Israel’s Supreme Court has rejected the appeal by the family of Rachel Corrie – the US activist who was crushed to death by a military bulldozer in Gaza 12 years ago – which had sought to hold Israel liable for her death. The ruling, which followed a high-profile hearing before Israel’s top court last year, appears to bring to an end – in the Israeli courts at least – years of effort by Corrie’s family to hold the country’s military responsible for her death. Instead, the court upheld the decision of a lower court, which invoked the “combat activities exception” that the Israeli military cannot be held responsible for damages in a war zone.
I am touched by Maya Angelou’s reading of an email from Rachel Corrie on the third anniversary of her death – here are two exceptional Americans bound together by a thirst for justice and the morality which says all peoples are entitled to “…. certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The killing of Rachel Corrie took place on Occupied Palestinian Territory where Israel has no legal rights other than the rights acquired by force, by military occupation contrary to 26 United Nations Resolution but which it occupies with the complicity of its sponsor and funder, the United States of America.
A report from ISM Media Coordinator Michael Shaik in Beit Sahour offered more details about the events:
“The confrontation between the ISM and the Israeli Army had been under way for two hours when Rachel was run over. Rachel and the other activists had clearly identified themselves as unarmed international peace activists throughout the confrontation.
The Israeli Army are attempting to dishonour her memory by claiming that Rachel was killed accidentally when she ran in front of the bulldozer. Eye-witnesses to the murder insist that this is totally untrue. Rachel was sitting in the path of the bulldozer as it advanced towards her. When the bulldozer refused to stop or turn aside she climbed up onto the mound of dirt and rubble being gathered in front of it wearing a fluorescent jacket to look directly at the driver who kept on advancing. The bulldozer continued to advance so that she was pulled under the pile of dirt and rubble. After she had disappeared from view the driver kept advancing until the bulldozer was completely on top of her. The driver did not lift the bulldozer blade and so she was crushed beneath it. Then the driver backed off and the seven other ISM activists taking part in the action rushed to dig out her body. An ambulance rushed her to A-Najar hospital where she died.”
Maya Angelou was an American author, poet, dancer, actress, and singer. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.
Rachel Aliene Corrie from Olympia, Washington, was an American peace activist and diarist. She was a member of the pro-Palestinian group called the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). She was killed by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) armoured bulldozer in a combat zone in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, under contested circumstances during the height of the second Palestinian intifada. She had come to Gaza as part of her senior-year college assignment to connect her home town with Rafah in a sister cities project. While there, she had engaged with other ISM activists in efforts to prevent the Israeli army’s demolition of Palestinian houses.
Less than two months after her arrival, on March 16, 2003, Corrie was killed during an Israeli military operation after a three-hour confrontation between Israeli soldiers operating two bulldozers and eight ISM activists.
Maya Angelou, a poet, a artist, a truth teller who spoke out on so many pressing issues passed away last year aged 86. Here she is reading an email written by Rachel Corrie on the 3rd anniversary of her death in 2006.
Rachel Aliene Corrie Born: April 10, 1979, Olympia, Washington, United States – Died: March 16, 2003, Rafah, Egypt
Maya Angelou (Marguerite Annie Johnson) Born: April 4, 1928 St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. – Died May 28, 2014 (aged 86) Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States