the violence from settlers but he didn’t say very clearly that something against settlements is that they are built on occupied land. He didn’t talk about the apartheid wall. And many things.

 

Most of his speech was to me, and to a lot of others, a Zionist speech. He talked about the historical Zionist story about the Jewish people, starting from 2,000 years ago till today and the right of the Jewish people to have their own country, but he didn’t say that there are millions of refugees, Palestinian refugees that were expelled in 1948, just before 65 years ago.

 

To me, I believe in one state for two people — one democratic state. There could be a special national thing for the Jewish or the Arab people, you know, but it could be one country. We need justice, you know. I actually don’t care what the name of this state is, but what I care is for there to be justice for two peoples in the state and to end this conflict.

Before hanging up, Mr. Eid said, “It is important for us that the American people know what is happening here, and to know that the money from their taxes is going for the weapons for Israel and different places.”

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| Dove of Peace: Honouring Rachel Corrie, 10 years on!

Honouring Rachel Corrie, 10 years on ~ , Al Jazeera.

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US peace activist was killed by Israeli bulldozer in Gaza as she tried to block the demolition of a Palestinian home.

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An Israeli court said Corrie’s death was a ‘regrettable accident’, and the state was not responsible [GALLO/GETTY]
Ramallah, West Bank – Ten years ago today, American peace activist and International Solidarity Movement volunteer Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to prevent a home demolition in Gaza.

Corrie, 23, spent less than two months in Gaza before her death, and it took an Israeli court less than that to close its investigation into the incident and declare it was an “accident”.

The bulldozer driver and co-operator could clearly see her. Despite this, the driver continued forward.

Joseph Carr, eyewitness

 

The Israeli court said in a statement: “It is clear the death of Ms Corrie was not caused as a result of a direct action by the bulldozer or by its running her over.

“[Corrie] was not run over by an engineering vehicle but rather was struck by a hard object, most probably a slab of concrete which was moved or slid down while the mound of earth which she was standing behind was moved.”

The ruling, however, was in direct contradiction to eyewitness affidavits given under oath by fellow activists at the scene.

“She slipped and fell to the ground in front of the bulldozer, which notwithstanding continued its steady pace,” said eyewitness Nicholas James Porter Durie.

Another at the scene, Joseph Carr, said: “The bulldozer driver and co-operator could clearly see her. Despite this, the driver continued forward, which caused her to fall back, out of view of the driver. He continued forward, and she tried to scoot back, but was quickly pulled underneath the bulldozer.”

Last year, a civil suit brought by Corrie’s family was dismissed by an Israeli court, finding again that her death was unintentional. It called the incident a “regrettable accident”.

At the time, Corrie’s mother said her daughter’s death “could have been and should have been avoided”.

‘A thinking person

The family was seeking compensation of $1 for Corrie’s death, a symbolic move meant to underscore the fact that they were only after justice for their daughter, rather than a cash payoff.

Israeli army cleared in Rachel Corrie death

 

Yesterday, on the eve of the 10-year anniversary of her death,Corrie’s father Craig published a statement calling for a “thorough, credible and transparent” investigation promised by then-Israeli-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the wake of Corrie’sdeath.

 

“President Obama should refuse to continue US military and diplomatic support until Israel gives truthful answers to our questions, not just for US citizens like Rachel and Furkan Dogan, but for all the civilians killed or maimed using US-funded weapons,” he said.

In the August 2012 ruling dismissing the family’s claims, JudgeOded Gershon put the blame squarely on Corrie for her own death, saying “she did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done”. 

But emails sent to her family and friends during her time in Gaza show that Corrie thought deeply and carefully about her role in the Palestinian struggle for justice – and the dangers inherent in her activism.

In an email sent a month before her death, she discussed setting up a sister-city programme between her hometown of Olympia, Washington, and the city of Rafah where she was staying.

Corrie described the role she hoped to play as an international activist in Gaza, and said she hoped to help Gazans send their message to the world.

“Many people want their voices to be heard, and I think we need to use some of our privilege as internationals to get those voices heard directly in the US, rather than through the filter of well-meaning internationals such as myself,” she wrote.

“I am just beginning to learn, from what I expect to be a very intense tutelage, about the ability of people to organise against all odds, and to resist against all odds.”

Deeply disturbed

Corrie made frequent reference in her emails to the dangerous situation she found herself in, but said she believed the Israeli military would show more restraint with foreigners than they did with Palestinians, who were frequently arrested, attacked and killed.

I am discovering a degree of strength and of basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of circumstances … I think the word is dignity.

– Rachel Corrie

 

She said she felt she was protected by “the difficulties the Israeli army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen”.

In her last email, sent to her father shortly before her death, she said “right now I am most concerned that we are not being effective. I still don’t feel particularly at risk”.

Corrie was clearly motivated by compassion for the people of Gaza, including the family she was staying with who were constantly under threat of having their home demolished.

She wrote of being deeply disturbed by the violence practised by the Israeli military, and the illegal demolitions carried out on homes in Rafah.

“I spent a lot of time writing about the disappointment of discovering, somewhat first-hand, the degree of evil of which we are still capable,” she wrote.

“I should at least mention that I am also discovering a degree of strength and of basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of circumstances – which I also haven’t seen before. I think the word is dignity.”

Despite the efforts of Corrie and thousands of other international activists, Israel still continues the practise of home demolitions.

Although Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza in 2005, demolitions continue in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, nearly 500 Palestinian homes were destroyed last year.

A eulogy posted Saturday by the International Solidarity Movement reaffirms the group’s commitment to the principles Corrie gave her life for and hails her as a continuing inspiration for all people seeking justice in the occupied territories.

“Rachel’s untimely death was an inspiration to become more involved in the struggle for freedom for Palestine,” the group said.

“We honour her memory and what she was standing for, whilst she stood in front of that bulldozer 10 years ago today.”

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Rachel 1FACT SHEET: The Killing of Rachel Corrie: Ten Years Later
IMEU, MAR 15, 2013 

Background

  • Rachel was born to Cindy and Craig Corrie on April 10, 1979, in Olympia, Washington. She was the youngest of three children in the family. From anearly age, she displayed a concern for social justice and those less fortunate than her. Her personal interests included playing soccer and the poetry of Pablo Neruda.
  • After graduating from high school, Rachel studied art at Evergreen State College in Olympia, where she became involved in peace activism and worked with a group called Olympians for Peace and Solidarity. For a senior class project, she proposed spending a year in Palestine, where she could meet with and learn from Palestinian activists and develop a sister city program between Olympia and Rafah, a border town in the Gaza Strip.
  • Through Olympians for Peace and Solidarity, Rachel became involved with theInternational Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led group of international activists dedicated to protesting Israeli human rights abuses, including thedestruction of Palestinian homes, using nonviolent direct action. In late January 2003, amidst the violence and repression of the second Palestinian uprising against Israel’s then more than 35-year-old military occupation, Rachel traveled to the occupied territories as a volunteer with the ISM.

Rachel in Gaza

  • On January 22, 2003, Rachel arrived in occupied East Jerusalem. The next day she traveled to the West Bank for a two-day training session at the ISM’s headquarters, which involved advice on how to avoid injury during nonviolent direct actions that were planned. The main mission of Rachel and the other ISM volunteers was to act as human shields for Palestinian civilians in Rafah, who regularly came under fire from Israeli soldiers, and to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes and infrastructure such as water wells that were also regularly targeted by the Israeli army.
  • On January 27, 2003, Rachel entered Gaza through the Israeli-controlled Erez Crossing and traveled to the southern town of Rafah. Situated along the border with Egypt, large swathes of homes in Rafah were targeted for destruction by Israel under the pretext of creating a security belt. (Between 2000 and 2004, the Israeli army destroyed more than 2500 Palestinian homes in Gaza, almost two-thirds of them in Rafah. For more, see Human Rights Watch report: Razing Rafah: Mass Home Demolitions in the Gaza Strip, October 2004. For more on Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes, see here.)
  • In a February 7 email to her friends and family back home in the US, Rachel wrote:

    “[N]o amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless you see it – and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact that I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells, and the fact, of course, that I have the option of leaving.”

  • A few weeks later, on February 14, Rachel and other ISM members had a close call with an Israeli army bulldozer. Of the incident, Rachel wrote:

    “The internationals stood in the path of the bulldozer and were physically pushed with the shovel backwards, taking shelter in a house… The bulldozer then proceeded on its course, demolishing one side of the house with the internationals inside.”

  • In a February 27 email to her mother Cindy, Rachel wrote:

    “I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside. Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again – a little bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here.”

Rachel’s Death

  • On March 16, 2003, dressed in fluorescent orange vests and using a bullhorn to make their presence known to Israeli soldiers, Rachel and a group of seven other American and British ISM volunteers set off to attempt to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes in the so-called Philadelphi corridor area of Rafah, along the border with Egypt.
  • Late in the afternoon, after several hours of confronting soldiers who were using two 60-ton armored Caterpillar D9 weaponized bulldozers to destroy homes, Rachel slipped while standing on a mound of earth in front one of the bulldozers and was run over. Severely injured, she was taken to hospital by ambulance where she was declared dead. (See here for photos taken that day.WARNING: Contains disturbing images.) Rachel’s death was the first in a string of deadly incidents involving ISM members and the Israeli army (see below for more).
  • According to fellow ISM volunteer and eyewitness Tom Dale, a British citizen who now works as a journalist in Egypt:

    “The bulldozer went towards her very slowly. She was fully in clear view, straight in front of them… Unfortunately she couldn’t keep her grip there and she started to slip down. You could see she was in serious trouble; there was panic in her face as she was turning around… All the activists there were screaming, running towards the bulldozer, trying to get them to stop. But they just kept on going.”

  • According to another witness and ISM volunteer, Richard Purssell:

    “The driver cannot have failed to see her. As the blade pushed the pile, the earth rose up. Rachel slid down the pile. It looks as if her foot got caught. The driver didn’t slow down; he just ran over her. Then he reversed the bulldozer back over her again.”

  • The day after Rachel died, March 17, 2003, Amnesty International USA released a statement condemning her killing and renewing a call “for a suspension of US transfers to Israel of military equipment, including bulldozers, which have been used to commit human rights abuses.” The statement noted:

    “In the past two years, the Israeli army has demolished more than 3,000 Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories, as well as large areas of agricultural land, public and private properties, and water and electricity infrastructure in urban and rural areas. Bulldozers used for demolitions have killed Palestinian civilians, but to date no thorough investigation has taken place.

    “Amnesty International and other international, Israeli, and Palestinian human rights groups have reported on Israel’s use of disproportionate, excessive, and lethal force without regard to civilian lives, indiscriminate attacks on civilians, extrajudicial executions and unwarranted destruction of civilian property that have resulted in deaths of innocent bystanders… Amnesty International urges that such transfers immediately be suspended until Israel is found to be in compliance with the terms of US laws and bilateral defense agreements governing transfers or offers effective and enforceable guarantees that US weapons will not be misused in this fashion.”

Official Israeli Investigation

  • Less than a month after Rachel was killed, the Israeli military ruled her death an accident in a report that was sharply criticized by human rights groups. Initially, Israel refused to let US officials or the Corrie family see the report, eventually producing a 20-page document that contained no direct quotes from eyewitnesses or documentary evidence.

Response of the United States Government

  • The administration of US President George Bush expressed regret over Rachel’s death but declined to conduct its own investigation, despite the fact that a year after Rachel was killed Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, wrote a letter to the Corries stating that, “without equivocation,” the Israeli military investigation had been insufficient. Rep. Brian Baird, from Rachel’s home state of Washington, attempted, unsuccessfully, to launch a congressional investigation.

The Corrie Family’s Search for Accountability

US Lawsuit

  • After years of unsuccessfully lobbying the Israeli and US governments for a thorough and transparent investigation into Rachel’s death, in March 2005, along with several Palestinians, Rachel’s parents filed a federal lawsuit in the US against Caterpillar Inc., arguing that the company was liable in her death because it sold bulldozers to Israel despite the fact that they were being used to commit human rights abuses in violation of international law. In November 2005, a judge dismissed the case. In 2007, an appeals court refused to reinstate the case, ruling that it dealt with foreign policy questions that were the purview of the executive branch of the government.

Israeli Civil Suit

  • In March 2010, seeking answers to unresolved questions surrounding their daughter’s death, Cindy and Craig Corrie began a civil suit against the Israeli government, accusing the Israeli military of either unlawfully or intentionally killing her or of gross negligence. The family described the suit as their “absolutely last resort.”
  • Information revealed in court painted a picture of neglect and dereliction of duty on the part of Israeli investigators, who failed to visit the scene of the incident or interview non-military eyewitnesses, including ambulance workers, doctors and other Palestinians who treated Rachel. According to an article in Time magazine, one of the three military police officers who conducted the official investigation of Rachel’s death “testified that [their] interview of the bulldozer driver was halted on the order of a senior commander. He also testified that investigators waited a week to retrieve from another unit the only known videotape of the incident; failed to interview non-military eyewitnesses; ignored the ambulance workers, doctors and other Palestinians who treated her; and did not even visit the scene of her death.”
  • On August 28, 2012, the judge overseeing the case ruled that Rachel’s death was a “regrettable accident” and the Israeli government bore no responsibility for it. In response, Rachel’s mother, Cindy, declared: “I believe this was a bad day not only for our family, but a bad day for human rights, for humanity, for the rule of law and also for the country of Israel… Rachel’s right to life and dignity were violated by the Israeli military.”
  • Prior to the verdict being handed down, Haaretz newspaper reported that US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro had told Rachel’s parents that the Israeli investigation wasn’t as thorough, credible or transparent as it should have been.
  • Following the verdict, Amnesty International issued a press release entitled “Rachel Corrie Verdict Highlights Impunity for Israeli Military,” which stated:

    “Amnesty International condemns an Israeli court’s verdict that the government of Israel bears no responsibility in the death of Rachel Corrie, saying the verdict continues the pattern of impunity for Israeli military violations against civilians and human rights defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The verdict shields Israeli military personnel from accountability and ignores deep flaws in the Israeli military’s internal investigation of Corrie’s death.

    “By upholding the flawed Israeli military investigation, completed within one month of Rachel Corrie’s death in 2003, the verdict seems to have ignored substantial evidence presented to the court, including by eyewitnesses. The full military investigation has never been made public, but US government officials have stated that they do not believe the investigation was ‘thorough, credible and transparent.'”

Rachel’s Legacy

  • Following her death, Rachel’s parents created The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice to honor her memory. According to its mission statement, its goal is to continue “the work that Rachel Corrie began and hoped to accomplish, and carries out that work with her vision, spirit, and creative energy in mind. We conduct and support programs that foster connections between people, that build understanding, respect, and appreciation for differences, and that promote cooperation within and between local and global communities. The foundation encourages and supports grassroots efforts in pursuit of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice, which we view as pre-requisites for world peace.” The foundation’s projects includefunding a water purification and desalination unit for a kindergarten in Rafah and the Rachel Corrie Memorial Scholarship at Evergreen State College.
  • Rachel’s life has inspired numerous artistic works, most notably the play My Name is Rachel Corrie, edited and directed by award-winning British actor Alan Rickman, which was based on her diary entries and emails. First staged in April 2005 at the Royal Court Theatre, London, it has been performed in at least 10 countries since. Entries from Rachel’s diary and emails home were also published in the book Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie (2008).
  • A ship bearing Rachel’s name, the MV Rachel Corrie, took part in the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which attempted to bring humanitarian supplies to the besieged and blockaded Gaza Strip to draw international attention to the plight of the Palestinians living there.
  • Rachel’s dedication to the cause of Palestinian freedom also inspired numerous tributes and memorials for her from Palestinians, both in the occupied territories and in the diaspora. In March 2003, the Union of Health Work Committees in Gaza named a clinic and children’s center in Rafah after her, theRachel Corrie Children’s Center. The center’s goal is to build “relationships between the isolated children and youth in Rafah and their peers in other countries.” In 2010, a street was named after Rachel in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.

UNARMED INTERNATIONAL ACTIVISTS & OTHERS SEVERELY INJURED OR KILLED BY THE ISRAELI MILITARY SINCE RACHEL CORRIE’S DEATH

The following is a partial list of nonviolent foreign activists and others who have been seriously injured or killed by Israeli forces since Rachel Corrie’s death on March 16, 2003. It does not include the far greater number of unarmed Palestinian activists injured or killed by Israeli forces during the same period.

April 5, 2003 – A few weeks after Rachel is killed, American citizen and ISM volunteerBrian Avery is shot in the face by Israeli soldiers in the city of Jenin in the West Bank. Lucky to survive, Avery undergoes a series of facial reconstruction surgeries and suffers severe facial scarring. After initially refusing to investigate the incident, the Israeli government subsequently agrees to an out-of-court settlement paying Avery $175,000.

April 11, 2003 – Less than a week after Avery is shot in the face and seriously wounded by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, British ISM member and photographerTom Hurndall is shot in the head by Israeli soldiers in Gaza while he attempts to help a group of Palestinian children to safety after Israeli soldiers begin shooting in the vicinity. After nearly a year in a coma, Hurndall dies in January 2004. Following pressure from the British government and Hurndall’s family, the Israeli army lays charges of manslaughter against a soldier who confesses to the shooting. The soldier is convicted in 2005 and sentenced to eight years in prison, but is released early for good behavior in 2010.

May 2, 2003 – Respected British cameraman James Miller, who had worked for major international news organizations such as CNN, is shot and killed by Israeli troops in Gaza he while carries a white flag.

March 13, 2009 – Oakland native and nonviolent ISM activist Tristan Anderson is shot in the face with a high-velocity tear-gas canister by Israeli forces while participating in a demonstration against a section of the wall Israel is building on land belonging to the town of Ni’lin in the occupied West Bank. Anderson suffers multiple fractures to his skull, a severe injury to the frontal lobe of his brain, and a collapsed eye socket, causing him to lose sight in his right eye. He spends more than a year in an Israeli hospital recovering before returning to the US, where he continues to suffer the effects of his injury.

May 31, 2010 – Turkish and American citizen Furkan Dogan is shot and killed along with eight other Turkish human rights activists by Israeli commandos who storm the boat they’re traveling on in international waters as part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Dogan is shot multiple times in his leg, foot, back, and twice to the head. A United Nations investigation concludes that he and five of the other victims have been shot “execution-style” at close range, finding that Furkan has been shot in the face after “lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time.”

May 31, 2010 – At a demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the occupied West Bank to protest the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, 21-year-old American artist and student Emily Henochowicz is hit in the face by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli border police. The force of the impact fractures her jaw and orbital bone and causes the loss of her left eye.

May 1, 2011 – Sixty-year-old American citizen and member of Michigan Peace TeamSandra Quintano suffers two broken wrists and a laceration to her head after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Izbet al-Tabib during a peaceful demonstration against the construction of Israel’s wall, which will cut off villagers’ access to their land.

May 15, 2011 – Twenty-two-year-old Palestinian-American student Munib Masri is shot in the back with live ammunition by Israeli soldiers along the Lebanon border as he participates in a march to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba, the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes during the establishment of Israel. The bullet destroys Masri’s left kidney and spleen and breaks apart in his spine. He remains in a wheelchair.

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| Father of Murdered Rachel Corrie: “Boycotting Israel works!”

Father of Murdered Rachel Corrie: “Boycotting Israel works” ~ Global Research, The Electronic Intifada.

Rachel Corrie and Furkan Dogan: Murdered American Heroes

A few days before Israel bombed it for eight consecutive days, Gaza hosted a visit by Cindy and Craig Corrie. Their daughter, Rachel, was murdered by an Israeli soldier in 2003 as she tried to prevent bulldozers from demolishing Palestinian homes in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza.

It was the Corries’ first visit to Gaza since an Israeli court ruling in August this year, which rejected a lawsuit they had taken over Rachel’s murder. The Haifa District Court declared that the Israeli state and military were not responsible for her death.

The Electronic Intifada contributor Joe Catron interviewed Craig Corrie on 11 November, the last night of the Corries’ latest visit to Gaza.

Joe Catron: You’ve been here in the Gaza Strip for five days. How have you found it?

Craig Corrie: It’s always kind of hard to take into your head. The last time we were here was in September 2009. That would have been about eight months after the attack on Gaza [Operation Cast Lead]. And we had been here one previous time, in March of that year.

Then, the destruction was obvious everywhere. You could see rubble, people living in the rubble, people living in tents. Every person was shell-shocked. If you talked to them, they all had a family member who was killed or maimed. The fear, of course, affected everybody. In a very real way, it was quite fresh on people’s minds.

As you come in this time, there’s construction going on. It seems to be happening on glossy, sort of big things. Part of that is to show off, I figure. I’m not totally against that. People, even the de facto government, have to have some means of pride.

One of the things we’ve noticed is the shops. Not only are shops open, but they have a lot on the shelves. But somebody pointed out that there aren’t very many people in those shops. There’s still a lot of unemployment. And I’m told that poverty’s actually getting worse instead of better.

We went to the Qattan Centre for the Child this morning, where we had been before, right after Cast Lead. In 2009, they were working vigorously on trying to get children drawing. All of the pictures were full of tanks, bulldozers, soldiers. They pointed out that there was also a sun in most of the pictures: some sort of symbol of something better.

The art we saw today was more sophisticated. So I think it was by older children, although it’s been some time; it might be the same children. But it wasn’t tanks and bombs all over the place this time. So maybe that’s better.

And yet, it was five days, as you said. You can’t get under the surface in five days, particularly when you’re here with a delegation [the Corries were part of an Interfaith Peace-Builders’ group]. And we’ve been very busy. We’ve gone from group to group to group, and that’s just skimming the top of the waves.

I’m really glad to be here. I’m glad to see the people we haven’t seen for so long. I hear their hurt, in so many different ways. A 13-year-old boy was shot and killed the day before yesterday. Seeing his father, with the pain so fresh, he doesn’t know what it is yet.

We couldn’t communicate well through an interpreter; maybe through the eyes. I’ve been there in a way. People here have all been there in some way or another, but it’s different for everybody.

JC: You recently took part in a similar delegation to the West Bank, and attended the verdict of your civil trial in Israel. What similarities and differences do you see in these three divisions of historic Palestine?

CC: One of the advantages of our trial is that my wife and I lived for nine months in Haifa. So we could know people better. We had a number of Jewish Israeli friends, and we couldn’t have done it without them or our Arab friends inside ’48 [present-day Israel].

On the trip we just did, the best day for me was when I skipped out for a few hours in Haifa, ran around, and happened into some of the guys I knew when I was there. They weren’t expecting me; they might have known I’d come back someday, but didn’t think it would be this year.

Those friendships are wonderful. That part I like. But there was so little emotional payback from the trial, it’s difficult. You know how after you burn yourself, as you get close to a hot stove, it starts to hurt more the closer you get to the heat? That’s the way I felt going back to Israel.

We had a little bit of time in the West Bank. But again, we were going from one group to another. So in a way, you normalize all of this. The people we traveled with, who hadn’t seen it before, were outraged and amazed. I’ve been there before.

But it doesn’t have as much impact as coming here does. Well, there’s probably not as much of an impact now. The first time was incredibly emotional, because I knew people had cared for Rachel. That was incredibly important.

When Rachel was killed, one of the messages I wanted to get through to the people of Rafah was to thank them: thank them for being a father to Rachel when I couldn’t be. I know they were because of the way she wrote about the people she met and how much they meant to her. She wrote that the most important thing she ever did in her life was to come to Rafah. And I needed them to know that.

It was her choice to come. Of course it was an unbelievable loss to us when she was killed. But she was doing something important, something she loved.

JC: You mentioned that while you may appeal your civil case, it will no longer require your regular involvement. What will your priorities, and those of the Rachel Corrie Foundation, be now?

CC: We’ve got a lot of ideas, so we’ll have to choose among them. Of course we’ll still stay active in the Rachel Corrie Foundation, and hopefully be a little more active. We have number of thoughts. What’s been great about this trip is getting to talk to some friends here on the ground. They’ve been giving us their ideas about some things we can do. I think it’s most important to listen to the people here.

I think the trial was really important. We went into it looking for accountability and some information. We’re not going to get any more information out of it. Now I think we have to figure out a meaningful way to get some of the information we have out to the world.

The overarching ruling by the judge was that Rachel was killed as part of a military action, and the State of Israel is not responsible for anything that happens in a war.

There are huge problems with that: you can’t be at war when you’re an occupying power, and other things. But having spent 11 months in the army in Vietnam, I know that they are responsible. That ruling alone is far larger than Rachel, and it needs to be challenged.

The verdict was so appalling that I think a lot of the world was appalled. We may have lost in that courtroom, but I think we made the best impression we could on the world. And I think we caught Israel somewhat by surprise with the media [coverage] that came out.

JC: The trial has been your main commitment for a while, but of course you’re familiar with other Palestine solidarity efforts. What are your insights on them?

CC: My wife doesn’t like me to share this part, but I was sort of slow coming to BDS[boycott, divestment and sanctions]. I’ve talked to some people, actually on this trip, who helped me with some of the well-thought-out ways, when you look at the actual call, how targeted it is.

I used to work in insurance, which involved some investing. So in terms of divestment, that to me was a no-brainer. If you own the stock, like in Caterpillar, then you’re profiting from things that are immoral.

It didn’t seem to me that it takes a discussion. It takes a call to your stockbroker to get out. Why talk about it? Especially if you’re a Christian church. You can’t have the values of a church, then go profit from people’s suffering.

What I worried about was group punishment. Israel, as well as the United States, does that sort of thing.

But I’ve had a lot of my questions answered about just how specific the boycotts are. Omar Barghouti, and some people I know, answered them when they were talking to our group.

I had a discussion with some friends who are Israeli academics. Of course they don’t like the academic boycott. One thing I found out is that if they go as individuals, not representing their institutions, they aren’t boycotted. That seems very sane to me.

I told them after dinner, “You know, the one thing I can tell you is that I’ve tried — I, personally, have tried — everything else. This works.”

There are a whole lot of other things my family and I have done to seek justice and change, not just for our family — that’s more symbolic — but for the Palestinian people. It’s not really anything to do with Rachel. We’re trying to work for the children who are here now, the children Rachel was trying to help.

We’ve tried every conventional way I know to do this. We’ve been going to courts in Israel. And we’re trying this, too. It’s one of those examples of things I thought were a little bit nuts, but turned out to work. It’s working.

And it’s getting a lot of pushback. That tells me it’s working, and helps it work, by the way. When somebody’s screaming like that, they bring a whole lot more coverage to it. So, thank you Israel for making it a little easier for us, at least.

JC:After all your recent experiences in Palestine, what’s the message about them you’ll take back to the United States?

CC: It’s hard for me to wrap it all up. What we’ve heard a lot is that the West Bank and Gaza Strip need to be united, and that they’re all one Palestine.

I kept hearing over and over that it’s worse than it’s ever been, more in the West Bank than here. And that seems strange if you’re in Ramallah, where the construction is really booming. But I think there’s a growing realization that they’re losing more and more of the land, and a fear that they’re going to end up in little bantustans.

It would be a two-state solution, but one of them wouldn’t really be a state and not viable at all, just bantustans. Will the world put up with that?

There’s a lot of discussion about one-state versus two-state solutions. I’m not the person to have anything to say about that. But I do think those of us who work on this issue — inside ’48, in the diaspora, in the West Bank, in Gaza — have to think about how we secure the rights of all the people in the area.

It may seem absurd, and most people will think there’s a very low chance Canada will come down and take my home in Olympia, Washington. But if they do, I have a right to it back. That’s my right of return. And it ticks me off that just because some legislator in Congress finds it inconvenient to recognize that for the Palestinian people, he’s going to take away my right.

When it comes to human rights, we all drink from the same well. And if you poison that well because you think it’s going to hurt your enemy, don’t cry to me when it’s your children that get sick.

There are lots of different ways to say that, but it’s a real, immediate thing for me when I come here.

What we’re fighting for here is everybody’s rights, the rights we’re all supposed to enjoy. Palestinians have those rights. They’re just not secured. We need to secure them for everyone in the region.

Joe Catron is a US activist in Gaza, Palestine. He works with the Centre for Political and Development Studies (CPDS) and other Palestinian groups and international solidarity networks, particularly in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions and prisoners’ movements.

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