On March 16, 2003 American Rachel Corrie was killed by a bulldozer operated by the Israeli Defense Forces. Rachel was age 23 and a college student on a study abroad program at the time of her death.
Pro-Palestine Protest to Save Homes
Rachel was trying to stop the Israeli military from demolishing a home in Gaza. The house Rachel was trying to protect from destruction was where she was staying with a family during her stint in Palestine. There were children in the home at the time the bulldozer was approaching it.
The house was apparently often under siege by the Israeli military. The National reports that the children “could not sleep in their own bedroom because of the shooting from the Israeli military into the house at night.”
Was Rachel’s Death Intentional or an Accident?
Did the bulldozer driver even see Rachel, or did he deliberately run her over in a wanton disregard for her life? Israel has video of the incident, but has not released it to public view. Rachel was wearing a bright orange jacket at the time she was allegedly killed by the bulldozer.
The Corrie Family wants Justice for Rachel Corrie
The Corrie family says that Israel has never apologized to them for Rachel’s death, notes the Los Angeles Times. The parents of Rachel Corrie, Craig and Cincy Corrie, have brought a lawsuit for wrongful death of their daughter, Rachel, against the Israeli Defense Forces and Defense Ministry.
Is Israel Blocking Justice and the Truth about Rachel Corrie’s Death?
The Independent reports that “evidence has emerged which appears to implicate Israel’s Gaza commander at the time in an attempt to obstruct the official investigation into her death.” Major-General Doron Almog was head of Israel’s southern command at the time of Ms.Corrie’s death.
He is said to have ordered that Edward Valermov, who was in the D-9 bulldozer with the driver, stop presenting testimony, which is reported in a military police report, notes the Independent. He had already stated that “he had not seen Ms. Corrie before she was wounded…It was only when we moved the D-9 backwards that I saw her.”
Major-General Doron Almog denies any action to obstruct the investigation. This trial will look into his actions and those of the men in the bulldozer.
Israeli troops had tossed grenades, fired shots into the ground, and released tear gas in efforts to disperse the protesters before the bulldozer hit Rachel. Israel claims that Rachel’s actions were irresponsible.
Israel claims that the bulldozer driver did not see Rachel and that the vehicle did not directly hit her. However, witnesses to the incident dispute those claims.
Young Americans and Protests
There will always be idealistic young American college students going abroad to fight injustices. It is a beautiful thing when someone takes action to support their beliefs. However, for the parents of the college student it must be heart rending to know a child has voluntarily gone into a danger zone.
Young Americans who are in the Middle East protesting war or settlements continue to experience unusual treatment by the Israeli soldiers. On May 31, 2010, a NYC college student studying art, Emily Henochowicz, was hit by a tear gas canister shot by the Israeli border police. She lost her left eye due to the incident.
She was participating in a protest over Israel’s Gaza blockade. An investigation is underway to determine if the shot was aimed directly at Emily or if it bounced off a surface before hitting her.
It is brave of anyone to protest against a military force. Kudos to Rachel and Emily for taking a stand for something they believed in. Let’s hope the truth comes out in both of these cases and that justice is achieved.
Reading List about Rachel Corrie
For a reading list of articles about the Rachel Corrie incident go HERE.
Photo of Rachel Corrie at the Protest
To see a picture of Rachel in front of the bulldozer go HERE.
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice
To go to the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice go HERE.