Today, the Haifa district court ruled that the death of Rachel Corrie was an unfortunate accident. I respectfully disagree with the verdict. While I do not blame the bulldozer operator for the tragedy, I do blame the people who willingly and knowingly put Rachel Corrie and other civilians into a military zone during the intifada.
Cindy Corrie said today “As a family, we’ve had to push for answers, accountability and justice,” but she seems to have neglected one party. The International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the organization who trained Corrie and facilitated her entry into Rafah, has blood on its hands. They admitted that “the level of risk dramatically increased in the April ISM campaign with internationals on the receiving end of shrapnel, live fire over their heads, tear-gassing, rubber bullets, sound bombs, beatings, interrogations, arrests and deportations. Without sounding crass, the benefits were many and obvious.” In other words, ISM knew that they were putting people at risk and saw it as a “benefit.” Should anyone be shocked that a year later, Rachel Corrie paid the price for the stupidity of sending civilians into a war zone?
Bill Van Esveld of Human Rights Watch, may lament that “the idea that there can be no fault for killing civilians in a combat operation flatly contradicts Israel’s international legal obligations to spare civilians from harm during armed conflict, and to credibly investigate and punish violations by its forces,” but he neglects to mention that this obligation is for civilians who are unwillingly caught in the crossfire, not those who come to stand in the crossfire. Shame on ISM for putting them there!
This is not about Palestinian rights. It is about making Israel look bad. In May of 2003, two months after Rachel’s death, ISM spokesman Raphael Cohen defined the “occupation” as “the Zionist presence in Palestine.” Raphael Cohen and ISM shamefully used Rachel’s death to promote their cause while ignoring the Palestinians and Israelis dying in combat at the same time.
What is more sickening is that the International Solidarity Movement is a 501c3 organization of charity, even though it preaches violence and provides assistance to terrorists. As co-leaders Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro said in an interview in the Palestine Chronicle “The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics – both nonviolent and violent. …No other successful nonviolent movement was able to achieve what it did without a concurrent violent movement.”
So why haven’t the Corries sued ISM? Why haven’t they demanded that ISM’s charitable classification be revoked until they actually behave like a charity, without advocating violence? It may be easy to follow the romantic narrative of a beautiful young volunteer, laying her life down for a cause. The Corries want to believe that Israel is at fault, because otherwise they would have to admit that their daughter willingly and naively put herself between a bulldozer in a war zone, and therefore, put herself in harm’s way to save a house.
Rachel Corrie deserves justice; she deserves to have the organization that used her life and death as a public relations piece in order to better demonize Israel. If the Corries want justice and accountability, the International Solidarity Movement has a lot to answer for.