On January 19, 2013, Cindy and Craig Corrie were interviewed by Abby Martin of “Breaking the Set” on RT-TV about their lawsuit seeking justice for Rachel’s death, the ongoing Palestinian struggle, and activism. Below is the full video of the interview:
THE SEATTLE TIMES – by Cindy Corrie
Special to the Times: Op-Ed
Last month, in a deeply disturbing ruling, an Israeli court dismissed the civil lawsuit brought by my family against the state of Israel for the wrongful death of my daughter Rachel Corrie.
Born and raised in Olympia, Rachel was a human rights defender and peace activist killed in 2003 by an armored Israeli military bulldozer as she stood for hours, visibly and nonviolently protesting the Israeli government’s policy of civilian home demolitions in Rafah, Gaza.
The home Rachel and her friends from the International Solidarity Movement defended was eventually demolished with hundreds more in mass-clearing operations to create a buffer along Gaza’s southern border.
Our lawsuit was not a solution, but rather a symptom of a broken system of accountability within Israel and our own U.S. Government. Despite a promise from Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for a “thorough, credible, and transparent” investigation and repeated calls from the highest levels of our government for such an investigation to occur, there was no diplomatic resolution. According to the U.S. State Department, its calls “have gone unanswered or ignored.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 29, 2012
Contact: Deborah Hakes 1-404-420-5124
Carter Center Calls for Accountability After Corrie Verdict at The Carter Center website.
(Atlanta) On Aug. 28, the district court in Haifa, Israel, ruled that the State of Israel was not responsible for the 2003 killing of Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old U.S. peace activist who was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer as she attempted to nonviolently prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. Israel’s policy of home demolitions has been widely criticized by human rights organizations as a form of collective punishment. It violates Israel’s obligations under the Geneva Conventions. The Corrie family had requested $1 in symbolic damages and legal expenses.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro and human rights groups and have criticized Israel’s investigation of the case for a lack of thoroughness, transparency, and credibility.
“The killing of an American peace activist is unacceptable,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. “The court’s decision confirms a climate of impunity, which facilitates Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territory.”
Approximately 94 percent of Israeli military investigations of soldiers suspected of violent criminal activity against Palestinians and their property end without indictments, according to the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din. 91 percent of investigations into crimes committed by Israeli civilians against Palestinians in the Occupied Territory also end without indictment. In this case, the district court judge ruled that the drivers of the bulldozer could not see her, despite eyewitness testimony to the contrary.
In response to the verdict, Rachel Corrie’s parents Cindy and Craig stated “We are deeply saddened and troubled by what we heard today in the court of Judge Oded Gershon. This was a bad day, not only for us, but for human rights, for humanity, the rule of law, and the country of Israel…Rachel was a human being who deserved accountability, and we as her family deserve that too.”
In contrast, the family of James Miller, an Emmy Award-winning British filmmaker killed by Israeli forces in Rafah two months after Corrie’s death, ultimately received over $2 million in damages from the Israeli government. The government of the United Kingdom had threatened to seek the extradition of the Israeli soldiers in question.
“I hope that the U.S. government will use all reasonable means to ensure that the rights of American citizens are protected overseas and that justice is done for the Corrie family,” said former President Carter.
(Haifa, Israel – August 28, 2012) – While not surprising, this verdict is yet another example of where impunity has prevailed over accountability and fairness. Rachel Corrie was killed while non-violently protesting home demolitions and injustice in Gaza, and today, this court has given its stamp of approval to flawed and illegal practices that failed to protect civilian life. In this regard, the verdict blames the victim based on distorted facts and it could have been written directly by the state attorneys.
We knew from the beginning that we had an uphill battle to get truthful answers and justice, but we are convinced that this verdict distorts the strong evidence presented in court, and contradicts fundamental principles of international law with regard to protection of human rights defenders.
Read “call to action” released in advance of verdict.
[Released: August 8, 2012]
The Corrie’s are on their way to Haifa for the verdict in their civil lawsuit later this month. We call on you to act in support. For ten years, you have remembered Rachel Corrie and followed the work of her family and many others to pursue accountability and justice in her case. You stood with the Corries when the Israeli Government failed to take responsibility for Rachel’s killing by the Israeli military in 2003. You stood with the Corries when the U.S. Government was largely ineffective despite their finding that the Israeli military police investigation of Rachel’s killing did not meet standards of being “thorough, credible, and transparent.” Seeking every possible avenue to push for transparency and accountability, and on advice of the U.S. Government, the Corrie family brought a civil lawsuit against the Israel Ministry of Defense and State.
Now, nearly 7 1/2 years since the case was filed and nearly 2 1/2 years since the trial in Haifa District Court began, we ask you to continue to stand with the Corries as a verdict is announced the morning of August 28th in the courtroom of Judge Oded Gershon.
All of us at the Rachel Corrie Foundation hope the outcome will provide some measure of justice for Rachel’s killing; but regardless, the larger struggle for justice and equal rights continues. Inspired by Rachel’s work and her belief that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace with dignity and equality, we continue our efforts:
- To seek a just peace in the Middle East and an end to the 45-year Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
- To bring visibility to the oppression but also to the spirit and endurance of the people of Gaza and of all Palestinians.
- To bring attention to the responsibility we all have for the continuing injustices and human rights abuses in Palestine, and for the particular culpability of corporate America and U.S. taxpayers.
- To end Israel’s impunity regarding human rights violations, including home demolitions.
The Israeli policy of home demolitions, sometimes extending to entire villages, remains as urgent an issue now as it did when Rachel defended homes in Rafah, Gaza. Palestinians in Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and Hebron Hills live daily with the threat (or reality) of their homes being confiscated or turned into rubble. More than 1,000 houses were demolished in the Naqab alone in 2011, and the Prawer Plan, approved by the Israeli Government in September 2011, will lead to further displacement of 70,000 people. We call on you individually and as organizations to mark the week of the trial verdict with actions to end the housing demolitions that deny Palestinians the basic human right of being secure in their homes.
For those in Palestine/Israel:
We are inspired by the incredible work Israeli and Palestinian activists do to challenge home demolitions and confiscations. We encourage any actions organized the week of the verdict to include Rachel’s memory and spirit. You can include Rachel’s image by printing this poster of her in front of a bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza Strip. Register your planned action here so we can post it to our website. Send photos or videos of your action to firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about further actions planned, contact Jen at email@example.com.
For those in the USA:
We in the U.S. can impact home demolitions by removing support from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation and home demolition policies. The We Divest campaign to pressure investment firm TIAA-CREF to divest from such companies is a promising effort to end U.S. complicity in the occupation. Caterpillar Inc. is one of these companies. It profits from destruction wreaked upon Palestinian families, farms, and their economy using CAT equipment. Rachel was killed beneath a Caterpillar D9 weaponized bulldozer as she tried to protect the home of a Palestinian family. While TIAA-CREF recently removed CAT in its Social Choice accounts, it still holds over a billion dollars of CAT stock.
We ask our friends and allies to take the following actions as you are able:
1. From Sunday, August 26th until Sunday, September 2nd, deliver a letter to TIAA-CREF offices, and remember Rachel as you do. Combine this with a larger event, or designate a few people to deliver the letter. Register your planned action here so we can post it on our website. Download a copy of our sample TIAA-CREF letter and we will e-mail you a poster of a Palestinian family impacted by demolitions using CAT equipment. Our goal is to deliver letters to half of the 60 TIAA-CREF offices. Can you help us exceed our goal? With photos and videos from your actions we will launch a nationwide social media campaign with images that show the level of support for TIAA-CREF divestment.
2. Print this image of Rachel. Photograph yourself with it, and post it on our new Tumblr blog. Deliver the photo to the nearest Israeli Consulate demanding accountability and an end to home demolitions. We will gather images worldwide and also send them to the U.S. Department of State.
3. Take part in a live conference call with the Corrie family, Wednesday, August 29th, 6:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time/ 9:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. To participate in the call, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Host a house party or community gathering for those who want to join the call.
4. Sign the petition in support of the campaign to pressure TIAA-CREF to divest.
For those in other parts of the world:
We encourage you to use your creativity to take a stand against home demolitions. Register your planned action here so we can post it on our website. Please send photos and videos of your action to email@example.com.
We invite all our friends and allies to share your reflections on Rachel’s stand on twitter with the hashtag #RememberRachel.
Together, we can seize the moment. We can tell Rachel’s story. Most of all, we can cry out with Rachel’s message of equality and human rights and for her call to end home demolitions and the Israeli occupation!
Thank you for your support as together we build the global movement for Palestinian human rights!
The Staff and Board of Directors
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
Don’t miss the Corrie family’s press releases leading up to and directly after the verdict. Sign up here for updates…
“This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it.”
– Rachel Corrie, February 27, 2003, to her mother