Remembering Rachel Corrie, 10 Years Later

Rachel Corrie’s parents speak out on the tenth anniversary of her killing by the Israeli operator of a military bulldozer, who ran over her as he approached a Palestinian home he intended to demolish. There were two men in the cockpit, one to observe and the other to drive the machine.

Rachel risked her her life to make a statement about the systematic Israeli degradation of the living conditions of the Palestinians (tearing down homes of relatives of anyone who resists the occupation is just one such policy).

Here is a short documentary on the Rachel Corrie story:

Supporters of Greater Israel succeeded in having the performance of a play based on her life cancelled in New York, but it has gone on to play elsewhere, and she and her legacy have not been erased, as the extreme nationalists would have liked. In some ways the controversy over the play led to the founding of the influential blog Mondoweiss, which has done much to create spaces in which hard line Jewish nationalism can be critiqued.

But let us recognize the harsh reality: the condition of the Palestinians under Occupation is much worse now than 10 years ago. The Palestinians have suffered dramatic loss of real income even compared to the 1990s. Those in Gaza are still under an Israeli blockade that keeps them from exporting most of their products and keeps half their children in a condition of food insecurity. Nearly half of Gaza families were enclosed there after having been chased out of their homes in southern Palestine by the Jewish fighters trying to found Israel in 1947-48. Many of them can see their former property from Gaza in what is now Israel, could walk there in an hour if allowed to. They never received in reparations for land and property now worth billions. In the West Bank, aggressive Israeli colonization of Palestinian land continues apace, and a Palestinian state is no longer even plausible. Millions of stateless Palestinians have no basic human or civil rights, lacking citizenship in a country that could defend those rights.

Rachel’s work was only beginning. She can’t do it. We must.

4 Responses

  1. I actually did see the play in New York, after it had been delayed by right wing Jewish pressure.

  2. Well said Juan.

    One of the cities near the Gaza border occasionally hit by rackets coming from Gaza is named Ashkelon. It is well to remember that this city once has another name – it was al Majdal, an Arab city of 10,000 people in 1948 which was ethnically cleansed with its residents having been expelled to Gaza.

    The occasional rockets attacks on the former al Majdal coming from inside the world’s largest outdoor prison, if morally incorrect, are nonetheless morally trivial in comparison with the ethnic cleansing of that city by the Jewish forces under direction from David Ben Gurion.

    Ethnic cleansing is a war crime and a crime against humanity, that is , a crime in which all of humanity is degraded, and not just the immediate victims.

  3. “Rachel’s work was only beginning……..”

    Craig and Cindy Corrie have carried on the work of their daughter by supporting her cause.

    They traveled to Ramallah and had met Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. They visited the family in Gaza whose home that Rachel was trying to protect when she was killed.

    They were present at the Olympia, Washington courthouse when the Olympia Food Co-op boycott of Israeli goods was validated by Judge Thomas McPhee. The pro-Israel group Stand With Us (who supported the lawsuit against the boycott)later juxtaposed on their website a photo of the Corries standing outside the courthouse with another 1930s-era picture of two Nazi Brownshirts.

    When Welsh documentary producer James Miller and Briton Tom Hurndall were killed by the Israel Defense Forces in separate incidents the British government pressed for accountability. An IDF officer was charged with falsifing a report in the Miller shooting and an IDF sergeant convicted of manslaughter in the Hurndall killing. The respecive estates of Miller and Hurndall each received well over $1 million dollars in settlement proceeds from the Israeli government for their wrongful death claims.

    In Rachel Corrie’s case, U.S. Congressman Brian Baird introduced a bill calling for a thorough investigation – it went nowhere. Jimmy Carter and U.N. official Richard Falk both were critical of the Haifa District Court judgment of Judge Oded Gershon exonerating the IDF in Rachel’s death.

    The Israeli government obviously thought it had nothing to lose by fighting the Corrie case in their own court system.

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