"My dream can and will come true if we look into the future and see the light that shines there."
Earlier today, a court in Haifa found that the IDF were not responsible for the death of US peace and justice activist, Rachel Corrie.
The judge in the case, Oded Gershon, stated in his summing up "The deceased put herself into a dangerous situation, she stood in front of a giant bulldozer in a place where the operator could not see her. She did not distance herself as a reasonable person would have done." He went on to say, "Her death is the result of an accident she bought upon herself." The finding has been greeted with dismay by her parents and outrage by human rights organisations and activists around the world.
On the 16th March 2003, 23-year-old Rachel’s life was ended when she was run over by a D9R armoured Caterpillar bulldozer being employed by the IDF to demolish Palestinian homes in the Rafah district of Gaza. Since 1967 an estimated 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures have been demolished by Israel.
Corrie’s family subsequently accused Israel of intentionally and unlawfully killing Rachel and have spent almost a decade seeking justice for their daughter, pursuing a civil case after an Israeli military investigation acquitted their forces of any wrongdoing.
Despite eyewitness reports stating that Rachel was deliberately run over and documentary evidence to show that she was wearing a high-visibility jacket, speaking through a loud-haler and standing on a mound of rubble, the Israeli army have continued to maintain it was an accident.
In a press release today, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights who investigated Rachel’s death at the time, claim that the bulldozer deliberately ran over Rachel. They go on to say: “Israel’s house demolitions are a violation of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the targeting of civilian property. Rachel Corrie was within her rights protesting this illegal activity and should not have been attacked. As per Article 10 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel, as the Occupying Power, is obligated to facilitate humanitarian workers in the Occupied Territory. As outlined in the Fourth Geneva Convention Commentary on Article 10, this obligation is extended to any impartial humanitarian organization that performs activities, including but not limited to, “representations, interventions, suggestions and practical measures affecting the protection under the Convention.” Rachel Corrie’s intervention at the house demolition falls under an approved humanitarian activity. Therefore, in addition to the fact that she was a civilian, a prohibited target under Article 54 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the killing of Rachel Corrie violated Israel’s obligation as an Occupying Power to facilitate humanitarian work.
Regardless of the court’s findings, Rachel will be remembered by the world as a courageous young woman who stood against injustice. A woman who stood for humanity.