When Greek authorities prevented the US ship the Audacity of Hope leaving its port in Athens this week, they dealt a blow to a group of brave and principled Americans who were trying to carry thousands of letters from US citizens to those who wait on Gaza’s shores. […]
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
Mary Fitzgerald | Irish Times
The parents of Rachel Corrie, the US activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003, have paid tribute to those who attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade on a ship named after their daughter.
Activists, including several from Ireland, who last month set sail for Gaza onboard the aid-laden MV Rachel Corrie , were today returning to their home countries after Israeli forces intercepted the vessel on Saturday and towed it to the Israeli port of Ashdod.
Those onboard the Irish-owned ship had earlier rejected a proposal to discharge the cargo at Ashdod, and insisted they would continue on to Gaza. Days before, an Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla sailing ahead of the vessel had resulted in the deaths of nine activists.
Cindy Corrie said those on board the MV Rachel Corrie were “courageous” in their determination to continue their journey. “They hold such a warm place in my heart because I have seen the work that they do, I know how important it is, and what amazing individuals they are. I feel so connected to their efforts,” she told The Irish Times .
“I applaud them for not agreeing to turn the boat into Ashdod port, because clearly the intention of their efforts is not just to bring humanitarian aid – while that aid is tremendously important – but also to challenge this ongoing, illegal siege of Gaza.”
It was “humbling” that the vessel bore her daughter’s name, Mrs Corrie said. “I know it would be humbling for Rachel too. She wanted more than anything to bring attention to what she was seeing. She went to Gaza to be a witness.”
Ms Corrie was 23 when she was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer as she and other protesters were trying to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes. Her writings – published posthumously – and a play about her life have made her a rallying figure for pro-Palestinian activists.
“I think Rachel would feel that if her name helps, if her story helps to continue to bring attention to what is happening, to continue to encourage people to take action right now to improve things for people in Gaza, she would be supportive of that,” added Mrs Corrie.
The Corrie family now run the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice in their hometown of Olympia, Washington.
Mr Corrie said their thoughts were with the families of those killed during the attack on the flotilla last Monday. “Our hearts go out to them. We have some understanding of what they are going through in these days and the days that will follow.” The couple, who visited Gaza twice last year, said they hoped the renewed international focus as a result of the events of the past week would bring further pressure on Israel to lift its blockade. “I feel very strongly that this is a watershed,” said Mrs Corrie.
“I think the world has awakened this week in a way that is different to before. I think now it is up to all of us to ensure that there is a very determined and continuing effort to keep attention on what is happening, and to end this terrible siege of Gaza.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2010
In the past four days, details about the attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla have emerged.
We now know that 9 civilians were killed in the attack – 8 Turkish nationals and 1 American citizen of Turkish descent. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed. From the depths of our own experience, we feel the pain you are in.
In a response to the incident, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) called for “a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.”
We are dismayed that, largely due to US influence, the call was not for an independent investigation. With the cases of our daughter Rachel Corrie, crushed by an IDF Caterpillar bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003, and US citizens Brian Avery and Tristan Anderson, both severely injured by the IDF in the West Bank in 2003 and 2009, respectively, Israel clearly demonstrated a failure to investigate itself adequately.
Additionally, the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, in whichthe Israeli military exonerated itself of any wrongdoing, appears to confirm our own experience.
We call on the United Nations Security Council, and particularly on the United States Government, to demand a credible, transparent, thorough independent investigation into the attack on the flotilla.
At this time, a ship named the MV Rachel Corrie, which departed from Ireland, is on its way to Gaza. It was supposed to sail with the rest of the flotilla but was delayed due to mechanical difficulties. There are 12 people are on board, including the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mairead Maguire and former UN Assistant Secretary-General Dennis Halliday. We call on the United States Government and the governments of the world to insist that Israel not block the safe passage of the ship in reaching Gaza, nor take any actions that may result in the harm of the civilians onboard.
We are also dismayed that the United States Government has not joined the other permanent members of the UNSC in calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza. We call on our government to stand up against the immoral and illegal siege.
Until the blockade, siege and the occupation have ended, and people are permitted to live in freedom and with dignity, we fear there will be more needless deaths, of Palestinians and Israelis alike, and internationals who stand in solidarity with those working towards an end to the occupation and peace with justice.
Cindy & Craig Corrie
We are heart-sick and outraged about the brutal attack launched by the Israeli Military on the Free Gaza Movement’s flotilla of boats in the early morning hours (Eastern Mediterranean time), Monday, May 31. The boats were carrying civilian passengers and humanitarian aid into the besieged Gaza Strip, and were clearly in international waters when this illegal attack occurred, in violation of international law.
The number of dead and injured are still unconfirmed, but lowest figures reported are 9 killed and 34 injured. The Israeli Government has still not released their names. Over 700 citizens from nearly forty countries were on board the flotilla vessels.
We grieve for those who have been killed and pray for the recovery of those who have been injured. We salute them for their sacrifice in solidarity with Gazans suffering under a prolonged and immoral siege, which is itself a despicable and illegal act of collective punishment upon a civilian population. People on board the flotilla boats included human rights activists, journalists, public servants, and Palestinians hoping to reunite with family members. Some of those on board, we know personally. We continue to marvel at the courage, dedication, and moral clarity of all these activists. Like our daughter Rachel Corrie, they were coming to the aid of the people of Gaza because governments of the world have failed to act. Our hearts, go out,as well, to the families and friends of all those on board the flotilla vessels, many of whom may still not know the fate of their loved ones.
We call on the U.S. Government and governments of the world to act now. First, the well-being of all the flotilla passengers still in Israel must be secured, and the identities of those killed and injured must be released immediately. Second, governments around the world must demand an independent investigation into the attack upon the flotilla and the killings that occurred. An Israeli-led investigation into an international incident of this magnitude is unacceptable. Our family’s own experience has made it all too painfully clear that the Israeli military is unable or unwilling to adequately investigate itself. Third, the U.S. and other governments can and must insist that other boats from the flotilla, including the MV Rachel Corrie, named for our daughter, be permitted to sail through international waters to Gaza unobstructed. Finally, we demand that the governments of the world act as courageously as did the activists on the Free Gaza flotilla and, themselves, break the illegal and immoral siege of Gaza.
Cindy & Craig Corrie
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice
Available for interview.
Please contact the Rachel Corrie Foundation
info [ at ] rachelcorriefoundation.org
360.754.3998 or 360-359-6790