For the Rachel Corrie Foundation, 2010 has been marked by courageous pursuits of accountability. This work is supported by an expanding network of individuals and organizations standing together for justice, non-violence, and universal human rights in the Middle East. As we evaluate and look forward, we ask for your help.
On a personal level, the trial in Israel in Rachel’s case has been all-consuming. It is significant – because, as a civil case, it addresses the collective responsibility of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and State, rather than actions of strictly one or two lower-ranked soldiers. The Rachel Corrie Foundation continues to communicate and educate about the human rights implications of this legal effort.
In May and beyond, we followed the bold path of the Gaza flotilla, the Israeli military attack on the Mavi Marmara, and the determined journeys of the MV Rachel Corrie and Irene (the Jewish Gaza Boat) that followed. At great personal risk, courageous seafarers refused to accept the continuing intransigence of the Israeli Government toward Gaza and the unwillingness or inability of the U.S. and other world powers to improve the situation. From the week following the Mavi Marmara attack until after the MV Rachel Corrie sailed, we provided over 26 local, national, and international news interviews illuminating the Israeli blockade and siege of Gaza that drove the flotilla activists to sea. Based on our own experience and on the U.S.
Government position about the inadequacy of investigation in Rachel’s case, we wrote to U.N. Security Council members (including U.S. Ambassador, Susan Rice) and communicated in person with high ranking Obama administration officials about our lack of confidence in a U.S. supported Israeli investigation of the flotilla incident.
To encourage adherence to U.S. values and laws, we participated in the American Friends Service Committee’s Chicago Hearing on U.S. military aid to Israel and in the first ever U.N. Universal Periodic Review of the U.S. human rights record. We cited inadequacies and inconsistencies in application of U.S. law governing U.S. foreign military aid when evidence of human rights violations by aid recipients exists. Recently, when word leaked to the Israeli media about a halt in sales of Caterpillar D9 bulldozers and linked this to our trial in Israel, we joined efforts to gather thousands of signatures in support of a permanent halt to such sales until Israel demonstrates accountability for human rights violations committed with these machines.
In Olympia, the Rachel Corrie Foundation celebrated the Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project, an inspiring public representation of the power of our connections. We proudly supported the efforts of TESC Divest and Olympia BDS that resulted in passage of Evergreen State College student resolutions supporting a CAT-free campus and college divestment from corporations that aid the Israeli occupation, and a successful boycott of Israeli products at the Olympia Food Co-op.
What will 2011 bring? In Olympia, our Peace Works Conference, Solidarity in Action (April 8-9), will feature a keynote address from author and activist Alice Walker and emphasis on BDS and other strategies. We will focus on Gaza – expanding our connections, supporting grassroots efforts for women, children, and families, and providing water purification for a Rafah kindergarten.
Retiring Congressman Brian Baird, (WA-3) who visited Gaza four times since Operation Cast Lead, recently said of the ongoing Israeli blockade, “…from a humanitarian perspective, it’s a tragedy. From a legal perspective, it’s unlawful. And from a strategic perspective, it’s unwise.” The Congressman emphasized the importance of groups like RCF bringing our message to Congress. That message will become more powerful as we continue to network and partner wherever we can to most effectively impact U.S. and Israeli policy and to honor and advocate for the basic human rights of all in Israel/Palestine.
In our ongoing journey, it is a gift to find kindred spirits throughout the U.S., Israel, Palestine, and elsewhere, who share our hopes and nurture our efforts in so many different ways. Thank you for your invaluable support that makes each step we take possible. Despite disappointments on the national and international scene, we are all making a difference. This is a time to persist. During this month of giving, please share what you can with the Rachel Corrie Foundation. It continues to be the place where we dream about the possibilities that Rachel imagined and where we remember and try to emulate her spirit and creativity. Our small but committed staff and community of dedicated volunteers join us today in letting you know that your gifts inspire us. We are all grateful for whatever you are able to do to help.
Salaam, Shalom, and Peace, during this
Craig & Cindy Corrie