Monday, August 27, 2012

Will Israeli Verdict In Death Of Rachel Corrie Address Key Questions?

"It's possible they [the protesters] were not as disciplined as we would have liked," Thom Saffold, a founder and organizer of the International Solidarity Movement, said in a telephone interview from the group's base in Ann Arbor, Mich. "But we're like a peace army. Generals send young men and women off to operations, and some die." [emphasis added]
Washington Post, American Is Killed By Israeli Bulldozer, March 17, 2003

Tomorrow, the verdict will be delivered in Israel in in the civil court case brought by the parents of Rachel Corrie, in the death of their daughter. Not on trial is the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) that recklessly sent Corrie, along with others, into dangerous situations.

The following is an excerpt from a September 2010 post on I*Consult, Rachel Corrie Trial Restarts. Key Questions Need Repeating. Please see that post for the accompanying maps.

Indeed, those key questions still need repeating -- and answering:

  1. Where did the Rachel Corrie bulldozer incident take place?

    Few people recall that the IDF's ground-clearing operation was carried out only 50 meters from the Egyptian border -- near the infamous Philadelphi road. [See map and diagram. All graphic material is from IDF sources.] Up until Corrie's death, the IDF had uncovered more than 40 tunnels from Egypt used to smuggle weapons and terrorists into Gaza. In recent years, after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the number of tunnels approached 1,000.

    Why was the ISM trying to block the bulldozers seven years ago? Presumably, they were attempting to protect Hamas' tunnels.

  2. Couldn't the bulldozer driver see or hear Corrie?

    The noise generated by the bulldozer is deafening, and Corrie had a megaphone only at an earlier confrontation with the Israel Defense Forces. It was not with her the afternoon she died.

    The field of vision on the armored bulldozer is exceptionally limited (as the chart on the left indicates), and the driver could not see her.

    Corrie's comrades claim that she was standing in front of the bulldozer -- and she was not -- but even if she were, the driver's line of vision is limited as the diagram shows.

    The fact is, witnesses at the time of the incident reported that Corrie was sitting. 

    “When the bulldozer approached a house today,” wrote the New York Times, “Ms. Corrie, who was wearing a bright orange jacket, dropped to her knees.”

    “The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop as it went,” an ISM friend stated in 2003. “She knelt there, she did not move.” Another ISM colleague related: “She did not ‘trip and fall’ in front of the bulldozer. She sat down in front of it, well in advance.‎“ [Emphasis added.]

  3. Was there a deliberate attempt by the IDF to kill Corrie, as her parents claim?

    Indeed there was a plan to escalate the confrontation between the bulldozers and the "peace activists." But it was the ISM members who decided to escalate, as described by Newsweek writer Joshua Hammer in a lengthy article in Mother Jones. Why? One possible reason was because of the sexual tension that was hurting their relations with the local Palestinians.

    "An anonymous letter was circulating," Hammer reported, "which referred to Corrie and the other expatriate women in Rafah as 'nasty foreign bitches' whom 'our Palestinian young men are following around.' That morning [of Corrie’s death], the ISM team tried to devise a strategy to counteract the letter’s effects. 'We all had a feeling that our role was too passive,' said one ISM member. 'We talked about how to engage the Israeli military.' That morning, team members made a number of proposals that seemed designed only to aggravate the problem. 'The idea was to more directly challenge the Israeli military dominance using our international status,' said the ISMer."

  4. But why was Corrie singled out?

    She wasn't. At least two ISMers had to be pulled out from under the bulldozers' blades after they started acting in accordance with their more aggressive policy. Newsweek’s Hammer reported on “Jenny’s” close call: "An Irish peace activist named Jenny was nearly run down by a D9. 'The bulldozer’s coming, the earth is burying my feet, my legs, I’ve got nowhere to run, and I thought, ‘This is out of control,’ she told me. 'Another activist pulled me up and out of the way at the last minute.'”

  5. Does anyone believe this story that the ISMers were suicidal?

    They should believe that the International Solidarity Movement is homicidal. The ISM has a long record of putting its members, particularly young Western women, into harm's way. Some are unbelievably naive and just plain dumb. Like Corrie, they were encouraged to confront the Israel Defense Forces. Not surprisingly, some were injured and killed:

    • On 2 April 2002, Australian Kate Edwards was shot and wounded in Beit Jala near Jerusalem from where Palestinians were firing on the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo. She and other volunteers marched on Israeli lines to protect their Palestinian friends. The clearly logic-challenged. Edwards complained, "I never thought for a moment that they would fire live ammunition at us."

    • In April 2002, Irish ISM member Caomhe Butterly served as a human shield in Yasir Arafat's compound in Ramallah during the intifada. Later, on November 22, 2002, she inserted herself as a human shield again and was wounded during an IDF operation in Jenin. One of her admirers described how Butterly"would walk up to a tank and place her hand over the muzzle." Butterly was an organizer and spokesperson aboard the 2010 Gaza flotilla.

    • April 13, 2003, ISM member Thomas Hurndall was shot and killed when he challenged an Israeli tank force in Gaza.

    • On April 24, 2010 Bianca Zammit, a Maltese national, joined a group of Palestinians who charged the security fence between Gaza and Israel. That area of the fence has often seen terrorist attacks. Zammit was shot through the thigh by a sniper, but was back to her comrades an hour later (pictured, right).

    • On May 31, 2010, Emily Henochowicz, an American Jewish ISMer, lost her eye after she was hit by a tear gas grenade that ricocheted off a highway divider during a violent demonstration near Qalandia in the West Bank. She had been a regular at Palestinian demonstrations at Sheikh Jarrah, Bilin, Nilin and Nabi Saleh. is clear that the International Solidarity Movement should be the one on trial for reckless endangerment. Yet, when young Western women are injured, arrested or killed, the media pays attention.  Maybe Rachel Corrie wasn't so dumb, after all. She wrote to her mother about the possibility of an American activist’s death as a propaganda tool: "
You just can’t imagine it unless you see it, and even then you are always well aware that your experience is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli Army would face if they shot an unarmed U.S. citizen."
Read the whole thing.

Tomorrow we find out if the truth matters.

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