Rachel Corrie - Peace Activist, Victim of Israel Whitewash Or Islamic Jihad Propaganda Tool?

"Peace activists" do not carry automatic weapons.

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel --- September 1, 2012 ... Part of the following was communicated by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Israel News Agency.

Whether from Hamas, the PA or an Israeli living in Sderot, we would all agree on one thing - the death of Rachel Corrie was tragic. Where we disagree is that a free and democratic court in Haifa, Israel believes that this accident never would have happened had the ISM - International Solidarity Movement not encouraged activity, in a war-zone, that was risky to the point of life-endangering.

The Haifa District Court delivered its findings in the Rachel Corrie case on 28 August 2012. The decision settled a civil lawsuit brought by her American family in which they charged that Israel was responsible for the 2003 death of Corrie in Gaza.

Judge Oded Gershon found for the State of Israel, Ministry of Defense, ruling that there was no basis to claims that Israel was responsible for the intentional or negligent death of US born peace activist Rachel Corrie.

The 65-page decision of the Israeli court illustrated democracy in action. Israel did not have to open, hear and decide on this case. The decision was given after extensive testimony and investigation of the accident by experts on both sides. The District Court of Haifa is a respected component of Israel's highly independent judiciary, which in the past has not hesitated to find against the IDF or the State of Israel.

Rachel Corrie, an American citizen from Olympia, Washington, died tragically on 16 March 2003 in the Gaza Strip. Corrie was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an anti-Israel organization whose members engage in direct confrontation with Israeli troops in the West Bank and Gaza, disrupting their operations on a regular basis.

The ISM has been directly linked to Islamic terror organizations. Huwaida Arraf, an ISM founder was recorded at two national conferences on two occasions admitted that the ISM works with terrorist groups like Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and Hamas.

During the course of one of these PR demonstrations, Corrie was fatally injured by the shovel of an Israeli army bulldozer leveling the ground in the Philadelphi Corridor area of Gaza.

The court exonerated the State of Israel from any civil responsibility in this case.

As the judge found, while a terrible tragedy, the death of Rachel Corrie was an accident that cannot be blamed on the IDF.

However, moral responsibility for the tragedy can be assigned. It lies solely with the organizers of the ISM, who sent a young American woman into a battle zone and encouraged her to engage in highly dangerous activities.

Corrie was in the Gaza Strip on behalf of the ISM at the height of the Second Intifada. That Palestinian-led organization uses foreign nationals as bait, deliberately placing them in volatile situations certain in the knowledge that Israel will be blamed if they are subsequently injured or killed.

In an interview the day Corrie died, Thom Saffold, a founder of the ISM, said: "It's possible they (the protesters) were not as disciplined as we would have liked. But we're like a peace army. Generals send young men and women off to operations, and some die."

It should be noted that the ISM is not a peaceful organization and its members should not be termed "peace activists."

Members of the ISM actively have supported terrorists and interfere in legitimate defensive activities of the IDF. In 2002, the ISM attempted to assist the wanted terrorists who seized the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, desecrating this holy site. A senior Islamic Jihad terrorist, Shadi Sukiya, was hiding in the Jenin ISM office - with the assistance of ISM activists - when he was arrested in March 2003. Richard David Hupper, an ISM member, gave USD 20,000 to the internationally recognized terrorist organization Hamas while working for the ISM in Israel, resulting in his 2008 conviction by a US federal court.

The court found that on the day of the accident the bulldozer was engaged in the military operational task of clearing the land in a dangerous area which posed a significant risk. These actions were designed to prevent acts of terror and hostility. The judge declared that the bulldozer's leveling operation was "a war-related action" as defined by Israeli law, and therefore the state bears no responsibility for the damages inflicted on the plaintiffs.

According to the law, which is similar in many democratic states including the US, that settled the case and there was no legal need to discuss the cause of action. However, given the contentious nature of the case, the judge decided to go beyond the legal requirements and examine the merits of the claims made by the Corrie family and their supporters.

The ISM has prosecuted a long-term campaign against Israel in the Corrie matter. Among the claims made by these activists, and repeated in the civil suit, was that the bulldozer driver deliberately ran over Corrie.

The day of the accident, Corrie and other ISM members risked themselves by directly interfering in the IDF bulldozer activities, blocking their paths with their bodies. The IDF soldiers warned off the activists repeatedly and took great care to avoid the foreigners, changing their place of operations time after time.

The bulldozer involved in the accident was a DR9, a very large vehicle. The field of vision of the DR9 is extremely limited, not least due to the heavy shielding necessitated by attacks on bulldozer drivers. When the involved bulldozer turned and pushed a large pile of debris, Corrie was kneeling on the ground and was in a blind spot of the operator's field of vision, behind the bulldozer's shovel and the pile of dirt. Accordingly, as the judge found, there was no way in which the bulldozer driver could have seen Corrie.

The judge based his decision not only on evidence provided by the state, but also on an expert testifying on behalf of the Corrie family. This expert determined that the driver could not and did not see Rachel Corrie due to the nature of the vehicle he was operating.

Based on the evidence provided by four separate experts – including the one hired by the Corrie family – the judge found, this was a very regrettable accident but not a deliberate action. It was determined that that Corrie had risked her own life by placing herself in a dangerous situation, kneeling in front of a bulldozer whose driver could not see her. The judge also unequivocally determined that there is no basis to the claim of the plaintiffs that the bulldozer driver negligently caused the death of Corrie.

In an attempt to gain more sympathy to their cause, the ISM activists also falsely claimed that the bulldozer was attempting to destroy the house of a local Palestinian dentist.

The judge found that the mission of the IDF that day was confined to exposing the ground in a section of the Philadelphi Corridor. Leveling the ground and clearing it of shrubbery was necessary to expose hiding places exploited by terrorists, who used them to plant explosive devices and as camouflage for attacks.

As the judge stated in his judgment: "The mission was not, in any manner, intended to destroy houses."

The IDF's actions that day were necessary to prevented hostile activities and acts of terrorism. In the relevant period during the Second Intifada, a great deal of terrorist activity was concentrated in the Philadelphi Corridor. Just about an hour before the incident, a hand grenade had been thrown at IDF forces there.

From the start of the Intifada in September 2000 and until the day of the accident in March 2003, nearly 6,000 grenades had been thrown at IDF soldiers, there were 1,400 attempted sniper attacks, 150 explosive devices had been planted and 40 mortar bombs launched - and all in the Philadelphi Corridor.

This area was the center of smuggling activities, with numerous tunnels used to bring terrorists and weapons from the Egyptian town of Rafah into the Gaza Strip. In addition there had been unending attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers. As a result of the aforementioned attacks, many Israelis had been killed or injured.

When the ISM decided to target the ground leveling operation, it knew that it was operating in a closed military zone. Civilians are prohibited from entering these zones and IDF soldiers made every effort to distance the anti-Israel activists from the area.

In addition, the United States Government had just published (16 March 2003) a travel advisory warning US citizens from travel to the Gaza Strip.

A lengthy, comprehensive and transparent trial concluded, after examining extensive expert testimony, that Israel was not responsible for Rachel Corrie's death. The events of that day were scrutinized in detail and no evidence was found that supported the plaintiff's version of events.

The death of Rachel Corrie was a tragic accident; however this accident never would have happened had the ISM not encouraged activity - in a war-zone - that was risky to the point of life-endangering.

Rachel Corrie, was not murdered by the IDF. She was no hero. She was not helping the peace process by allowing Islamic terror organizations to smuggle weapons and explosives into Israel to murder Israeli civilians.

Rachel Corrie was used as a propaganda tool. No different than a doctored photoshopped picture, words of Palestinians starving in a food saturated Gaza or a romantic concept called the Flotilla to break the seige of Gaza, as if Gaza did not have an Egyptian border.

Corrie was the victim of multi-million dollar PR hate campaign against Israel. A campaign that serves such dictators as Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syria President Bashar Assad who embrace a false spin of the Holocaust, of nuclear weapons and of Palestinians suffering to deflect from their own severe internal problems of poverty and a total lack of human rights.

There truly is no Palestinian Israel conflict. Arab Israelis enjoy democracy, prosperity and equal human rights in Israel.

Rachel Corrie died in a war of Islamic Jihad (holy war against Jews and Christians) against democracy.
She joined the thousands who were murdered in the 9/11 terror attacks on New York and Washington and the 7/7 London terror bombings.

The only distinction for a truly naive Corrie was that she was fighting on the side of terrorism - not democracy.





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