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Monday, 25 October. 2021
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

Unfortunately, this past week marks the 10-year anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s tragic murder by Israeli soldiers. As a fellow American peace activist, I’m compelled to write in her memory, asserting that her death was not in vain, significantly bolstering Palestinian peace and justice.

Rachel Corrie was a young American, full of compassion and love for life. Zealous about global human rights, she heard about the Palestinian suffering in the Gaza Strip, although absent from any media coverage. Confused by the inconsistency, she decided to volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in Palestine, recognized for its nonviolent approach to resisting occupying forces such as Israel. At the time of Rachel’s work with the ISM, the group had been based in Rafah, monitoring the living conditions that were quickly deteriorating. Israelis had been demolishing Palestinian homes in order to create an Israeli buffer zone.

Early morning March 16, 2003, word spread that the Israeli military had given a Palestinian doctor and his family 15 minutes to evacuate their home and witness its destruction. This was a family that housed several international volunteers, therefore the connection was personal. Immediately, ISM activists arrived to nonviolently protest the human rights violation, per the Fourth Geneva Convention law. Dressed in a fluorescent vest Rachel shouted, attempting to persuade the Israelis to abandon their bulldozer. Instead, the bulldozer gradually approached Rachel, ignoring the sideline hysteria from her family of friends warning of her presence, thus marking her intentional murder.

Despite eyewitness accounts of her death and an official investigation by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, accountability for Rachel’s death has been challenged by fallacies and unparallel variables. An Israeli court impugned Rachel for her own death, stating that “any thinking person” would have stayed away. To the contrary, Rachel was working in a residential Palestinian neighborhood, not a war zone. The Israeli military has no justification for occupying Palestinian territory (nor demolishing homes or killing civilians) except to illegally sequester land; systematically ethnically cleansing Palestinians. Factually speaking, there was no battle, no initial attack or counterattack. Rachel was not armed with weapons; she was a peace activist and didn’t pose a threat to anyone. Consequently, the Israeli military illustrates absolute responsibility for Rachel Corrie’s murder and charges of crimes against humanity should be pursued by the International Criminal Court.

Americans, and all people throughout the world need to realize that this kind of treatment towards humanity is unacceptable. Israeli forces should not be able to literally, run a woman over with a bulldozer and be acquitted of any wrongdoing (according to an Israeli judge) ….this is preposterous. Additionally, this article is not intended to sensationalize an American death, rather humanize the Palestinian people and Rachel’s efforts to sustain the Palestinian right to exist. Furthermore, she should be remembered as a heroic woman who sacrificed her life in dedication to humanity and creating a free and peaceful Palestine.

Nejwa Ali is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at mid@miftah.org.

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