March 10, Israel: Civil case on Rachel’s killing

The family of my ISM colleague Rachel, killed in Gaza in 2003 by the Israeli army using a Caterpillar bulldozer (don’t buy those shoes!), are taking Israel to court this week. My friend Alice, who witnessed her killing, testified yesterday. You can see the latest on the trial on here.

Israeli Court Begins Hearing Testimonies in the Unlawful Killing of 23 year old American Activist Rachel Corrie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Haifa District Court began hearing eyewitness testimonies today, March 10, 2010, in a civil lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza. Rachel Corrie, an American human rights defender from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death on March 16, 2003 by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer. She had been nonviolently demonstrating against Palestinian home demolitions with fellow members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct action methods and principles.

The court heard the testimonies of two ISM witnesses, British citizens Richard Purssell and Tom Dale. Their testimonies were frequently interrupted due to poor court-provided translation, which the presiding judge, Oded Gershon, acknowledged to be flawed. A new courttranslator was requested by the judge for the coming hearings.

The state attorneys spent most of their time cross-examining the eye- witnesses about the ISM and their purpose in Rafah. Purssell repeatedly affirmed that his purpose for being in Gaza was to offernonviolent protection to Palestinian civilians whose homes were threatened with demolition by the Israeli military. Relatively little time was spent ascertaining what happened to Rachel Corrie.

“Seven years after my daughter Rachel was killed, I was finally able to hear Rachel’s friends, who were with her, testify in a court of law. Despite some disheartening procedural challenges, we remain hopeful that the truth about what happened to Rachel will be revealed, and that the people responsible for her killing will be held accountable,” said Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother.

The courtroom was filled with local and international reporters, human rights observers and three representatives from the U.S. Embassy, including Consul General Andrew Parker. Last night, the Corrie family met with Parker and senior members of Vice President Joseph Biden’s staff in Jerusalem. Antony Blinken, the Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President, reconfirmed the long-standing U.S. Government position that there has not been a thorough, credible, and transparent investigation into Rachel’s case. They reiterated the U.S. Government’s endorsement of
pursuing justice for Rachel through the Israeli court system. Embassy staff will continue to attend the trial.

“I continue to be humbled by the steadfast dedication to nonviolent support for all of our human rights demonstrated by Rachel’s friends,not just seven years ago in Rafah, but again today in Haifa,” said Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father.

For more information, contact:

Israel/Palestine:
Gabrielle Rubin +972-52-8332430 gabrielle.rubin@gmail.com
Rachel Leah Jones +972-54-6564638 racheleahjones@gmail.com
Libby Lenkinski +972-54-8001917 libbylenkinski@gmail.com
Jonathan Pollak +972-54-6327736 jonathan@popularstruggle.org
Jen Marlowe +972-54-7938064 jenmarlowe@hotmail.com

United States:
Ismail Khalidi +1-646-824-7982 ismail@imeu.net
Rachel Corrie Foundation http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/trial

Message from Joe, another ISM mate of Rachel’s:

I wanted to make sure ya’ll knew about the civil trial going on Israel right now. Rachel’s
parents are suing the Israeli Military…this Friday I’m going to be doing an hour-long radio segment in honor of the upcoming 7-year anniversary of her murder. You can stream it
online if you’d like to listen. Here’s the info:

PEOPLE UNITED hears from former International Solidarity Movement activist Joe Carr about the life and death of his friend Rachel Corrie (April 10, 1979-March 16, 2003), an American killed by the Israeli Defense Force in Rafa seven years ago while trying to block the demolition of a Palestinian home. (Her family’s civil case against the Israeli Defense Ministry began trial this week in Haifa.). Allan Campbell hosts, with a commentary by
Mumia Abu-Jamal (“Howard Zinn, Master Historian”). Fri., March 12, 1 pm.
KOOP Radio 91.7 FM. http://www.koop.org (stream by clicking “listen now” on the
left)

much love and solidarity

-Joe

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