In Rafah, Gaza Strip today Rachel Corrie, a 23-year old American woman from Olympia, Washington, who was a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement, was killed by the Israeli Army. Rachel was standing in the path of the bulldozer as it advanced towards her. When the bulldozer refused to stop or turn aside she climbed up onto the mound of dirt and rubble being gathered in front of it wearing a fluorescent jacket to look directly at the driver who kept on advancing. The bulldozer continued to advance so that she was pulled under the pile of dirt and rubble. After she had disappeared from view the driver kept advancing until the bulldozer was completely on top of her. The driver did not lift the bulldozer blade and so she was crushed beneath it. Then the driver backed up — effectively running over her again. The seven other ISM activists taking part in the action rushed to dig out her body. An ambulance rushed her to Al-Najar Hospital where she died.
The Israeli Army consistently bulldozes Palestinian homes, particularly in Rafah, where over 100 homes have been demolished in the last two years. The International Solidarity Movement — both Palestinian and international citizens — calls upon the international community to break the silence around Israel's grotesque human rights abuses. International civilians are in the Occupied Palestinian Territories attempting to protect Palestinian human rights and lives precisely because formal international bodies have refused to take action to do so. Dozens of Palestinian civilians are being systematically murdered weekly, and today, a beautiful, conscientious American defender of human rights was killed trying to protect the home of a Palestinian family.
This murder, along with Israel's continued destruction of Palestinian homes must be strongly condemned by the United States and the United Nations and they must insist that Israel abide by international law and UN Resolutions. The International Solidarity Movement also calls upon the United States government to conduct its own independent investigation into this incident and to take responsibility for the manner in which the Israeli government is using the $2.2 billion in military aid that we grant to Israel per year. This money and US-made weaponry is daily being used by the Israeli military to harm innocent civilians. The bulldozer that killed Rachel Corrie was an American-made Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer.
The murder of Rachel Corrie was clearly NOT an accident. Eyewitnesses report that the bulldozer driver was able to see Rachel, and that they were shouting to the driver to stop. The Israeli government and army continue to blame the victims of violence carried out by the Israeli Army for their own suffering. Israel must be accountable for this criminal act and all criminal acts it is carrying out on a daily basis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The International Solidarity Movement greatly mourns the loss of Rachel Corrie and extends its heartfelt condolences to her family and friends. We pledge to continue actively working for the ideals of freedom and justice that Rachel died for.
For photos of the incident, please visit www.palsolidarity.org.www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/WO0303/S00235.htmE-mail this article