Remember Rachel Corrie

"On March 16, 2003, there were two Israeli bulldozers and an armored personnel carrier operating in the area of Hi Salaam in Rafah along the Egyptian border. Each bulldozer had two occupants: an operator and, sitting next to him, a vehicle commander. The onsite commander of the operation watched from the armored personnel carrier nearby. Late in the afternoon, one of the bulldozers headed toward the home of the Nasrallah brothers (a pharmacist and an accountant), their wives, and five young children. The older brother’s family lived on the first floor, the younger brother’s family on the second. Rachel knew the Nasrallahs, had often spent time with them, and sometimes had slept in their home.

The two front rooms of their house are unusable because gunshots have been fired through the walls, so the whole family—three kids and two parents—sleep in the parents' bedroom. I sleep on the floor next to the youngest daughter, Iman, and we all share blankets.
Rachel knew the Nasrallah family was inside their home as the bulldozer approached it. At approximately 5 p.m., she positioned herself between the home and the D-9. From eyewitness accounts, we know that her actions were the same as those taken by other ISM activists in the preceding hours. Bulldozers had often come so close that the dirt they were pushing touched the activists’ feet. On one occasion, a U.S. activist was rolled over into barbed wire; on another, a British activist was pinned against a wall. In both instances, the bulldozer stopped in time. But on this run, with Rachel in its path, the bulldozer did not stop. The ISM activists screamed and waved frantically, but the machine continued ahead. Witnesses state that as the D-9 pushed earth forward, Rachel managed to climb up the mound to avoid being engulfed by it. They report that she was up high enough to see directly into the cab; but as it continued to advance, she lost her footing and was pulled under the blade. The bulldozer continued forward until its cab was over Rachel, then backed up, revealing her crushed body. Rachel was alive when her friends rushed to her. She told them, 'T think my back is broken.” But the Palestinian ambulance driver later told us there was no sign of life when he arrived. She was pronounced dead a short while later in the local hospital.

On March 17, 2003, according to U.S. Department of State press briefings, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised President Bush a "thorough, credible, and transparent” investigation into Rachel’s killing. Months later, the Israeli military stated in conclusions to their investigative report that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) did not see her, that no charges would be brought, and that the case was closed. The official position of the U.S. Department of State is that the Israeli report does not reflect an investigation that was "thorough, credible, and transparent.” This was declared without equivocation in the department’s letter to our family and in testimony before a subcommittee of the U.S. House International Relations Committee.

In her work, Rachel joined Palestinians, Israelis, and inter- nationals from many countries—Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others—who seek to end the Israeli Occupation by nonviolent means. She consulted with both Palestinian municipal water employees and Israeli peace activists to better understand the destruction of the Palestinian water supply. Danny, a reservist in the Israeli military, taught her Hebrew phrases to shout through her megaphone when she encountered bulldozer and tank operators, while Palestinians helped her to safely negotiate the streets of Rafah. When she caught a flu bug, Rachel was cared for by Muslim mothers; and as she died, she was held by Alice, a Jewish ISM activist from the UK.

On March 16, 2003, Rachel stood with seven other internationals from the United States and the United Kingdom nonviolently resisting the demolition of Palestinian homes—mass clearing demolitions that the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem said were in most cases a flagrant breach of international humanitarian law and that Human Rights Watch reported were generally carried out in the absence of military necessity. Rachel and other ISM activists stood in their belief that both Palestinian and Israeli families have the right to be secure in their homes, in their restaurants, and on their buses—and with the conviction that an end to an oppressive, decades-old Israeli Occupation is the best way to achieve that. They stood in their belief that the nonviolent direct action they were sup- porting, if effective, could make Palestinians, as well as Israelis, Americans, and the entire world, more secure." - Excerpt from "Introduction from the Corrie Family" from "Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie" edited by the Corrie Family (2008)

Never forget Rachel Corrie, she died for your sins of enabling, uncaring and unknowing :-(