Remembering Rachel Corrie
Ten years ago on March 16 Rachel Corrie was killed in Rafah, Gaza, when she was run over by a bull dozer while trying to protect the home of a Palestinian family.
Rachel was a 23-year-old from Olympia, Washington, and a graduate of Evergreen College. She was in Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement and engaging in nonviolent opposition to the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
Every aspect of this event and its aftermath are appalling when we look at peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.
The bulldozer was a US built and US paid for D9 Caterpillar—a military vehicle used in violation of the US law that the military equipment we supply is not to be used against civilians.
The demolition of homes in occupied territory violates the Geneva Conventions which both Israel and the US have signed onto. Israel has destroyed over 18,000 Palestinian homes, some as collective punishment for some Palestinian violence, but most as a means to remove Palestinians from land being stolen for Israeli use.
The request for a full investigation of Rachel’s death was answered with an investigation made by an army non-com who had two weeks of training for the task. He did not talk to any witnesses or see the bulldozer that killed Rachel or visit the site. He wrote his report based on notes from the officer in charge and called it an investigation.
Three years ago my wife Lorie and I attended the first day of Craig and Cindy Corrie’s civil suit against the Israeli military. The purpose of the suit was to get more information about what actually happened. From what we saw and heard that day and from later reports, it was clear that the Israeli court was not going to hold the military responsible for its actions. It didn’t. Nevertheless the Corries got further information on the loss of their daughter, some of it quite distressing.
This week as we observe the tenth anniversary of Rachel‘s death, we mourn the loss of one of the Northwest’s most talented and committed young people. We also yearn for peace in the Holy Land. But we know that there will be no peace without justice. Many in Israel deplore the occupation and the oppression of the Palestinians, but they are not the majority, and the dominant political powers continue their immoral practices. Somehow the US continues its mindless approval of everything Israel does and supports them with billions of dollars of military aid. It is tragic that the situation that resulted in Rachel’s death continues to be played out day after day and year after year.
Contributed by Wilbur Wood, West Hills Friends