Amy Goodman, Huffington Post
An unusual trial begins in Israel this week that people around the world will be watching closely. It involves the tragic death of a 23-year-old American student named Rachel Corrie. On March 16, 2003, she was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer.
Corrie was volunteering with the group International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which formed after Israel and the United States rejected a proposal by then-United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson to place international human-rights monitors in the occupied territories. The ISM defines itself as “a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles.” Israel was building a large steel wall to separate Rafah from Egypt, and was bulldozing homes and gardens to create a “buffer zone.” Corrie and seven other ISM activists responded to a call on that March day to protect the home of the Nasrallah family, which was being threatened with demolition by two of the armored Israeli military bulldozers made by the U.S. company Caterpillar.
Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother, related what happened:
The bulldozer proceeded toward Rachel. … She was in her orange jacket. When it kept coming, she rose on the mound, and the eyewitnesses testified that her head rose above the top of the blade of the bulldozer, so she could clearly be seen, but the bulldozer continued and proceeded over her, and so that it was covering her body. It stopped and then reversed, according to the eyewitness testimonies, without lifting its blade, so backed over her once again.
Her friends were screaming at the bulldozer drivers through this to stop. They rushed to her, and she said to them, ‘I think my back is broken.’ And those were her final words.
Shortly after Rachel’s death, the Corries met with the Bush State Department. It was there that the idea of a civil lawsuit was first presented, by Secretary of State Colin Powell’s own chief of staff, Lawrence B. Wilkerson. Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father, recalled: “He said: ‘If it was my daughter, I’d sue them. I don’t care about money. I wouldn’t care about anything. I would sue the state of Israel.'” Ultimately, this is what the Corrie family did. [Read more…]