Recalling a Young American’s Sacrifice

Nine years ago, as President George W. Bush and the neocons prepared to invade Iraq, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American woman concerned about the region’s deepening violence, was in Gaza watching Palestinian homes being destroyed – and put her body in the way, her parents Cindy and Craig Corrie recall on the anniversary.

By Cindy and Craig Corrie

It has been nine years since our daughter Rachel was crushed to death under an Israeli-driven, U.S.-funded-and-built Caterpillar D9 bulldozer in Gaza.

In March 2003, the news was full of talk of war with Iraq – a preemptive war to protect the West, particularly the U.S. and Israel, from the weapons of mass destruction then alleged to have been amassed by Saddam Hussein.

Rachel Corrie

When Rachel traveled to Gaza that year, the world was not watching. According to Human Rights Watch, from September 2000 until September 2004, 1,600 Palestinian homes in the city of Rafah were destroyed by the Israeli military as it occupied the Gaza Strip. One-tenth of the population lost their homes.

Rachel chose to be in Gaza when the ground attack against Iraq broke out. She feared an escalation of the violence and a tightening of the isolation against people there, as the world looked to the northeast and watched for the expected carnage in Iraq.

In 2003, Rachel wrote: “I went to a rally a few days ago in Khan Younis in solidarity with the people of Iraq. Many analogies were made about the continuing suffering of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation and the upcoming occupation of Iraq by the United States – not the war itself – but the certain aftermath of the war.

“If people aren’t already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope they will start.”

Now, in 2012, we listen to similar news – calls for bombing Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. The preemptive war has already begun with the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.

Our government tells us sanctions against Iran will pressure their government to abandon any program to develop these weapons, but experience tells us sanctions only increase the defensiveness of repressive regimes and tighten their control over their populations.

The news from our politicians is discouraging and even frightening, but in the meeting places and streets in our communities, we are making the kind of change that Rachel envisioned.

It is happening in Olympia, Washington, with continuing support for the Olympia Food Co-op’s boycott of Israeli products until the rights of Palestinians are addressed.

Throughout Puget Sound this week, we have successfully challenged efforts by the Israeli government to use members of the Israeli gay community to distract from the continuing oppression of Palestinian people.

Churches in our region are conversing about divestment from corporations like Caterpillar Inc. for their refusal to address their continuing participation in human rights abuses and the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

In 2002, Rachel wrote, “I think it’s important for people who oppose war and repression to speak about who we are as a community in addition to speaking about war and racism and injustice. We are not outside. I think it’s important that human rights and resistance to oppression be included in the way we define ourselves as a community.”

As the threat of war with Iran, the disintegration of the situation in Afghanistan, and the bombing of Gaza continue, the work we are all doing in our hometowns at the grassroots level is powerful and critical. Today, as we remember Rachel’s stand nine years ago, we encourage our friends across the country and world to strengthen your own communities, educate, educate, educate, support each other in taking action, and walk with peace, love, and forgiveness in your hearts as you work for change.

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14 comments on “Recalling a Young American’s Sacrifice

  1. Rachel should inspire the best in all of us.

  2. Rachel was an American hero if there ever was one. Thank you for continuing the fight. All of this affects all humans. Peace to you and yours
    Jack

  3. Very often over the last nine years, i have thought of Rachel and her love and courage for taking on the most evil people in world history. What Rachel did will never be forgotten by those with a clean heart and an objective mind!
    This poor girl thought being an American, she would be immune to the barbaric actions of the Israeli’s. Unfortunately, the U.S. has been taken over by these war mongering Zionists and anything that will infringe on their world domination (New Wolrd Order) agenda will be dealt with brutally as was in poor Rachel’s case. May the lovely child be embraced in God’s Love for ever!

  4. As sure as her parents must want to feel that their daughter did not waste her short life, the fact remains that little Rachel Corrie was simply a pawn in life and another in death for terrorists and Jew haters.

    There is a very established connection between Rachel’s International Solidarity Movement and the terror bombing and attacks against civilians that her handlers in the Palestinian terror groups perpetrated.

    Also after extensive investigation and all kinds of court time, it was proven that Rachel was accidentally run over by a bull dozer, as she was attempting to protect weapon smuggling tunnels.

    If these were the values that her parents encouraged, then I blame them for her death.

    • Hillary on said:

      Rachel Corrie was deliberately murdered in order to intimidate the activists who were exposing Israeli terror in the occupied territories.

      Awarded 3 Theatregoers Choice Awards in London—Best New Play, Best Solo Performance and Best Director ,”My Name Is Rachel Corrie” the play on Rachel Corrie was canceled in New York.

      “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” is a solo show that uses a script based on the journals and e-mail correspondence of the American student in the months before she was killed. The script was produced by the noted British actor Alan Rickman and journalist Katharine Viner. The play, directed by Rickman, was staged at London’s Royal Court Theater to great acclaim.

      Letter from playwrights Gillian Slovo, Harold Pinter, Stephen Fry and 18 others expresses dismay at decision by New York Theater Workshop to cancel or postpone production of play My Name Is Rachel Corrie.

      Alas the Zionist lobby censored the play and caused its cancellation.

    • Wajdelota on said:

      The claim that “Rachel was accidentally run over by a bulldozer” is patently false, as is the groundless accusation of her involvement in smuggling. All indications are that this was no accident; never has evidence been offered that she was aiding smugglers.

      It is clear that the Israeli government has not acted in good faith in the investigation of Rachel Corrie’s death.

      Prior to the trial in which Ms. Corrie’s parents brought suit against the state of Israel for the wrongful death of their daughter, official reports by Israeli authorities were repeatedly self-contradictory. One of these claims held (contrary to eye-witnesses of the event and photos taken immediately after the bulldozer withdrew) that the bulldozer was not engaged in demolishing homes at all, but only in “routine leveling and debris clearing,” and that Ms. Corrie “was not run over by the bulldozer.” The same report, however, adds that she was possibly “in a blind spot for the bulldozer operators,” who did not see that she could be harmed. Another report holds that Ms. Corrie “was struck by dirt and a slab of concrete resulting in her death.” Nothing in the report clarifies where the dirt and concrete slab came from.

      It is clear also that during preparations for the trial, the interrogation of the driver of the bulldozer with which Ms. Corrie was killed was interrupted purposely by an officer of the Israeli Defense Force in order to block the full truth from emerging. The following is from the Israeli daily HAARETZ:

      “It’s now 18:12. Maj (res.) K entered the interrogation room and told the witness he must not say anything or write anything, by a direct order from GOC Southern Command. I confirm this occurred and I sign this in my hand,” the officer wrote, adding his signature. There the interrogation concluded.

      See HAARETZ, “Rachel Corrie killed by IDF bulldozer in 2003; Ex-GOC Southern Command to Haaretz: I refuse to comment.”
      http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/did-idf-general-cut-short-probe-into-u-s-activist-corrie-s-death-1.266660

      These wavering, contradictory reports and this intentional blocking of a witness’s testimony leave no doubt that the state of Israel has not acted in good faith in the investigation of Ms. Corrie’s death. These hollow subterfuges are the offered by Israel in the hope of avoiding responsibility for the murder of an innocent, nonviolent, unarmed young woman. Her killing was an integral part of Israeli authorities’ program of ethnic cleansing, in which the demolition of Palestinians’ homes is only one element.

      At a memorial service for Ms. Corrie a few days following her murder, the Israeli Defense force sent an armored personnel carrier to disrupt the gathered mourners by firing teargas canisters into their midst. This unnecessary, arbitrary and hateful action shows the contempt for human rights and for human feelings that have become all too common in Israel.

  5. Wajdelota on said:

    My wife and I were honored to meet you, the parents of Rachel Corrie, when you spoke several years ago at Lehigh University.
    I’m deeply grateful for Rachel Corrie’s life, her courage, her example of faithful, generous devotion — unto death. I will never forget her.
    Despite all the lies and the blind, vicious attacks, Rachel will continue to inspire people of our nation and around the world as a strong and persistent champion of peace, a member of the long, worldwide tradition of nonviolent action for peace and justice, which cannot be defeated.
    I’m grateful as well for your continued witness as you persistently keep alive this priceless legacy that your daughter has given us.
    The struggle continues. La lucha continua. Walka trwa.

  6. Tyrone B on said:

    As a Racial Minority in the United States, I find it shocking that so many (undoubtedly) White Folks (worst of the Hypocrites) are condemning Iran, Syria, Russia, etc., so self-righteously, but without acknowledging their own Cruel, and Inhumane history. Tens of Millions of Blacks and Native Americans (the so called “Red Indians”) were systematically Worked to Death or Massacred for over 400 years in the USA for Greed and Profit.

    Even now in the 21st century (each year) Millions of Black and Hispanic young men are Illegally Racially Profiled and Hundreds are Brutally Murdered in the USA by (predominantly) White Police/Sheriff/Troopers officers and the “Internal Affairs Divisions – IAD” of the respective departments cover-up the Racist-Crimes with little or no punishment for the officer(s) (most of the time).

    So before you Hypocrites start shouting words like anti-Semite, Holocaust-denier, etc., talk about how White Americans owe American Minorities (Blacks and Native Americans in Particular) more than a Trillion Dollars in Reparations for 400+ Years of Crimes against Humanity. And just because Obama is now President (after 230+ years of rule by White, Male Presidents), it doesn’t rule out the “Worst-Ever” Crime against Humanity– the “Black Holocaust.”

    And since you Whites value Women’s Rights so much, Tell Me: How come our Country (USA) has never elected a Female President or Vice-President yet? After all, Pakistan (Muslim Country) and India (Hindu Country) have had Presidents and Prime-Ministers who were Women. Where is your Self-Righteous “moral compass” when you can’t vote a Female leader into power in over 230 years, but have the gall to condemn other foreign countries for violating women’s rights.

    First attend to the “Dirt at Home” (skeletons in the closet) before you start pointing fingers at Foreign Countries you Fake-Ass Hypocrites and Sell-Outs.

    • ACT I on said:

      Like many in this country, my ancestors came over from Europe (in the 1850s), acquired land, and then worked as farmers. We have no reason to feel responsibility for those whites who oppressed blacks and others, yet many of us would like to do what we can for those who are less fortunate (which is not to say that we are anything but lower-middle class). I have worked with blacks, hispanics, asians, etc., and done so amicably. Indeed, it is such people who fit in with my plans.

      I have long been convinced that “global warming” represents a grave threat to our species, and have had my conviction intensified through the writings of James Lovelock. With him, I believe that billions of people will die prematurely before the century is out, that we have entered a period of “runaway” (so that global warming cannot now be halted), and that, therefore, the best chance for survival lies with efforts to adapt to the changes that will be inevitably occurring. Ironically, those in our society with the greatest ability to adapt are precisely those who now live rather marginal lives (members of minorities being especially well-represented in this group). Thus, it is such people who could form the vanguard in developing a New Order within the shell of the existing Rotten Order–and I intend to do what I can to further that process. Jesus promised that the first would be last and the last first, and this prediction may very well come true! If not in my lifetime, then that of my children’s.

  7. Those who sacrifice their lives for a higher cause–such as Jesus and Rachel–will never be forgotten. Your daughter’s life was not lived in vain!

  8. Judah The Lion on said:

    Rachel Corrie entered Gaza’s war zone where IDF counterterrorism operations were trying to stop the suicide bombers and mass murder of Israelis. By the time of Rachel’s death in March 2003, 950 Israelis had been killed and thousands wounded in over 100 suicide terrorist attacks. Less than two weeks before her death, a suicide bomber blew up a bus in Haifa, killing 17 Israelis and wounding 53.

    My Name Is Rachel Corrie depicts innocent, unprovoked residents of Gaza whose houses were arbitrarily destroyed by Israeli bulldozers. In fact, the houses targeted by the anti-terrorist efforts were those of key terrorist leaders, or that were used to construct and conceal weapons-smuggling tunnels.

    Israel’s anti-terrorism efforts were aimed at stopping the flow of weapons and explosives from Egypt into Gaza, where they would be used for suicide bombings and mass killings of Israeli men, women and children. In 2002, the IDF uncovered and demolished 33 tunnels. In 2003, the year Rachel was in Gaza, Israel demolished an additional 20 weapons-smuggling tunnels. Rachel was killed while trying to prevent the destruction of one of these tunnels. Had she been successful, the effect would have been to facilitate terrorism and the enable the murder of innocent Israeli civilians.

    ISM Ties to Violent Groups

    Although the ISM claims to be a non-violent group, some of its volunteers recognize violence as a legitimate means of achieving Palestinian goals. In an article in the Palestinian Chronicle in 2002, ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf wrote: “We accept that Palestinians have a right to resist with arms, as they are an occupied people upon whom force and violence is being used.” Palestinian resistance, they say, “must take on a variety of characteristics – both nonviolent and violent.”

    The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned that ISM activity “at times” is “under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations.” For example:

    Two British suicide bombers met with ISM members before blowing up a popular bar in Tel Aviv near the U.S. embassy in April 2003. The ISM claimed that the only contact it had with the suicide bombers “was a brief social encounter” at an ISM apartment in Rafah. However, five days before the Tel Aviv bombing, the bombers attended a memorial service in Rafah for ISM volunteer Rachel Corrie, an American college student crushed to death in 2003 while trying to block demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza by an Israeli army bulldozer (the Israeli Army’s investigation of the Corrie death concluded that the soldiers operating the bulldozer had no intention of harming her).

    In March 2003, Israeli troops raided the ISM’s West Bank offices in Jenin and captured a suspected member of the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad. The Israeli army identified Shadi Suqiyeh, who was hiding in the ISM office, as a senior member of Islamic Jihad who had planned a number of foiled attacks on Israelis. A statement released by the ISM soon after the incident explained that Suqiyeh was brought into the apartment by an ISM volunteer “concerned about his welfare” because “under Israeli military curfew, Palestinians spotted in the streets are shot on sight.”

    More ties to hard-line Palestinian groups were revealed three months later, when ISM issued a press release inviting activists to “join the ISM, the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces and the Apartheid Wall Defense Committee…to block construction of the apartheid wall” during the Freedom Summer 2003 campaign. The Palestinian National and Islamic Forces is a group made up of members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the hard-edged wing of Arafat’s Fatah organization.

    The publication of Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie adds yet another item to the growing body of Corrie memorabilia.

    The twenty-three-year-old American from Olympia, Washington, died in Gaza in March 2003 when, as a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), she tried to obstruct an IDF bulldozer that, according to the IDF, was destroying rocket launchers in the overgrown brush near a Palestinian home.

    An official Israeli investigation concluded that her death was an accident. The driver, in the 10 foot-high bulldozer with its limited visual field, could not see Corrie, who was hidden by a mound of dirt or standing in a trench in the military security zone. The Israeli autopsy report determined that she had been killed by a blow to the head from debris probably dislodged by the bulldozer.

    However, the ISM and other activists insisted the driver had seen Corrie, and intentionally killed her. They released two photographs for evidence. The first showed Corrie standing in full view of the bulldozer, shouting at the driver through a bullhorn she was holding. In the second photo, she lay crumpled on the ground in front of the bulldozer. Within hours of the photos’ release, observers noticed from the position of the sun that the two photos had been taken hours apart, and that the bulldozer in the first picture was not the same as the one in the second. Other questions surrounded her death: had she died on the spot, in the ambulance or in the hospital emergency room; did the Gazan doctor do all he could to save her?

    Despite these questions, the ISM and other anti-Israel activists seized upon Rachel’s death for public relations purposes. The young American instantly became their poster child, an alleged symbol of youthful idealism, Palestinian victimization, and Israeli brutality. As a Hamas activist said at Rachel’s funeral, “‘Her death serves me more than it served her…Her death will bring more attention than the other 2,000 martyrs.’….” Corrie was the first American to be hailed as a Palestinian martyr. It is not surprising that these activists refuse to even entertain the possibility that her death was an accident. If it were, she would no longer be a useful symbol for indicting Israel’s self-defense measures and its very right to exist.

    The efforts to elevate Rachel into a martyred idealist and artist began immediately, followed shortly by efforts to portray her as a new Anne Frank. Today there are Rachel Corrie memorial websites, scholarship funds, and events commemorating the anniversary of her death. More well-known is the controversial play based on her diaries, My Name is Rachel Corrie, which had runs in London, Seattle, New York and other U.S. cities. Her parents, who had never shown interest in the Middle East conflict, are now regulars on the international anti-Israel lecture circuit. This spring, they appeared at several southern California anti-Zionism week events, which are mounted annually by campus Muslim Student Associations. Corrie has also become the cause celebre for divest-from-Israel campaigns whose new strategy is to focus on the Caterpillar Corporation, primarily because a Caterpillar bulldozer was involved in her death. The family and other Palestinians brought a suit against Caterpillar in U.S. federal court for its complicity in Israel’s “inhumane actions.” The court dismissed the suit in July 2007 for being a political issue outside the court’s jurisdiction.

    Now yet another item has been added to the Rachel Corrie industry: the book, Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie edited by her family with an introduction by her father, and released in 2008.

    “She was, first and last, a writer and artist,” her father writes in the introduction, and her family evidently wanted to give her, posthumously, the writing career she sought. According to her father, “In offering Rachel’s writing to the public, our family helps her complete the journey to become a published author.”

    Her depiction of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and of Gaza in the journals seems almost quaint, an echo of Palestinian propaganda from the days before Israel’s disengagement, the brutal Hamas coup, and surfacing reports that Hamas charges a $3,000 tax on owners of Gaza’s 150 tunnels — the very kinds of tunnels Rachel was trying to protect. Historians may find the Journals useful for documenting the stages of the propaganda war against Israel.

    The Journals are of interest primarily because they provide insight into how a young American girl ended up in Gaza with the ISM, trying to protect terrorist operations and demonizing Israel, about how anti-Israel propaganda and the ISM work, and about who or what actually killed Rachel Corrie.

    Little in her diaries and writings suggested her future activities. She had what comes across as an almost idyllic childhood in a semi-rural area of Olympia, with an older sister and brother and doting, modestly middle class parents who liked camping and the out-of-doors, and who encouraged her writing, drawing and ballet, and seemed to help cultivate her belief that she had a “special potential.” Raised in a nurturing home and apparently nurturing schools, she had little reason to doubt herself or doubt that the “fire in my belly” was a sign of artistic drive and of achievements to come.

    Her more rebellious teen and college years were filled with intermittent depression, struggles with her mother, neo-beat activities, all-night drug and alcohol parties, a job on the graveyard shift of a mental health service for low-income clients, cigarette smoking in the early dawn streets with the town’s derelicts after her shift, and bouts of agoraphobia.

    The diaries demonstrate little introspection. Rachel Corrie rarely questioned herself, her opinions, or her motives. In her writings, she attempted no human portraits, except very brief ones of her first love, Colin, and even these are about how he reacts to her. Hers is a hermetic world, and her idealism was similarly focused inward — an inchoate, vague passion that fastened on a variety of the progressive causes espoused by her family, home town, and college, Evergreen.

    All this made Rachel ripe fodder for the ISM. This Palestinian-led organization callously recruited idealistic, naïve “internationals” to break Israeli law, violate IDF security zones, indoctrinate them with its peculiar version of the conflict, and to groom them as future speakers for its anti-Israel cause. While soothing volunteers by insisting that ISM engaged only in non-violent resistance, the organization nonetheless defended and abetted Palestinian violence (its website affirmed the “right to armed resistance against occupation”) and was committed to dismantling Israel’s counter-terrorism measures which were intended to prevent the mass murder of Israelis.

    Paradoxically, the ISM described the Territories as a war zone where Israel wantonly killed Palestinians, but assured volunteers that they would not be harmed because of their “international white-person privilege,” in the words of the diaries, and that the greatest risk they faced was “arrest and deportation even though none of us have done anything illegal.The ISM was offering tantalizing heroism: the chance to stand up against an unjust military power as a human shield with any personal danger neutralized by a “white person privilege” as protective as a superhero’s invisible shield.

    Despite these reassurances, the ISM’s own website admitted that if an “international” was harmed, the resulting media attention would help its cause. The ISM intentionally exploited the idealism of young foreigners, misled them into believing violating Israeli law and military security was not illegal, and intentionally put them in extremely dangerous situations.

    The second culprit should be Corrie’s school, the progressive EvergreenCollege, which irresponsibly encouraged her participation with ISM. Corrie wrote that the course that most affected her was “Local Knowledge,” whose primary purpose was to get students involved in community activism for progressive causes. The class focused on the “links between historic repression, racism, propaganda campaigns and xenophobia to our present situation.” She concluded that “it’s important that human rights and resistance to oppression be included in the way we define ourselves as a community.” Maybe it was in this class, too, that she learned that the United States is “perhaps one of the most racist countries in the world.”

    She had had no particular interest in the Middle East or knowledge about it, but spurred by the class, she began attending Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace (OMPJ) meetings since anti-Israel activism was one of the smorgasbord of causes. There she uncritically absorbed OMPJ’s ideology and learned about “people offering themselves as human shields in Palestine,” and heard ISM activists talk about their “Freedom Summer” in Palestine in September 2002. She was inspired: “They say we are invited there. I can’t believe this can be true. Even me?”

    She eagerly signed up, and her indoctrination continued. She began ISM training and reading ISM recommended tracts about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and staple anti-Israel narratives from Amira Hass, Sarah Roy, Noam Chomsky, Al-Ahram Weekly, and journalist Graham Usher. The three Evergreen faculty and staff members she consulted included Simona Sharoni, an Israeli who co-founded Women in Black. They did not try to dissuade her from going.

    There is an air of unreality in all of this. Neither Corrie, nor the faculty, nor the ISM activists ever acknowledged she would be entering a war zone. Suicide bombing in Israel had reached a peak in early 2002, and Israel had launched Operation Defensive Shield to wipe out the terrorist networks in late March and early April. The violent conflict was still intense when Rachel chose to go to “meet the people who are on the other end of the portion of my tax money that goes to fund the U.S. and other militaries”—and to “get the learning that comes from traveling while hopefully having my trip have some use to the people I am going to see.” No one warned her that entering a war zone was not just an interesting travel experience.

    She was oblivious to the larger context of the conflict and to her surroundings, and her apparent lack of curiosity about them, is breathtaking. There is not a word in the journals about the terrorist campaign unleashed on Israel in September 2000, not a word that reveals that Gaza, especially Rafah (where Corrie stayed) was a hotbed of terrorism and arms smuggling. She apparently never watched the videos of suicide bombers’ last statements, or questioned the increasing radicalization of Palestinian society. Rachel never mentions the Palestinian Authority or Yasser Arafat, and gives no inkling of Gaza as a clan-based society with competing clans vying for power. There is no sense that she tried to understand or was even aware of the society in which she now lived.

    Nor did she make any effort to analyze Israel’s predicament. Her radical sources convinced her that Sharon’s “fingerprints” were on Palestinian suicide bombings: Sharon’s policy is “assassination-during-peace-negotiations/suicide attack within the green line/land grab strategy, which is working well now to create settlements all over the OccupiedTerritories….” – and again–“Sharon has I think pretty much admitted that suicide bombings are a way of getting more land under the guise of security.”

    She continually imposed her own grid of beliefs to interpret facts on the ground. She defended terrorism when she acknowledged it existed, claiming that “international law…recognizes the right of people to legitimate armed struggle.” If people in her hometown of Olympia faced the dire conditions Gaza faced, she rhetorically asked her mother, don’t you think “we might try to use somewhat violent means to protect the edge of the greenhouses, to protect whatever fragments remained?” Unless her family excluded them from the published journals, she also made no mention of Israeli terror victims. Instead, she claimed that “the vast majority of Palestinians right now, as far as I can tell, are engaging in Gandhian non-violent resistance” — a counterfactual observation that led Times of London reviewer Clive Davis to write that “Even the late Yassir Arafat might have blushed at that one.”

    Finally, what is most curious about Corrie’s Journals is that hard as she tried to impose the ISM narrative on what she saw, her reports constantly contradicted this narrative, though she didn’t recognize the contradictions.

    She wrote that decades of occupation had oppressed Palestinians, yet Gazans kept saying that their difficult situation was due to the Intifada and to Israel’s subsequent counterterrorism measures, not to a decades-old occupation. One Gazan said, “There was a peaceful time in the late seventies and early eighties…things were better before Sharon”—that is, before Sharon became Prime Minister in 2001. (253) Another told her: “Before—no tanks, no bulldozers, no gunshots. Quiet….No noise. After Intifada, daily. Gunshots daily.”

    She even confirmed that conditions in Gaza worsened only with the Intifada. She wrote that 60,000 people from Rafah had worked in Israel in 2001, but that the number had dropped to 600 by 2003. But she never drew the logical conclusion that her Gazan informants kept repeating—the terrorist campaign had forced Israel to take defensive measures.

    Similarly, Corrie demonized the Israeli soldiers, but they hardly appear demonic. When she and other internationals stand in front of the tanks, the soldiers “open their weird tank lids and wave at us.” The Israeli district command officer worked to “ensure the safety of Palestinian workers.”

    Nor, to her surprise, were Palestinians afraid of the soldiers. When a Gazan runs from his home with his two children after ISM mistakenly informed him that his house was to be demolished, she “was terrified to think that this man felt it was less of a risk to walk out in view of the tanks with his kids than to stay in his house.” She tried to interpose herself between him and the tanks, yet he clearly did not need her protection. Children play in full view of the tanks, apparently unafraid. (She was stunned to find that despite tanks and bulldozers passing by, “all of these people are genuinely cheerful”—even though this did not fit into her preconceived notions. When IDF soldiers entered a house to position themselves on the roof, no one was bothered or harassed. The children just watched cartoons on TV.

    Indeed, despite Israel’s counterterrorism measures, Palestinians were free to carry on their usual activities and even anti-Israel rallies. While she was there, Eid celebrations were held, and so was the anti-Israel, anti-US rally where Rachel burned a paper replica of the American flag. Such rallies were held even though, according to Corrie, a former IDF commander expressed concern that “terrorists would sneak into our ‘political protest’ and attack settlements.”

    While she claimed that the IDF bulldozed homes even though families were still inside, she also admitted (on page 311) that most of the homes were empty during these IDF operations. While she and other internationals denounced the checkpoints, they nonetheless described them as similar to the security checks at international airports.

    Oddly, too, while Rachel condemned various IDF actions that she witnessed, she inadvertently revealed that they were justified. When she and other ISM internationals ran to retrieve the body of a “martyr,” she did note that the terrorist group, DFLP, had sent him on his mission to attack soldiers. While she bemoaned the IDF’s destruction of Gazan homes, she admitted that most were located near tunnels—the arms smuggling tunnels the IDF was trying to destroy—or just along the border, precisely where Israel was trying to create a buffer zone to prevent more arms smuggling. She blamed the IDF for blowing up a Palestinian greenhouse, even while she acknowledged that someone from the “Palestinian resistance” had planted an explosive there and the IDF was merely defusing it.

    “The surreal thing is that we are safe” here, she wrote. More surreal is the fact that Rachel Corrie, indoctrinated by the ISM, her college, and suspect sources, imposed her preconceived notions on a situation that did not match those preconceptions. Tragically, anti-Israel activists are exploiting her accidental death to promote this surreal narrative.

    The greater tragedy is that her parents are doing the same. Their lack of curiosity about the ISM and their wholesale acceptance of its propaganda are startling, especially given that the ISM put their daughter in danger. Nor has evidence that the ISM activists sheltered known suicide bombers and terrorists, and was barred from entering Israel, dampened their defense of the organization. Instead of using their bitter experience as a warning to parents of other would-be ISM recruits, they are using their position as bereaved parents to win sympathy for the group most responsible for their daughter’s death. (Roberta P. Seid Commentary Magazine)

  9. I ask the question of WHY would Palestinians want to take such extreme action
    as killing themselves? IF their existence was so inhibited and restrictive for
    basic human needs, would that make self-demolition an expression of desperation?
    We are not blind, the Israelis are bullies with anyone near them. Their own
    citizens truly care for their neighbors.

    I stand with Rachel Corrie in defiance of the inhumanity dealt out to neighboring countries. Rachel Corrie is a heroine and her memory
    should never be tarnished by trumped up testimony.

  10. Judah the Lion on said:

    another rose colored glasses lover of arab terrorism

  11. Judah The Lion on said:

    Here’s some wonderful arab antisemitism:

    http://www.adl.org/main_Arab_World/default.htm