REMEMBER RACHEL CORRIE
Rachel Corrie was a 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington,
who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on 16 March 2003, while undertaking nonviolent direct action to protect
the home of a Palestinian family from demolition.
her killing, an enormous amount of solidarity activities have been carried out in her name around the world.
Rachel’s journals and emails from her time in Palestine are available
in a variety of forms. They have been published in books, turned into plays and dramatic readings, and used around the internet.
They are not always reproduced in their entirety and we have collected them here, un-cut, for easier reading.
should at least mention that I am also discovering a degree of strength and of basic ability for humans to remain human in
the direst of circumstances – which I also haven’t seen before. I think the word is dignity. I wish you could
meet these people. Maybe, hopefully, someday you will."
– Rachel Corrie,
in an email to her mother, February 28 2003
“Rachel Corrie, 23 years old from
the state of Washington, was killed while she was trying to prevent Israeli army bulldozers from destroying a Palestinian
home. Other foreigners who were with her said the driver of the bulldozer was aware that Rachel was there, and continued
to destroy the house. Initially he dropped sand and other heavy debris on her, then the bulldozer pushed her to the ground
where it proceeded to drive over her, fracturing both of her arms, legs and skull. She was transferred to hospital, where
she later died. Another foreigner was also injured in the attack and has been hospitalized - at this stage his nationality
is unknown.” (15 March 2003) A press release from the International Solidarity Movement stated that:
“Rachel had been staying in Palestinian homes threatened with illegal
demolition, and today Rachel was standing with other non-violent international activists in front of a home scheduled for
illegal demolition. According to witnesses, Rachel was run over twice by the Israeli military bulldozer in its process of
demolishing the Palestinian home. Witnesses say that Rachel was clearly visible to the bulldozer driver, and was doing nothing
to provoke an attack.” (15 March 2003)The photos below clearly show that Rachel was well marked, had a megaphone which
removes any doubt that the activists’ presence was somehow invisible to the driver, and she clearly posed no threat
to the bulldozer driver.
Picture taken between 3:00-4:00PM,
16 March 2003, Rafah, Occupied Gaza. Rachel Corrie (L) and Nick (R) oppose the potential destruction of this home (to the
west of the Doctor’s home where Rachel was killed). In the instance pictured, the bulldozer did not stop and Rachel
was pinned between the scooped earth and the fence behind her. On this occasion, the driver stopped before seriously injuring
her. Photo by Joseph Smith (ISM Handout).
Picture taken between 3:00-4:00PM
on 16 March 2003, Rafah, Occupied Gaza. A clearly marked Rachel Corrie, holding a megaphone, confronts the driver of one
of two Israeli bulldozers in the area that were attempting to demolish a Palestinian homes. She was confronting the bulldozer
in order to disrupt its work, and prevent it from threatening any homes. Photo by Joseph Smith. (ISM Handout)
Picture taken at 4:45PM
on 16 March 2003, Rafah, Occupied Gaza. Other peace activists tend to Rachel after she was fatally injured by the driver
of the Israeli bulldozer (in background). This photo was taken seconds after the bulldozer driver dragged his blade over
her for the second time while reversingback over her body. He lifted the blade as seen in the photo only after he had
dragged it back over Rachel’s body. This image clearly shows that had he lifted his blade at any time he may have avoided
killing her, as the bottom section of the bulldozer is raised off the ground. Photo by Richard Purssell. (ISM Handout)
Picture taken at 4:47PM on 16 March
2003, Rafah, Occupied Gaza. Rachel Corrie lies on the ground fatally injured by the Israeli bulldozer driver. Rachel’s
fellow activists have dug her a little out of the sand and are trying to keep her neck straight due to spinal injury. Photo
by Joseph Smith. (ISM Handout)
Rachel in Najjar hostpital, Rafah, Occupied Gaza. Rachel arrived
in the emergency room at 5:05PM and doctors scrambled to save her. By 5:20PM,
she was gone. Ha’aretz newspaper reported that Dr. Ali Musa, a doctor at Al-Najjar, stated that the cause of
death was “skull and chest fractures”.
A later report from ISM Media Coordinator Michael Shaik in Beit Sahour offered more
details about the events:
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.”
Rachel Corrie Redux
On August 28th, 2012, an Israeli court dismissed a lawsuit
brought by the parents of Rachel Corrie
Israeli Defense Forces for the murder of their daughter.
The Israelis had been flattening Palestinian homes in the
Gaza Strip in 2003. Rachel bravely stood in the way
a bulldozer that crushed her to death while flattening
another Palestinian home.
Any humane and sensible bulldozer operator, when
seeing a seemingly crazy young girl in the way, would
his machine and otified authorities who
would have taken the girl
away from harm’s way.
But not this murdering cretin who ran right over
on purpose, and then continued on with his work...
And got away with it; or so it may seem like it to
to supportive Jewish-Americans, and to Israelis.
It was an Israeli
judge named Oded Gershon who ruled
that the victim (Rachel Corrie) had put herself in harm’s
way and deserved what she got.
He also ruled that destroying homes in the
Gaza is a “military necessity.”
no doubt that an arrogant swine such as Gershon
has no idea that he personally created multitudes of
who now believe that the rogue-terrorist, false
of Israel should also be erased...
Cindy and Craig Corrie, Rachel’s
parents, will appeal the
verdict; but don’t hold your breath waiting for Israeli
there evidently is no such thing in Israel
God Damned foreign country that willfully kills
Americans such as Rachel Corrie, 34 crewmembers of
U.S.S. LIBERTY and 2,976 Americans on 9/11 is my
mortal enemy; and I do not care at all what the Zionist
controlled American government thinks of me!
I care even less about what Zionist Jews think of anything at all.
To Hell With All of Them.
Four Eye-witnesses Describe the Murder of Rachel Corrie
Tom Dale, Greg Schnabel, Richard Purssell, and Joe Smith, International Solidarity
Movement, 19 March 2003
peace activist Rachel Corrie was murdered by an Israeli bulldozer driver on 16 March 2003 while attempting to defend a Palestinian
doctor's home from demolition. Four of the seven International Solidarity Movement members present have written their recollections
of the incident: Tom Dale (US), Greg Schnabel (UK), Richard Purssell (UK), and Joe Smith (US). Greg and Richard's accounts
are more formal accounts. Tom and Joe's accounts are excerpted from e-mails to friends and families. Courtesy of the International
TOM DALE EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT
British Citizen from Lichfield, Birmingham, born 17 August 1984.
Many of you will of heard varying accounts of the death of Rachel Corrie,
maybe others will have heard nothing of it. Regardless, I was 10 metres away when it happened 2 days ago, and this is the
way it went.
We'd been monitoring
and occasionally obstructing the two bulldozers for about 2 hours when one of them turned toward a house we knew to be threatened
with demolition. Rachel knelt down in its way. She was 10-20 metres in front of the bulldozer, clearly visible, the only object
for many metres, directly in its view. They were in radio contact with a tank that had a profile view of the situation. There
is no way she could not have been seen by them in their elevated cabin. They knew where she was, there is no doubt.
The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop
as it went. She knelt there, she did not move. The bulldozer reached her and she began to stand up, climbing onto the mound
of earth. She appeared to be looking into the cockpit. The bulldozer continued to push Rachel, so she slipped down the mound
of earth, turning as she went.
faced showed she was panicking and it was clear she was in danger of being overwhelmed.
All the activists were screaming at the bulldozer to stop and gesturing
to the crew about Rachel's presence. We were in clear view as Rachel had been, they continued.
They pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then
continued till her body was beneath the cockpit. They waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed with
the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time. Every second I believed they would stop but they never
I ran for an ambulance, she
was gasping and her face was covered in blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. She was showing signs of brain
hemorrhaging. She died in the ambulance a few minutes later of massive internal injuries. She was a brilliant, bright and
amazing person, immensely brave and committed. She is gone and I cannot believe it.
The group here in Rafah has decided that we will stay here and continue
to oppose human rights abuses as best we can. I want to add that more than 10 palestinians have died in the Gaza strip since
Please: forward this message. Boycott Caterpillar.
Take direct action against the Caterpillar Corporation - please do not let this be without cost to them. Legally, I shouldn't
ask you to do anything destructive or against the law.
If you're wondering about Rachel: her writings, photos of her and statements on her death are available on
the website below. More photos: go to yahoo news section, search for photos by 'rachel'.
If you're wondering about the International Solidarity Movement: www.palsolidarity.org
If you're wondering about the bulldozers: They're American, Caterpillar-made
armoured D9 Bulldozers. I estimate the blade is maybe 8 ft high, 15 ft wide and more than 9 tons. They're purchased from America
using the $12billion per annum military aid package that America gives to Israel. [Report on their previous usage, well worth
reading -- especially if you didn't believe anyone would be crazy enough to do this].
If you're wondering about Rafah: in the southern Gaza Strip, next to the
Egyptian border. Apart from suffering in excess from the problems all over Palestine: Israeli manipulation of the water supply,
economic strangulation, regular shootings and army operations, Rafah is afflicted by the building of an extra border wall.
It has caused hundreds of homes to be destroyed.
The house in question, that of a doctor, like dozens of others in the area is not set to be demolished because
of any supposed link to militants. Only because it lies within 100 metres of the new border wall, currently in construction.
Families receive no compensation from Israel, and are frequently given just a few minutes warning in the form of live ammunition
being shot through the walls of their house.
Tom Dale - 18 March
GREG SCHNABEL EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT
United States citizen from Chicago, IL, USA, born 26 April 1974.
I, Greg Schnabel, came to Rafah to work with the International Solidarity Movement.
At approximately 3 p.m. on the afternoon of March 16, 2003
I was with Rachel at a water well in the Tel al Sultan district of Rafah. We received a call from our fellow I.S.M. activists
in the Hyy Es Salam district. Our friends informed us that two bulldozers were in that neighborhood threatening to destroy
Rachel and I went
to the Hyy Es Salam area to help our friends. The homes that were being threatened by the bulldozers were the homes of families
which our group had been sleeping with for the past four months. We had personal relationships with these families and defending
their homes from being destroyed was very important to us.
When Rachel and I arrived on the scene, two bulldozers were clearing the ground near to these
homes. There was also a tank Our group began to stand in front of these bulldozers in an attempt to stop them. Generally they
did not stop when we stood in front of them, but continued to push the [dirt?] up from underneath our feet and push us away.
Several times we had to dive away at the last moment in order to avoid being crushed.
This continued for about two and a half hours. All the time the bulldozers
were approaching closer to the families homes. They made several attempts to evade us and outmaneuver us. At one point, Will
from the United States was nearly crushed between the bulldozer and a pile of razor wire. The bulldozer stopped at the last
minute in Will's case. If it had moved any closer he would have been impaled by the razor wire.
The bulldozers destroyed part of a home which was unoccupied. Members
of our group including myself stood inside this home in an attempt to stop them. One bulldozer then moved toward the house
of Dr. Samir, one of the families with whom we had relations.
Rachel was standing in front of this home. As the bulldozer approached she stood her ground. Rachel
was wearing an orange fluorescent jacket. She was clearly visible to the bulldozer driver as well as to the soldiers in the
The bulldozer began to push
up the ground from beneath her feet. The pile of earth was mounding up and she tried her best to stay on top of it. As the
ground continued to move Rachel went down on her knees.
The bulldozer continued to move forward. Rachel began to become buried beneath the dirt. Still it did not stop.
Finally, Rachel was beneath the
The bulldozer did not
even pick up its blade. It ran over her completely and continued to advance. It stopped when she was completely underneath
the body of the bulldozer. It then moved backwards over her body. It moved clear of her and backed away.
At this point I and my friends ran to her. She was obviously in terrible
condition. Her upper lip had been split open and was bleeding. We called an ambulance immediately and continued to monitor
her vital signs. She was breathing but she was losing consciousness rapidly. Within a minute she was no longer able to give
us her name or speak. We continued to talk to her encouraging her, breathing with her, and telling her we loved her.
The ambulance staff came and took her to the hospital. Once there she
died within twenty minutes or less.
Greg Schnabel 16 March 2003
RICHARD PURSSELL EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT
British citizen from Brighton, England. A Construction Worker born on 12 October 1971.
I am Richard Purssell of the United Kingdom. I am here in Rafah to demonstrate
solidarity with the Palestinian people and take non-
action to confront the illegal Israeli occupation. I am making this statement at 11:30 on the night after the incident.
On 16 March 2003 myself, Rachel Corrie, and Greg were acting as human
shields at the well in Tel al Sultan. We received a call at 2.30 from other ISM activists who were working in the Hyy es Salaam
area that bulldozers had been spotted. We arrived ten minutes later at the area, which was near both to houses we were protecting
and houses which had been destroyed in the previous week. Using a megaphone and banners to identify ourselves as international
nonviolent activists we moved forward to confront the bulldozers.
For two hours we attempted at great risk to ourselves to obstruct and frustrate the bulldozers
in their work. One activist from the U.S was trapped underneath barbed wire. The bulldozers seemed to be concentrating on
ploughing up the land in front of the buildings whilst making occasional runs at houses.
There were two bulldozers one marked 94 serial number 949623 the other
95 serial no. 949645. There was one tank but I do not recall its number. I noted these numbers prior to the incident.
At approximately 1645 a bulldozer began making a straight run at a house
which I now know to belong to a doctor Izmir [sic: Dr. Samir]. At this point the majority of the group were positioned around
a wrecked building. We were all within 70 metres of each other. I was to the left of the ruined building and to the right
of Dr. [Samir]'s house. Rachel was approximately 15 metres in front of me.
The ground was level and the light was good, I had a good view of everything which
happened. Rachel was wearing an orange fluorescent jacket with reflective strips (the type worn by construction workers for
high visibility and the avoidance of accidents).
Rachel stood to confront the bulldozer and it approached her at about five or six miles an hour. The blade on
the bulldozer was dipped into the ground and was scooping up soil.
As the bulldozer came nearer the pile mounted up. Rachel climbed up the pile and at the
one stage was looking into the cabin window. There is no way that the driver could not have known she was there. The bulldozer
continued driving forwards and Rachel turned round to face in my direction.
She began to slide down the pile, however as soon as her feet touched the ground
for some reason she fell forward. Maybe her foot was caught or the weight of the soil pushed her forward. At this point the
panic on her face was obvious.
were all shouting, screaming and gesturing by this stage. The earth was totally pushed over her, engulfing her. She was lost
to my sight. I noticed that the driver had not lifted the blade. The machine rolled straight over her and continued for a
little way. It then reversed over her and retreated about twenty metres. Rachel was left in its tracks, bleeding from her
mouth and twisted.
The tank came
over to where she was briefly and then retreated to the border fence with the two bulldozers. At no point did any member of
the Israeli forces enquire as to Rachel's well-being or offer any assistance.
Eventually we were able to call an ambulance and one arrived shortly. Rachel was
taken to hospital in Rafah, where I heard she had died.
I certify that this is a true account to the best of my recollection.
R.J.A. Purssell 16 March 2003
JOE SMITH EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT
United States citizen from Kansas City, MO, USA, born 25 April 1981.
I have never experienced anything like this in my life. I've never had
someone close to me die before, let alone be brutally murdered right in front of my eyes. I don't even know how to react.
I went through stages of dumbfounded shock and serious crying fits. I had no chance to be alone at all, I was either surrounded
by Palestinians or on the phone with media. I chose the latter. I was doing interviews non-stop starting 30 min. after her
death, all the way until midnight, and then starting again at 6am and continuing all day today. I literally would never hang
up the phone, just switch to an incoming call on call waiting. When I did finally get a second to breath, I'd have like 30
Anyway, it was a
bit therapeutic I think, telling the story over and over, and interviews make me feel [as if I was doing something] important
[in the aftermath]. All this thing is is a media event now, so we must continue a campaign as hard as possible before the
new and bigger tragedy, the Iraq war, begins.
The few hours I had off interviews last night between midnight and 4am, was spent organizing today's events,
press conferences, live TV/radio interviews, a demonstration and the beginnings of the traditional Palestinian 3-day ceremony.
Now we're preparing for a serious influx of people from the West Bank and Israel, as well as some people from abroad, possibly
including her family.
is really getting to me. I couldn't sleep for the 2 hours I was allowed because my body won't relax. My heart is racing and
shake a lot, and even have trouble breathing. My jaw is the worst though. It won't losen to save my life, and it hurts like
hell, especially when I chew (when i get time to grab a falafel sandwhich). I've never experienced physical stress and tension
We thought this might
happen eventually. We often spoke in the abstract that eventually one of us would get killed, but we always figured they'd
shoot us, or it'd be an "accident", like in a house that is missiled or a stray bullet gets an unlucky activist.
I never dreamed it'd be like this, the intentional crushing of a human being.
I do believe it was intentional. I saw it, and I know he saw her, I know he did,
and I know he knew she was still under the bulldozer when it backed up without raising its blade.
I don't know if he wanted to kill her, or if he was just focused on doing
his work and didn't care if he killed her or not, I don't know which is scarier.
I don't feel like telling the whole detailed story right now. I promise that for
the record I will tell it in detail, but give me a few days. I just want to quickly dispel a few myths you may have heard
in the media.
She did not "trip
and fall" in front of the bulldozer. She sat down in front of it, well in advance, wearing one of the orange flouro jackets
I got in Amsterdam. (By the way, I took the pictures you may have seen of her, standing with the megaphone in front of the
bulldozer, and the ones of her friends helping her.)
He clearly saw her, and continued to drive until she was forced onto the top of the dirt he was pushing, elevating
her so much that she was at eye level with the bulldozer's cab, he could see right into her eyes.
He continued forward, pulling her underneath the dirt, and out of his
vision. He continued forward, crushing her underneath the weight of the blade. He continued forward, until she was well underneath
the bulldozer. It was then quite clear that she was nowhere but underneath him, but he proceded to back up, without lifting
the blade, crushing her again.
beleive that it was the combination of these two crushings that caused her death. She was defending the house of a physician.
We've all stayed in the house, we know that there are no weapons of any kind there. Just a middle aged doctor and his lovely
family. They want to demolish it because it happens to lie near the border, and they're systematically demolishing all the
houses near the border.
nothing to do with retaliatory or preventative operations. They were not searching for tunnels or bombs either. We know what
this looks like, they do it a lot. It involves armored drills and bomb dogs and shooting at the ground, none of which was
Its just a further
example of the Israeli military's blatent lies.
There was never any gunfire from any Palestinians, the only gunfire came from the tank, when it shot at the ground
a few times in order to scare us. But even this was extremely minimal.
The Palestinian that was killed was in a totally seperate area of Rafah, and was killed
by blanket fire into the area, not in a gun battle. It is quite unfortunate that his death probably wouldn't even be reported
anywhere if it weren't for [what happened to] Rachel.
The Palestinians have been incredible. They are quite used to this, as thousands of their people have died. Indeed
I now know how every Palestinian family feels, as many of them have lost multiple freinds and family to this occupation.
Their support has been invaluable however, they've gone to full lengths
to give her a proper demonstration and ceremony, like they give every other Shahid (martyr). They've made a nice poster of
her as well, which will be posted in all of the places she has been, and there's ganna be a big march and demonstration this
afternoon. We're planning actions for the coming days as well. We're planning to occupy the murder sight, and line the whole
area with flowers, and erect a nice visible memorial as well. I don't know what this means for us now.
It could go one of two ways. It could make us more effective, because
now they know that we are not going to move, and that we will risk our safety to oppose them. Thus they will be forced to
be more careful, and withdraw sooner. Or, it could mean that they know longer care, and will willfully kill and injur us without
hesitation. This would render us useless as human shields, and our work would be impossible. So we'll have to see.
I know we'll be much more careful, and have long talks about tactics,
and with what people are still comfortable. I have a lot of thinking and considering to do. But we're not leaving, that's
for sure. We're dedicated to staying here, especially with the Iraq war and risk of full invasion of Gaza. If any of you heard
anything else and have questions, I'd gladly respond to them.
I'm sure you'll keep me in your thoughts, I need all the energy I can get as I deal with this trauma. My close freinds and
family have been wonderful, and havn't freaked out on me like I thought they would. But I share their concern. Ok, I must
go the press conference. Below is an article by my professor from Evergeen, its a fabulous analysis of Sharon's occupation
and his attacks on innocent civilians.
Joe Smith 17 March
[Note: We've not seen the article by his
professor. Perhaps a search will be fruitful, and perhaps we can post here. This last account is short. We're posting
as it also had phone numbers for contacts. This was received as a forwarded e-mail from Biophilos on March 17th, 2003. Bio
Thanks Nicolina for this valuable information.
I hope that this girl's death does not go in vain as so many innocents with good will and hearts have. The Juzis here
in the U.S. have a virtual grip upon the pocketbook, politics, media, and thoughts of Americans, not counting the use
of fear and intimidation tactics which they reap on those courageous enough to stand up to the brainwashed and hypnotically
compliant who question none of their wrongdoings.
The Palestinian People are victims of Zionist Jewish Racism and Brutal Invasion, and the fact that
American's thru the cunning manipulation of their Christian Faith's and Media distortions are supporting it makes a disgusting
picture of grovelling, fawning , pandering and hypocrisy.
American People need to do is to wake up and realize that Israel is not the friend of America, nor of anybody but themselves.
The fact that American's trying out of concern and compassion to put their life on the line to move some initiative
towards peace and being run over by bulldozers shows the degree of callous racism, and non-concern that Israelis have
for Americans. All they are is a victim to be used for their racial goals and agendas. It is time to wake up America.
This non-sense has gone far enough.
[Palestinian_Confessions] The full story about the death of Rachel Corrie in Gaza written by an
eye witness who also happens to be a very good friend of mine.
Here is some information about the killing of International Solidarity
Movement activist Rachel Corrie that you may not get from other sources:
First, 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.
Second, although the Israeli Army claims that Rachel was killed accidentally when she ran in front of the
bulldozer, eye-witnesses 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 or fell 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 Al-Najar hospital where she died.
Rachel had been working as an ISM activist in Rafah for seven weeks when she was killed trying to prevent
the demolition of Palestinian homes and property in the Al-Salaam area of Rafah. House demolitions as collective punishment
of entire communities and therefore a war crime as defined by the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.
This is not the first confrontation of its kind. On Feb. 14, 2003,
Rachel filed this report:
stood in the path of the bulldozer and were physically pushed with the shovel backwards, taking shelter in a house. The
bulldozer then proceeded on its course, demolishing one side of the house with the internationals inside. The driver then
dropped a sound grenade out of the cab of the bulldozer, and continued to demolish the house, at which point the activists
were able to escape, amid gunfire from the tank."
further information contact:
Tom on +972 52 694 380
Joe on +972 67 628 507
Nick on +972 55 874 693 or
Michael at +972-2-2774602 or +972-67-862 439
"You have a right to defend yourself. You don't
have a right to occupy people, deny them their human rights and then cry foul when they resist. That's
not the right to self defense, that's the right to repression. That's what the Israelis are asking for
here - 'let's do away with these dissenters, these Palestinians, and call it defense'."
...Yousef Munayyer (U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation)
Click on this text to watch: Rachel Corrie - Death of an Idealist (2004)
Click on this text to watch an interview with Rachel two days before she was murdered...
Click on this text to watch a Youtube video: Let Me Stand Alone - The Journals of Rachel Corrie...
Emails From Palestine
February 7 2003
Hi friends and family, and others,
I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few
words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what’s going on here when I sit down to write
back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don’t know if many of the children here
have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly
from the near horizons. I think, although I’m not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand
that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here,
and many of the children murmur his name to me – Ali – or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children
also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me, “Kaif Sharon?” “Kaif Bush?” and they
laugh when I say, “Bush Majnoon”, “Sharon Majnoon” back in my limited arabic. (How is Sharon? How
is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.) Of course this isn’t quite what I believe, and some of the adults who have
the English correct me: “Bush mish Majnoon” … Bush is a businessman. Today I tried to learn to say, “Bush
is a tool,” but I don’t think it translated quite right. But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more
aware of the workings of the global power structure than I was just a few years ago.
Nevertheless, no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary
viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless
you see it – and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality: what with
the difficulties the Israeli army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact that I have money to
buy water when the army destroys wells, and the fact, of course, that I have the option of leaving. Nobody in my family has
been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown. I have a
home. I am allowed to go see the ocean. Ostensibly it is still quite difficult for me to be held for months or years on
end without a trial (this because I am a white US citizen, as opposed to so many others). When I leave for school or work
I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting halfway between Mud Bay and downtown
Olympia at a checkpoint with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when
I’m done. So, if I feel outrage at arriving and entering briefly and incompletely into the world in which these children
exist, I wonder conversely about how it would be for them to arrive in my world.
They know that children in the United States don‚t usually have their
parents shot and they know they sometimes get to see the ocean. But once you have seen the ocean and lived in a silent place,
where water is taken for granted and not stolen in the night by bulldozers, and once you have spent an evening when you
haven‚t wondered if the walls of your home might suddenly fall inward waking you from your sleep, and once you‚ve
met people who have never lost anyone˜once you have experienced the reality of a world that isn‚t surrounded
by murderous towers, tanks, armed “settlements” and now a giant metal wall, I wonder if you can forgive the
world for all the years of your childhood spent existing—just existing—in resistance to the constant stranglehold
of the world‚s fourth largest military—backed by the world’s only superpower—in it‚s attempt
to erase you from your home. That is something I wonder about these children. I wonder what would happen if they really
knew. As an afterthought to all this rambling, I am in Rafah: a city of about 140,000 people, approximately 60% of whom are
refugees – many of whom are twice or three times refugees. Rafah existed prior to 1948, but most of the people here
are themselves or are descendants of people who were relocated here from their homes in historic Palestine—now Israel.
Rafah was split in half when the Sinai returned to Egypt.
Currently, the Israeli army is building a fourteen-meter-high wall between Rafah in Palestine
and the border, carving a no-mans land from the houses along the border. Six hundred and two homes have been completely
bulldozed according to the Rafah Popular Refugee Committee. The number of homes that have been partially destroyed is greater.
Rafah existed prior to 1948, but most of the people here are themselves or are descendants of people who were relocated
here from their homes in historic Palestine—now Israel. Rafah was split in half when the Sinai returned to Egypt.
Currently, the Israeli army is building a
fourteen-meter-high wall between Rafah in Palestine and the border, carving a no-mans land from the houses along the border.
Six hundred and two homes have been completely bulldozed according to the Rafah Popular Refugee Committee. The number of
homes that have been partially destroyed is greater. Today, as I walked on top of the rubble where homes once stood, Egyptian
soldiers called to me from the other side of the border, “Go! Go!” because a tank was coming. And then waving
and “What’s your name?”. Something disturbing about this friendly curiosity. It reminded me of how much,
to some degree, we are all kids curious about other kids. Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into the path
of tanks. Palestinian kids shot from the tanks when they peak out from behind walls to see what’s going on. International
kids standing in front of tanks with banners. Israeli kids in the tanks anonymously – occasionally shouting and also
occasionally waving – many forced to be here, many just agressive – shooting into the houses as we wander away.
In addition to the constant presence of tanks
along the border and in the western region between Rafah and settlements along the coast, there are more IDF towers here
than I can count—along the horizon, at the end of streets. Some just army green metal. Others these strange spiral
staircases draped in some kind of netting to make the activity within anonymous. Some hidden, just beneath the horizon of
buildings. A new one went up the other day in the time it took us to do laundry and to cross town twice to hang banners.
Despite the fact that some of the areas nearest the border are the original Rafah with
families who have lived on this land for at least a century, only the 1948 camps in the center of the city are Palestinian
controlled areas under Oslo. But as far as I can tell, there are few if any places that are not within the sights of some
tower or another. Certainly there is no place invulnerable to apache helicopters or to the cameras of invisible drones we
hear buzzing over the city for hours at a time.
I’ve been having trouble accessing news about the outside world here, but I hear an escalation of war on Iraq
is inevitable. There is a great deal of concern here about the “reoccupation of Gaza”. Gaza is reoccupied every
day to various extents but I think the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets and remain here instead of entering
some of the streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days to observe and shoot from the edges of the communities.
If people aren’t already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope
you will start. I also hope you‚ll come here. We’ve been wavering between five and six internationals. The neighborhoods
that have asked us for some form of presence are Yibna, Tel El Sultan, Hi Salam, Brazil, Block J, Zorob, and Block O. There
is also need for constant nighttime presence at a well on the outskirts of Rafah since the Israeli army destroyed the two
the municipal water office the wells destroyed last week provided half of Rafah’s water supply. Many of the communities
have requested internationals to be present at night to attempt to shield houses from further demolition. After about ten
p.m. it is very difficult to move at night because the Israeli army treats anyone in the streets as resistance and shoots
at them. So clearly we are too few.
continue to believe that my home, Olympia, could gain a lot and offer a lot by deciding to make a commitment to Rafah in
the form of a sister-community relationship. Some teachers and children’s groups have expressed interest in e-mail
exchanges, but this is only the tip of the iceberg of solidarity work that might be done.
Many people want their voices to be heard, and I think we need to use some
of our privilege as internationals to get those voices heard directly in the US, rather than through the filter of well-meaning
internationals such as myself. I am just beginning to learn, from what I expect to be a very intense tutelage, about the
ability of people to organize against all odds, and to resist against all odds.
Thanks for the news I’ve been getting from friends in the US. I just
read a report back from a friend who organized a peace group in Shelton, Washington, and was able to be part of a delegation
to the large January 18th protest in Washington DC.
People here watch the media, and they told me again today that there have been large protests in the United States
and “problems for the government” in the UK. So thanks for allowing me to not feel like a complete Polyanna
when I tentatively tell people here that many people in the United States do not support the policies of our government,
and that we are learning from global examples how to resist.
My love to everyone. My love to my mom. My love to smooch. My love to fg and barnhair and sesamees
and Lincoln School. My love to Olympia.
February 20 2003
Now the Israeli army has actually dug up the road to Gaza, and both of the major checkpoints are closed. This means
that Palestinians who want to go and register for their next quarter at university can’t. People can’t get to
their jobs and those who are trapped on the other side can’t get home; and internationals, who have a meeting tomorrow
in the West Bank, won’t make it. We could probably make it through if we made serious use of our international white
person privilege, but that would also mean some risk of arrest and deportation, even though none of us has done anything
The Gaza Strip is divided
in thirds now. There is some talk about the “reoccupation of Gaza”, but I seriously doubt this will happen, because
I think it would be a geopolitically stupid move for Israel right now. I think the more likely thing is an increase in smaller
below-the-international-outcry-radar incursions and possibly the oft-hinted “population transfer”.
I am staying put in Rafah for now, no plans
to head north. I still feel like I’m relatively safe and think that my most likely risk in case of a larger-scale
incursion is arrest. A move to reoccupy Gaza would generate a much larger outcry than Sharon’s assassination-during-peace-negotiations/land
grab strategy, which is working very well now to create settlements all over, slowly but surely eliminating any meaningful
possibility for Palestinian self-determination. Know that I have a lot of very nice Palestinians looking after me. I have
a small flu bug, and got some very nice lemony drinks to cure me. Also, the woman who keeps the key for the well where we
still sleep keeps asking me about you. She doesn’t speak a bit of English, but she asks about my mom pretty frequently
– wants to make sure I’m calling you.
Love to you and Dad and Sarah and Chris and everybody.
February 27 2003
(To her mother)
you. Really miss you. I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside. Sometimes
the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again – a little
bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here. Yesterday, I watched a father lead his two
tiny children, holding his hands, out into the sight of tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought
his house was going to be exploded. Jenny and I stayed in the house with several women and two small babies. It was our mistake
in translation that caused him to think it was his house that was being exploded. In fact, the Israeli army was in the process
of detonating an explosive in the ground nearby – one that appears to have been planted by Palestinian resistance.
This is in the area where Sunday about 150
men were rounded up and contained outside the settlement with gunfire over their heads and around them, while tanks and
bulldozers destroyed 25 greenhouses – the livelihoods for 300 people. The explosive was right in front of the greenhouses
– right in the point of entry for tanks that might come back again. I was terrified to think that this man felt it
was less of a risk to walk out in view of the tanks with his kids than to stay in his house. I was really scared that they
were all going to be shot and I tried to stand between them and the tank. This happens every day, but just this father walking
out with his two little kids just looking very sad, just happened to get my attention more at this particular moment, probably
because I felt it was our translation problems that made him leave.
I thought a lot about what you said on the phone about Palestinian violence not helping
the situation. Sixty thousand workers from Rafah worked in Israel two years ago. Now only 600 can go to Israel for jobs.
Of these 600, many have moved, because the three checkpoints between here and Ashkelon (the closest city in Israel) make
what used to be a 40-minute drive, now a 12-hour or impassible journey. In addition, what Rafah identified in 1999 as sources
of economic growth are all completely destroyed – the Gaza international airport (runways demolished, totally closed);
the border for trade with Egypt (now with a giant Israeli sniper tower in the middle of the crossing); access to the ocean
(completely cut off in the last two years by a checkpoint and the Gush Katif settlement). The count of homes destroyed in
Rafah since the beginning of this intifada is up around 600, by and large people with no connection to the resistance but
who happen to live along the border. I think it is maybe official now that Rafah is the poorest place in the world. There
used to be a middle class here – recently. We also get reports that in the past, Gazan flower shipments to Europe were
delayed for two weeks at the Erez crossing for security inspections. You can imagine the value of two-week-old cut flowers
in the European market, so that market dried up. And then the bulldozers come and take out people’s vegetable farms
and gardens. What is left for people? Tell me if you can think of anything. I can’t.
If any of us had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with
children in a shrinking place where we knew, because of previous experience, that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could
come for us at any moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had been cultivating for however long, and did this while
some of us were beaten and held captive with 149 other people for several hours – do you think we might try to use
somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained? I think about this especially when I see orchards and greenhouses
and fruit trees destroyed – just years of care and cultivation. I think about you and how long it takes to make things
grow and what a labour of love it is. I really think, in a similar situation, most people would defend themselves as best
they could. I think Uncle Craig would. I think probably Grandma would. I think I would.
You asked me about non-violent resistance.
When that explosive detonated yesterday it broke all the windows in the
family’s house. I was in the process of being served tea and playing with the two small babies. I’m having a
hard time right now. Just feel sick to my stomach a lot from being doted on all the time, very sweetly, by people who are
facing doom. I know that from the United States, it all sounds like hyperbole. Honestly, a lot of the time the sheer kindness
of the people here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the wilful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal
to me. I really can’t believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry about it. It
really hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be. I felt after
talking to you that maybe you didn’t completely believe me. I think it’s actually good if you don’t, because
I do believe pretty much above all else in the importance of independent critical thinking. And I also realise that with
you I’m much less careful than usual about trying to source every assertion that I make. A lot of the reason for that
is I know that you actually do go and do your own research. But it makes me worry about the job I’m doing. All of the
situation that I tried to enumerate above – and a lot of other things – constitutes a somewhat gradual –
often hidden, but nevertheless massive – removal and destruction of the ability of a particular group of people to
survive. This is what I am seeing here. The assassinations, rocket attacks and shooting of children are atrocities –
but in focusing on them I’m terrified of missing their context. The vast majority of people here – even if they
had the economic means to escape, even if they actually wanted to give up resisting on their land and just leave (which appears
to be maybe the less nefarious of Sharon’s possible goals), can’t leave. Because they can’t even get into
Israel to apply for visas, and because their destination countries won’t let them in (both our country and Arab countries).
So I think when all means of survival is cut off in a pen (Gaza) which people can’t get out of, I think that qualifies
as genocide. Even if they could get out, I think it would still qualify as genocide. Maybe you could look up the definition
of genocide according to international law. I don’t remember it right now. I’m going to get better at illustrating
this, hopefully. I don’t like to use those charged words. I think you know this about me. I really value words. I
really try to illustrate and let people draw their own conclusions.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m
witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness
of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making
this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar
and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel.
Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This
is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they
came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me. This is not
what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake and said: “This is the wide world and I’m coming to it.” I did
not mean that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist
in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide. More big explosions somewhere in the distance outside.
When I come back from Palestine, I probably
will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is
one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their
racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide
which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.
I love you and Dad. Sorry for the diatribe. OK, some strange men next to
me just gave me some peas, so I need to eat and thank them.
February 28 2003
(To her mother)
Thanks, Mom, for your response to my email. It really helps me to get word from you, and from other people who care
After I wrote to you
I went incommunicado from the affinity group for about 10 hours which I spent with a family on the front line in Hi Salam
– who fixed me dinner – and have cable TV. The two front rooms of their house are unusable because gunshots have
been fired through the walls, so the whole family – three kids and two parents – sleep in the parent’s
bedroom. I sleep on the floor next to the youngest daughter, Iman, and we all shared blankets. I helped the son with his
English homework a little, and we all watched Pet Semetery, which is a horrifying movie. I think they all thought it was
pretty funny how much trouble I had watching it. Friday is the holiday, and when I woke up they were watching Gummy Bears
dubbed into Arabic. So I ate breakfast with them and sat there for a while and just enjoyed being in this big puddle of
blankets with this family watching what for me seemed like Saturday morning cartoons. Then I walked some way to B’razil,
which is where Nidal and Mansur and Grandmother and Rafat and all the rest of the big family that has really wholeheartedly
adopted me live. (The other day, by the way, Grandmother gave me a pantomimed lecture in Arabic that involved a lot of blowing
and pointing to her black shawl. I got Nidal to tell her that my mother would appreciate knowing that someone here was giving
me a lecture about smoking turning my lungs black.) I met their sister-in-law, who is visiting from Nusserat camp, and played
with her small baby.
English gets better every day. He’s the one who calls me, “My sister”. He started teaching Grandmother
how to say, “Hello. How are you?” In English. You can always hear the tanks and bulldozers passing by, but all
of these people are genuinely cheerful with each other, and with me. When I am with Palestinian friends I tend to be somewhat
less horrified than when I am trying to act in a role of human rights observer, documenter, or direct-action resister. They
are a good example of how to be in it for the long haul. I know that the situation gets to them – and may ultimately
get them – on all kinds of levels, but I am nevertheless amazed at their strength in being able to defend such a large
degree of their humanity – laughter, generosity, family-time – against the incredible horror occurring in their
lives and against the constant presence of death. I felt much better after this morning. I spent a lot of time writing about
the disappointment of discovering, somewhat first-hand, the degree of evil of which we are still capable. I should at least
mention that I am also discovering a degree of strength and of basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of
circumstances – which I also haven’t seen before. I think the word is dignity. I wish you could meet these people.
Maybe, hopefully, someday you will.
February 8 2003
I got a number of very thoughtful responses to the email I sent out last
night, most of which I don’t have time to respond to right now. Thanks everyone for the encouragement, questions, criticism.
Daniel’s response was particularly inspiring to me and deserves to be shared. The resistance of Israeli Jewish people
to the occupation and the enormous risk taken by those refusing to serve in the Israeli military offers an example, especially
for those of us living in the United States, of how to behave when you discover that atrocities are being commited in your
Received by Rachel on February 7 2003
I am a reserve first sergeant in the IDF.
The military orisons are filling up with conscientious objectors. Many of them are reservists with families. These are men
who have proven their courage under fire in the past. Some have been in jail for more than six months with no end in sight.
The amount of AWOLS and refusals to serve
are unprecedented in our history as a nation as well as are refusals to carry out orders that involve firing on targets
where civilians may be harmed. In a time now in Israel where jobs are scarce and people are losing their homes and businesses
to Sharon’s vendetta, many career soldiers – among them pilots and intelligence personnel – have chosen
jail and unemployment over what they could only describe as murder.
I am supposed to report to the Military Justice department – it is my job to
hunt down runaway soldiers and bring them in. I have not reported in for 18 months. Instead, I’ve been using my talents
and credentials to document on film and see with my own eyes what the ISMers and other internationals have claimed my boys
have been up to.
I love my country.
I believe that Israel is under the leadership of some very bad people right now. I believe that settlers and local police
are in collusion with each other and that the border police are acting disgracefully. They are an embarrassment to 40% of
the Israeli public and they would be an embarrassment to 90% of the population if they knew what we know.
Please document as much as you can and do not embellish anything with creative
writing. The media here serves as a very convincing spin control agent through all of this. Pass this on letter to your friends.
There are many soldiers among the ranks of those serving in the occupied territories that are sickened by what they see.
There is a code of honor in the IDF –
it is called “tohar haneshek” (pronounced TOWhar haNEHshek). It’s what we say to a comrade who is about
to do something awful, like kill an unarmed prisoner or carry out an order that violates decency. It means literally “the
purity of arms”.
phrase that speaks to a soldier in his own language is “degle shachor” (DEHgel ShaHor) – it means “black
flag”. If you say, “Atah MeTachat Degle Shahor” it means “you are carrying out immoral orders”.
It’s a big deal and a shock to hear it from the lips of “silly misguided foreigners”
At all times possible try to engage the soldiers in conversation. Do not
make the mistake of objectifying them as they have objectified you. Respect is catching, as is disrespect, whether either
be deserved or not.
doing a good thing. I thank you for it.
Continuation of her email to
her mother, February 28 2003
I think I could see a Palestinian state or a democratic Israeli-Palestinian state within my lifetime. I think freedom
for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world. I think it could also be an
incredible inspiration to Arab people in the Middle East, who are struggling under undemocratic regimes which the US supports.
I look forward to increasing numbers of middle-class
privileged people like you and me becoming aware of the structures that support our privilege and beginning to support the
work of those who aren’t privileged to dismantle those structures.
I look forward to more moments like February 15 when civil society wakes up en masse
and issues massive and resonant evidence of it’s conscience, it’s unwillingness to be repressed, and it’s
compassion for the suffering of others. I look forward to more teachers emerging like Matt Grant and Barbara Weaver and
Dale Knuth who teach critical thinking to kids in the United States. I look forward to the international resistance that’s
occurring now fertilizing analysis on all kinds of issues, with dialogue between diverse groups of people. I look forward
to all of us who are new at this developing better skills for working in democratic structures and healing our own racism
and classism and sexism and heterosexism and ageism and ableism and becoming more effective.
One other thing – I think this a lot about public protest –
like the one a few weeks ago here that was attended by only about 150 people. Whenever I organize or participate in public
protest I get really worried that it will just suck, be really small, embarrassing, and the media will laugh at me. Oftentimes,
it is really small and most of the time the media laughs at us. The weekend after our 150-person protest we were invited
to a maybe 2,000 person protest. Even though we had a small protest and of course it didn’t get coverage all over the
world, in some places the word “Rafah” was mentioned outside of the Arab press. Colin got a sign in English
and Arabic into the protest in Seattle that said “Olympia says no to war on Rafah and Iraq”. His pictures went
up on the Rafah-today website that a guy named Mohammed here runs. People here and elsewhere saw those pictures.
I think about Glen going out every Friday
for ten years with tagboard signs that addressed the number of children dead from sanctions in Iraq. Sometimes just one
or two people there and everyone thought they were crazy and they got spit upon. Now there are a lot more people on Friday
The juncture between
4th and State is just lined with them, and they get a lot of honks and waves, and thumbs ups. They created an infrastructure
there for other people to do something. Getting spit on, they made it easier for someone else to decide that they could write
a letter to the editor, or stand at the back of a rally – or do something that seems slightly less ridiculous than
standing at the side of the road addressing the deaths of children in Iraq and getting spit upon.
Just hearing about what you are doing makes me feel less alone, less useless,
less invisible. Those honks and waves help. The pictures help. Colin helps. The international media and our government are
not going to tell us that we are effective, important, justified in our work, courageous, intelligent, valuable. We have
to do that for each other, and one way we can do that is by continuing our work, visibly.
I also think it’s important for people in the United States in relative
privilege to realize that people without privilege will be doing this work no matter what, because they are working for their
lives. We can work with them, and they know that we work with them, or we can leave them to do this work themselves and
curse us for our complicity in killing them. I really don’t get the sense that anyone here curses us.
I also get the sense that people here, in
particular, are actually more concerned in the immediate about our comfort and health than they are about us risking our
lives on their behalf. At least that’s the case for me. People try to give me a lot of tea and food in the midst of
gunfire and explosive-detonation.
Rachel’s last email
Thank you for your email. I feel like sometimes I spend all my time propogandizing
mom, and assuming she’ll pass stuff on to you, so you get neglected. Don’t worry about me too much, right now
I am most concerned that we are not being effective. I still don’t feel particularly at risk. Rafah has seemed calmer
lately, maybe because the military is preoccupied with incursions in the north – still shooting and house demolitions
– one death this week that I know of, but not any larger incursions. Still can’t say how this will change if
and when war with Iraq comes.
also for stepping up your anti-war work. I know it is not easy to do, and probably much more difficult where you are than
where I am. I am really interested in talking to the journalist in Charlotte – let me know what I can do to speed
the process along. I am trying to figure out what I’m going to do when I leave here, and when I’m going to leave.
Right now I think I could stay until June, financially. I really don’t want to move back to Olympia, but do need to
go back there to clean my stuff out of the garage and talk about my experiences here. On the other hand, now that I’ve
crossed the ocean I’m feeling a strong desire to try to stay across the ocean for some time. Considering trying to
get English teaching jobs – would like to really buckle down and learn Arabic.
Also got an invitation to visit Sweden on my way back – which I think
I could do very cheaply. I would like to leave Rafah with a viable plan to return, too. One of the core members of our group
has to leave tomorrow – and watching her say goodbye to people is making me realize how difficult it will be. People
here can’t leave, so that complicates things. They also are pretty matter-of-fact about the fact that they don’t
know if they will be alive when we come back here.
I really don’t want to live with a lot of guilt about this place – being able to come and go so easily
– and not going back. I think it is valuable to make commitments to places – so I would like to be able to plan
on coming back here within a year or so. Of all of these possibilities I think it’s most likely that I will at least
go to Sweden for a few weeks on my way back – I can change tickets and get a plane to from Paris to Sweden and back
for a total of around 150 bucks or so. I know I should really try to link up with the family in France – but I really
think that I’m not going to do that. I think I would just be angry the whole time and not much fun to be around. It
also seems like a transition into too much opulence right now – I would feel a lot of class guilt the whole time as
Let me know if you have
any ideas about what I should do with the rest of my life. I love you very much. If you want you can write to me as if I
was on vacation at a camp on the big island of Hawaii learning to weave. One thing I do to make things easier here is to
utterly retreat into fantasies that I am in a Hollywood movie or a sitcom starring Michael J Fox. So feel free to make something
up and I’ll be happy to play along. Much love Poppy.
of the death
of Rachel Corrie Eyad al-Baba APA images US President Barack Obama’s impending visit
to Israel ... and the occupied West Bank lent urgency and focus to the Rachel Corrie Cultural
Center for Children and Youth’s ... addressed to Obama. “Ten years ago, Mr. President, that girl, Rachel
Corrie, was run over by an Israeli ...
Winstanley - 03/18/2013 - 22:02
parents of slain activist Rachel
Corrie received the first ever Rachel Corrie Activism Award. ... The Electronic
Intifada 17 June 2003 Craig & Cindy Corrie At the 20th annual conference ... In this video
clip from the conference, Cindy talks about Rachel’s experiences on the ground in Rafah. View ...
admin - 12/01/2012 - 08:06
Corrie, the parents
of human rights activist Rachel Corrie, days after the Israeli high court heard ... for
The Electronic Intifada). Listen to the entire Electronic Intifada podcast: Rachel Corrie
appeal Cindy Corrie ... of My Name is Rachel Corrie down in Jaffa. And
that was to a packed house, and a wonderful actress who ...
Barrows-Friedman - 06/07/2015 - 02:34
for the death of Rachel
Corrie, an American soldiarity activist who was killed while defending a home in Rafah, ... of the state
or any of its actors. The state did not violate the right of the deceased [Rachel Corrie
... ] to life.” Human rights activists, including Rachel Corrie’s parents and
the Rachel Corrie Foundation, say ...
Nora Barrows-Friedman - 08/03/2015 - 04:04 - 1 comment
podcast: Cindy and Craig Corrie,
the parents of American human rights activist Rachel Corrie, who ... Rachel
Corrie verdict appeal Nora Barrows-Friedman: Can you talk about this appeal, and what it focuses ... reading
from your press release that the Rachel Corrie Foundation just put out: “Testimony
also revealed ...
Nora Barrows-Friedman - 06/07/2015
of Rachel Corrie,
the 23-year-old American activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli armored bulldozer ... the BBC presenter, Martha
Kearney, made this astonishing claim: “Clearly Rachel Corrie was one ... to, his
outright lies being flouted, unchecked, on the BBC? Casting doubt on Rachel Corrie’s
Maureen Clare Murphy - 12/01/2012
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak)
February 11, 2015 “Another Rachel Corrie propaganda story” In an opinion
... called Kayla Mueller’s death “another Rachel Corrie propaganda story in
the making, and the western media ... is falling for it again, or embracing it on purpose.” Rachel
Corrie, an American human rights activist, was ...
Rania Khalek - 06/07/2015 - 02:34 - 18 comments
in Israel. A Rachel
Corrie tribute video? To illustrate the depth of his confusion about Israel, Monteiro ... video about the
death of Rachel Corrie. I got an answer from an Israeli commenter about my age, who ...
you join? You wrote that you made or appeared in a video about Rachel Corrie. Can you provide
a link ...
Benjamin Doherty - 08/03/2015 -
04:04 - 17 comments
Sargisson plays Rachel
Corrie in the 2012 production of “My Name is Rachel Corrie”
at the University ... of Toronto’s Hart House Theatre. (Daniel Di Marco/ Flickr) The family of Rachel
Corrie has published ... was the force for creation of the play My Name is Rachel Corrie.
He did so much for Rachel’s legacy and for us, ...
Abraham Greenhouse - 03/06/2016 - 13:36 - 1 comment
from Rachel Corrie’s
writings in downtown Seattle at rush hour. Many members of the community read ... along with enlarged photos of Rachel
Corrie facing Israeli bulldozers. The event was part ... of the national Rachel’s
Words campaign in protest of the cancellation of “My Name Is Rachel Corrie”
at New York ...
admin - 12/01/2012 - 07:05
is Rachel Corrie
at the Minetta Lane Theater in Greenwich Village. As witnessed earlier this year through ... the swell of controversy surrounding
the production, My Name is Rachel Corrie is a truly unprecedented ... is Rachel Corrie
Sunday, October 15th, 2006- Sunday, December 30th, 2006 Minetta Lane Theatre 18 Minetta Lane New ...
charlotte - 12/01/2012 - 06:09
7 years after the family of Rachel
Corrie and their lawyer filed a lawsuit against Israel for the state’s ... verdict, which was scheduled
for this month. The last court hearing was in July 2011. Rachel Corrie ... of the Fourth
Geneva Convention. The Rachel Corrie Foundation issued a press release yesterday saying
Nora Barrows-Friedman - 08/03/2015 - 04:04
- 1 comment
pose during the Lennon Ono Grant For Peace awards ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland on October ... 9, 2012. Thorvaldur Orn
Kristmundsson AFP/GettyImages From the Rachel Corrie Foundation: (Olympia, ... Washington
– October 9, 2012) – On behalf of peace activist Rachel Corrie, her parents
Craig and Cindy Corrie ...
- 08/03/2015 - 04:04 - 9 comments
of Rachel Corrie.
On the eve of the verdict this brief video offers a powerful reminder of the injustice ... Rachel Corrie
was trying to stop when she was killed. Corrie was a 23-year-old American activist ... supporting injustice.”
Rachel Corrie BDS caterpillar ...
Ali Abunimah - 08/03/2015 - 04:04 - 3 comments
of Rachel Corrie.
Clayton’s complaint was prompted by Amena Saleem’s excellent critique of BBC coverage ... this interview, the
BBC presenter, Martha Kearney, made this astonishing claim: “Clearly Rachel Corrie
was one ... to imply that Israeli soldiers were killed on the same day as Rachel Corrie’s
death. Her question ...
Ali Abunimah - 08/03/2015
- 04:04 - 8 comments
she stood so firm against Rachel
Corrie at Evergreen State College. (Handout) Though crushed ... in the streets for peace and social justice.
Rachel Corrie ... Rachel and carry her along We sing her spirit’s song
What else do we do? Do we drive over other young ...
Clare Murphy - 12/01/2012 - 06:56
The Electronic Intifada 20 May 2004 Peace activist Rachel Corrie at Burning Man.
... wheels. deafened to explosions gunshot music shocking claps drones. Journal entry Rachel Corrie
Rafah, ... in Rafah, Gaza BY TOPIC: Rachel Corrie, Peace Activist Video: Cindy
Corrie reads her daughter’s poem ...
Clare Murphy - 12/01/2012 - 06:50
of 23-year old American ISM activist
Rachel Corrie, twenty international activists from ISM and CPT ... with their ‘blood-stained’ shirts.
Rachel Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer while preventing an
illegal ... the injustices of the Israeli Occupation. Related Links International Solidarity Movement BY TOPIC:
Rachel Corrie ...
- 12/01/2012 - 06:05
they called “Rachel
Corrie pancakes.” Photos of the event were posted on the Facebook page of the “Heritage ...
or apparently carrying guns, is the caption “Afternoon of ‘rachel corrie’
Pancakes and fun!” Rachel Corrie ... as a pancake.” Their celebration and joking
about Rachel Corrie’s death is utterly vile and reflects the culture ...
Ali Abunimah - 06/07/2015 - 02:34 - 18 comments
Center for Constitutional Rights 16 March 2005 FAMILY OF RACHEL CORRIE CHARGES
BULLDOZER ... 2003, Rafah, Occupied Gaza. Rachel Corrie opposes the potential destruction
of this home (to the west ... Illinois-based Caterpillar, Inc. on behalf of the parents of Rachel Corrie,
the 23-year-old American peace ...
- 12/01/2012 - 06:06
THE TYPE OF CRETIN
DRIVES A D-9
Attempting To Erase Palestine...
"I made them a stadium in the middle of the camp" / Tsadok Yeheskeli, Yediot Aharonot
is a unique document. It was published in Yediot Aharonot, Israel's most widely
circulated tabloid paper, on May 31,
2002. It is the first absolutely sincere Israeli
eye-witness testimony on what actually happened in Jenin, by one of
those who did it and are
proud of it.
Apart from the shocking revelations, this is also a startling human document.
After publication - and in spite of it - the
unit to which the man belongs received from the army command an official citation for outstanding service.
"I entered Jenin, driven by madness, by desperation, in the worst condition possible".
"I told my wife: "If anything happens to me, at least someone
will take care of you".
funny bit was, I didn't even know how to operate the D-9."
"Within two hours, they taught me to drive forwards, and make a flat surface."
"I tied the 'Beitar' football team flag
to the back of the bulldozer and told them: "Move away, let me work.".
"For three days, I just erased and erased"
"I kept drinking whisky to fight off fatigue"
"I didn't see dead bodies under the blade
of the D-9, but I don't care if there where any."
Moshe Nissim, nicknamed "Kurdi Bear
(1) " , the D-9 operator who became the terror of the Jenin refugee camp inhabitants, speaks with no censorship about
his time of glory.
"I entered Jenin driven by madness, by desperation, I felt I have nothing to loose, That even if I 'get it',
no big deal.
I told my wife: "If anything happens to me, at least someone will take care of you!".
I started my reserve service, in the worst conditions
possible. Maybe this is why I didn't give a damn. Not about explosive charges, not about gun fire.
"My life was in deep shit for the past one
and a half years. For almost half a year I am suspended from work as a senior inspector in the Jerusalem municipality.
I worked there
for 17 years, till that cursed day, January the 20 th , exactly my 40 th birthday, when the police came and arrested me.
They said that
I and my colleagues in the inspection unit are suspected for being bribed by contractors and other business owners, that in
fact, we are a corrupted bunch.
"This is a terrible injustice. I am a very friendly guy, and in this job you mix with people
you inspect. But bribery? Me?
I am in debt for hundreds of thousands of Shekels long before all this story. Had I taken bribes, I would have money,
but I couldn't even pay the lawyer. Since then I am suspended. My wife was fired as well, and I have four children to keep.
not the first blow. A few months earlier, I was injured badly in my back, my wife was fired, and my son got run over and had
to be operated to save his leg.
Today he is OK, but his big dream, and mine, that he will once be a player in the Beitar Jerusalem
team, this dream is probably gone forever. Pity. He was really talented. I have already promised him to get him into the children's
"For two years, it is just one blow after another. I haven't got a cent, but I love people. I cannot be indifferent.
Every holiday, I distribute food packages for the needy. The same at Passover. I ran around like crazy. And just then, I started
getting phone calls from the guys: "Kurdi", they said, "we are all being recruited to do reserve service, but
you are not called."
"Truth is, that I understood my commanders. Hey, I've been doing my reserves duty for 16 years now, and I was
useless. I did nothing but make trouble.
"During my obligatory Military service (2) I was constantly sentenced to prison, because
I refused to be a vehicle electrician. In my unit as well, in the bulldozer unit, I was supposed to be an electrician, but
actually, I did nothing, just messed around. I would come to the unit, and immediately open a card table, open a bottle. If
any officer would dare send me to guard duty, I would send him first. Kurdi always did his thing.
If I felt like going to a Beitar football match,
or going home, no one could stop me. I would just start the car and go.
"Truth is, they didn't even know me. When I am given responsibility,
I can act differently, In the "Versailles" disaster (3) I was in charge of all the inspection team on location.
When I was seen by one of the guys of my military unit, he was shocked.
He said: "In the army you can't tie your shoelaces, and here
you are a big chief!"
The truth is that when I finally decide to do something, I am one stubborn guy. I will go for it till the end. This
time was one of those moments. What haven ' t I done for them to take me? I sent the guys to twist the battalion commander's
arm, I phoned the company commander, I drove them mad. "I promise to work", I pleaded with the battalion commander.
Finally, he agreed to give me a chance.
"I said to myself: "Kurdi, you can't let them down. No more running wild!".
The speaker is
Moshe Nissim, AKA "Moshe Nissim Beitar Jerusalem".
In the Jenin refugee camp, he was called, over the military radio:
Kurdi, because this is the name he insisted on. Bear, after the D-9 he was driving, demolishing house after house.
There was not one soldier in Jenin that did not
hear this name. Kurdi Bear was considered the most devoted, brave and probably the most destructive operator.
A man, that the
Jenin camp inquiry committee, would want very much to have a word with.
For 75 hours, with no break, he sat on the huge bulldozer, charges
exploding around him, and erased house after house.
His story, which he tells openly and with no inhibitions, is far from being
a regular war myth. Medals, so it seems, will not be awarded for it. (Actually, his company was later awarded a citation for
"The funny bit is, I didn't even know how to operate the D-9. I have never been an operator.
But I begged them to give me a chance to learn.
Before we went into Shekhem (Nablus), I asked some of the guys to teach me.
They sat with me for two hours. They taught me how to drive forwards and make a flat surface.
"I took it on with no problem and told them:
'That's it. Move aside and let me work.'.
This is what happened in Jenin as well. I have never demolished a house before, or even a wall.
I got into the D-9 with a friend of mine, a Yemenite. I let him work for an hour, and then told him, 'OK. I got the idea.'
"But the real
thing started the day 13 of our soldiers were killed up that alley in the Jenin refugee camp.
"When they brought us in, I knew that nobody
wanted to work with me. They were afraid to be with me on the bulldozer. Not only did I have a reputation of a troublemaker,
but also of a man who knows no fear, and they were right about that. I really have no fear. They knew I had no fear, that
I don't give a damn, and that I can go anywhere, without asking questions, without an escort of tanks or APC's or anything.
Once, in Jenin, I left the tank that escorted us everywhere. I wanted to have a spin around the camp, see what's going on.
Gadi, the other operator who was with me, nearly fainted. He started going mad: 'Get back,' he shouted, 'we have no escort!',
but I had to get to know the place better, to find an exit, just in case we needed one. I was not afraid to die. At least
I was insured. This would have helped my family.
"When we got into the camp, the D-9's were already waiting. They
where hauled from Shekhem (Nablus). I got the big D-9 L, me and the Yemenite, my partner. First thing I did was to tie the
Beitar team flag. I had it prepared in advance. I wanted the family to be able to identify me. I told the family and the kids:
'you will see my bulldozer on television. When you see the Beitar flag, that will be me'. And this is exactly what happened.
"I know it
sounds crazy, but for me, to hang this flag was completely natural. Like eating. Here, look at this Beitar pendant around
my neck. It never comes off. Not off me, and not off the kids. I carry the Beitar flags everywhere I go. Look at my car, all
covered with these flags. This is the way I am. I always go to the Beitar matches, in a Beitar colored Galabia (an Arab man's
dress), and a big drum of the Kurds from the C. Once, after our first national championship, I took a ride on the roof of
a car, carrying the drum, all the way to Jerusalem.
"Beitar is a kink in my brain. There is no other way to explain it. After
my family, it is the most important thing in my life, and the only thing that can kill me. In Jenin, I was not scared for
a moment, but I cannot go to the Beitar matches for half a year now. The suspense kills me, and I am constantly afraid of
getting a heart attack. Sometimes, I can walk around 'Teddy' (the main Jerusalem stadium) with a ticket in my hand, and I
can't go in. In one match, in Beit Shean, I fainted after they scored a goal. I know how this sounds, but that's the way it
is. Incurable. At home, they know better than to talk to me if Beitar lost a match.
"So now you understand why the Beitar flag
was on the bulldozer in Jenin. Someone told me that my commander wanted to take it off. But no way. If I had a say in the
matter, there would be a Beitar flag on the top of the mosque in the camp. I tried convincing the Golani (an infantry brigade
of the Israeli army) officer I worked with to let me go up there and hang it, but he refused. He said I would be shot if I
"The flag was the most outstanding object in the camp. Reservists who went home on short leave came back with
Beitar flags, just to imitate me. It made a lot of noise, my flag. The Golani soldiers were stunned. 'You brought Beitar here,'
they told me. And I said: 'I am going to make a Teddy stadium here. Don't you worry.'.
"On the radio, they wanted to call me 'Moshe-Bear',
but I insisted on Kurdi. I told the Golanis, I am Kurdi, and I won't answer if you call me by any other name.' That is how
'Kurdi Bear' was born. This is my name, and I am stubborn.
"In the reserves, they already got used to my signature: 'Moshe
Nissim Beitar Jerusalem'.For a while they asked me to stop it, but finally they just gave up.
"The moment I drove the bulldozer into the
camp, something switched in my head. I went mad. All the desperation, caused by my personal condition, just vanished at once.
All that remained was the anger over what had happened to our guys. Till now I am convinced, and so are the rest of us, that
if we were let into the camp earlier, with all our might, twenty-four soldiers would not have been killed in this camp.
I went into the camp, for the first time, I just thought of how to help these soldiers. These fighters. Children the age of
my son. I couldn't grasp how they worked there, were a charge blows up on you, with every step you take.
"With the first mission I was given, to
open a track inside the camp, I understood what kind of hell this was.
"My first mission, voluntarily, was to bring the soldiers food.
I was told: 'The only way to get food in there, is with the D-9'. They haven't eaten in two days. You couldn't poke your nose
out. I filled the bulldozer till the roof, and drove the bulldozer right up to the door of their post, so that they would
not have to take even one step outside their shelter. One step was enough in order to lose an arm or a leg.
"You could not tell where the charges were.
They (the Palestinian fighters) dug holes in the ground and planted charges. You would just start driving, and you would hit
a 3" pipe, welded on both ends. As you touch them, they go off. Everything was booby trapped. Even the walls of houses.
Just touch them, and they blow up. Or, they would shoot you the moment you entered. There were charges in the roads, under
the floor, between the walls. As you make an opening, something goes off. I saw a bird cage blow up in some pet shop, where
we opened a track. A flying birdcage. I felt sorry for the birds. They just planted charges everywhere.
"For me, in the D-9, it was nothing. I didn't
mind. You would just hear the explosions.
Even 80 Kilos of explosives only rattled the bulldozer's blade. It weighs three and a half tons
(4) . It's a monster. A tank can get hit in the belly. It's belly is sensitive. With the D-9, you should only look out for
RPG's or 50 Kilos of explosives on the roof. But I didn't think about it then. The only thing that mattered was that these
soldiers must not risk themselves just to eat or drink something."
"I fell in love with those children. I was willing to do with
my bulldozer anything they would ask for. I begged for work: 'Let me finish another house, open another track.'
They, in return,
protected me. I would leave the bulldozer without weapons, nothing. Just walked in. They told me I am mad, but I said: 'Leave
me alone. Anyhow, the armored vest will not save me.' This is how I worked. Even without a shirt. Half naked.
"Do you know
how I held out for 75 hours? I didn't get off the bulldozer. I had no problem of fatigue, because I drank whisky all the time.
I had a bottle in the bulldozer at all times. I had put them in my bag in advance. Everybody else took clothes, but I knew
what was waiting for me there, so I took whisky and something to munch on.
"Clothes? Didn't need any. A towel was enough. Anyhow I could
not leave the bulldozer. You open the door, and get a bullet. For 75 hours I didn't think about my life at home, about all
the problems. Everything was erased. Sometimes images of terror attacks in Jerusalem crossed my mind. I witnessed some of
The purity of our weapons
"What is 'opening a track'? You erase buildings. On both sides. There is
no other choice, because the bulldozer was much wider than their alleys. But I am not looking for excuses or anything. You
must 'shave' them. I didn't give a damn about demolishing their houses, because it saved the lives of our soldiers. I worked
where our soldiers were slaughtered. They didn't tell all the truth about what happened. they drilled holes in the walls,
holes for gun barrels. Anyone who escaped the charges, was shot through these holes.
"I had no mercy for anybody. I would erase
anyone with the D-9, just so that our soldiers won't expose themselves to danger. That's what I told them. I was afraid for
our soldiers. You could see them sleeping together, 40 soldiers in a house, all crowded. My heart went out for them. This
is why I didn't give a damn about demolishing all the houses I've demolished - and I have demolished plenty. By the end, I
built the 'Teddy' football stadium there.
"Difficult? No way. You must be kidding. I wanted to destroy everything. I begged the officers,
over the radio, to let me knock it all down; from top to bottom. To level everything. It's not as if I wanted to kill. Just
the houses. We didn't harm those who came out of the houses we had started to demolish, waving white flags. We screwed just
those who wanted to fight.
"No one refused an order to knock down a house. No such thing. When I was told to bring down a house, I took
the opportunity to bring down some more houses; not because I wanted to - but because when you are asked to demolish a house,
some other houses usually obscure it, so there is no other way. I would have to do it even if I didn't want to. They just
stood in the way. If I had to erase a house, come hell or high water - I would do it. And believe me, we demolished too little.
The whole camp was littered with detonation charges. What actually saved the lives of the Palestinians themselves, because
if they had returned to their homes, they would blow up.
"For three days, I just destroyed and destroyed. The whole area. Any house
that they fired from came down. And to knock it down, I tore down some more. They were warned by loudspeaker to get out of
the house before I come, but I gave no one a chance. I didn't wait. I didn't give one blow, and wait for them to come out.
I would just ram the house with full power, to bring it down as fast as possible. I wanted to get to the other houses. To
get as many as possible. Others may have restrained themselves, or so they say. Who are they kidding? Anyone who was there,
and saw our soldiers in the houses, would understand they were in a death trap. I thought about saving them. I didn't give
a damn about the Palestinians, but I didn't just ruin with no reason. It was all under orders.
"Many people where inside houses we stto
demolish. They would come out of the houses we where working on. I didn't see, with my own eyes, people dying under the blade
of the D-9. and I didn't see house falling down on live people. But if there were any, I wouldn't care at all. I am sure people
died inside these houses, but it was difficult to see, there was lots of dust everywhere, and we worked a lot at night. I
found joy with every house that came down, because I knew they didn't mind dying, but they cared for their homes. If you knocked
down a house, you buried 40 or 50 people for generations. If I am sorry for anything, it is for not tearing the whole camp
stop for a moment. Even when we had a two-hour break, I insisted on going on. I prepared a ramp, to destroy a four-story building.
Once I steered sharply to the right, and a whole wall came down. Suddenly I heard shouting on the radio: 'Kurdi, watch it!
It is us!' Turns out there where our guys inside, and they forgot to tell me.
"I had plenty of satisfaction. I really enjoyed it. I remember
pulling down a wall of a four-story building. It came crashing down on my D-9. My partner screamed at me to reverse, but I
let the wall come down on us. We would go for the sides of the buildings, and then ram them. If the job was to hard, we would
ask for a tank shell.
"I couldn't stop. I wanted to work and work. There was this Golani officer who gave us orders by radio - I drove
him mad. I kept begging for more and more missions. On Sunday, after the fighting was over, we got orders to pull our D-9's
out of the area, and stop working on our 'football stadium', because the army didn't want the cameras and press to see us
working. I was really upset, because I had plans to knock down the big sign at the entrance of Jenin - three poles with a
picture of Arafat. But on Sunday, they pulled us away before I had time to do it.
"I bitched them to give me more work. I
would tell them, over the radio: 'Why are you letting me rest? I want more work!' All this time, I was really sick. I had
fever. I got back from Jenin wiped out. Torn to bits. The next day, I went up again. One of the guys was ill, and I volunteered
to help. I got back there. The battalion-commander was in shock when he saw me. The other operators all cracked up and needed
rest, but I refused to leave. I wanted more.
"I had lots of satisfaction in Jenin, lots of satisfaction. It was like getting all the
18 years of doing nothing - into three days. The soldiers came up to me and said: 'Kurdi, thanks a lot. Thanks a lot'. And
I hurt for the Thirteen (5) . If we had moved into the building where they were ambushed, we would have buried all those Palestinians
I kept thinking of our soldiers. I didn't feel sorry for all those Palestinians who were left homeless. I just felt sorry
for their children, who were not guilty. There was one wounded child, who was shot by Arabs. A Golani paramedic came down
and changed his bandages, till he was evacuated. We took care of them, of the children. The soldiers gave them candy. But
I had no mercy for the parents of these children.
I remembered the picture on television, of the mother who said she will bear
children so that they will explode in Tel Aviv. I asked the Palestinian women I saw there: 'Aren't you ashamed?'
"After I finished
the work, I got out of the bulldozer, piled up some clothes on the side of the road, and fell asleep. They looked after me,
so that I won't get run over by a tank or something. All the fatigue of the past 75 hours just landed on me. There was a lot
of excitement in what I did. The fact that I did a good job operating the bulldozer, the soldiers who came to me, after it
was all over, and said: 'thank you'. This was enough for me. I miss them. I've invited all of them for Kubeh at my place.
Their commander, Kobi, the one I worked with throughout the 75 hours, was amazed by the invitation.
'Do you want the entire company to come over
to your house?'
I told him: 'As far as I am concerned, bring the whole battalion.'
I phoned my mother, from the D-9, and told her that the whole battalion
was coming. She said: 'no sweat'. I am waiting for them".
"I know many people will think that my attitude
stems from me being a 'Beitar' and 'Likud' member (6) . It is true. I am heavily on the right. But this has nothing to do
with what I have done in Jenin. I have many Arab friends. And I say, if a man has done nothing - don't touch him. A man who
has done something - hang him, as far as I am concerned. Even a pregnant woman - shoot her without mercy, if she has a terrorist
behind her. This is the way I thought in Jenin. I answered to no one. Didn't give a damn. The main thing was to help our soldiers.
If I had been given three weeks, I would have had more fun. That is, If they would let me tear the whole camp down. I have
the human rights organizations and the UN that messed with Jenin, and turned what we have done there into such an issue, are
just bullshitting, lying. Lots of the walls in those houses just exploded by themselves, at our slightest touch. It is true,
though, that during the last days we smashed the camp. And yes, it was justified. They mowed our soldiers down. They had a
chance to surrender.
"No one expressed any reservations against doing it. Not only me. Who would dare speak? If anyone would as much
as open his mouth, I would have buried him under the D-9. This is the reason I didn't mind seeing the hundred by hundred (7)
we've flattened. As far as I am concerned, I left them with a football stadium, so they can play. This was our gift to the
camp. Better than killing them. They will sit quietly. Jenin will not return to what it use to be."
Two days after getting out of Jenin, 'Kurdi Bear'
was admitted into hospital, suffering from pneumonia. As it turned out, the 75 straight hours in the D-9 took their toll.
Some days after he had returned home, a phone call woke him up in the middle of the night.
"I got home one night, and for some reason,
I couldn't sleep. I was uncomfortable.
Till 4 AM I just wandered about, suddenly the phone rings: 'Are you
I sked what happened. 'Get over here, to the hospital.' 'Tell me the truth' I told her.
'I must know'. She said that: 'Things are not
good. Come'. I speeded to Tel Hashomer hospital. A nurse and a social worker waited for me there. They wanted to tell me that
my son had died. That he came in, dead already. Finished. Serious brain damage. They had planned to ask me to donate his organs.
she ran to the surgery, came back and said that they drained blood from his brain, and that she hopes he will survive. We
will know within 72 hours. We hurried to get an amulet from Rabbi Caduri. It helped with the Beitar team, when we almost dropped
to a lower league. On Friday, they called us back to the hospital. They were in shock: The kid just tore the respiration tubes
off. He woke up."
20 year old Nati Nissim is lying on a bed, in the fifth floor of the Beit Levinstein hospital, draped from head to
toe in the black-yellow uniform of the Beitar football team. "Daddy," he says suddenly "Don't forget. I need
to get to the semi finals." Kurdi Bear, with a bristly chin and red eyes, freezes for a second, and tries to get his
son back into reality. "Nati", he says softly, "I've already told you, Beitar has lost."
Nati laughs. "No
way! I am going to the match!" he says and tries to get up. The father suppresses his frustration, gives up the struggle.
The accident has caused the son to lose his short-term memory. Just like in the movie "Momento", he can recall,
with astonishing precision, any Beitar goal going ten years back or even more, but forgets within minutes who he is talking
with. "Why am I here?" he asks his parents again and again, and bows his head with embarrassment when an acquaintance
reminds him of a conversation they had just the day before.
Kurdi sits in the ward and tries to look as optimistic as possible.
The doctors are talking about a lengthy recovery process. They say that there is no telling if and when Nati's memory will
return to normal. The financial situation is not brieither. He and his wife, Ronit, can hardly buy gas for his battered Subaru
that tries to make the journey from the Castel neighborhood to the hospital. Kurdi wants to build himself a tent in front
of the hospital. For the time being, he sleeps in the car.
"Jenin has strengthened me," he says. "It helped me
forget my troubles. I had hoped it would be some turning point, until this hit me. But what happened to Nati taught me what
really is important. I am living now for my son. The rest is really not important."
The friends from his reserves unit are helping
stood up when it really counted. He was there, in the most trying moment", says Haim Tamam, a soldier serving with him.
"No one has functioned like he has. And I don't know if any of us could go through the nightmare he went through without
putting a bullet through his head. We are all amazed by him."
Yeffet Damti, his bulldozer partner from Jenin, says that one thing
is certain: "On the next mission, I am only going with Kurdi".
Kurdi, for his part, thanks his commanders that gave him the chance.
For the time being,
they are wrapping him with attention and sympathy. They came here, to the hospital, just to be with him. Just so he won't
be lonely. They are talking about raising funds to help him. When they meet him next to his son's bed, back come the memories
from those 75 hours.
The chats around the son's bed continue till the management of the hospital called and begged them to stop bragging
about destroying Jenin. There are Arab therapists who might be hurt, and one of the Arab patients has already complained.
GUSH SHALOM COMMENTS:
This is the incredible, self-told Story of Moshe
Nissim, a fanatic football fan
a permanent troublemaker, who begged his commanders in the reserves unit for a chance to take part in "the action".
he was referring to the wide scale destruction carried out by the Israeli army in many Palestinian locations, especially in
the Jenin Refugee camp.
He was sent into Jenin, riding a 60 ton demolition bulldozer - and equipped with 16 years of pent-up personal frustration,
plenty of whisky and only two hours of training on that armored tool.
"Enough training to drive forwards and make a flat surface",
as he himself testifies in the interview.
His story may be extreme, and this man must answer to many serious questions, but Moshe Nissim
is not much different from thousands of other frustrated and violent football fans, who terrorize cities in Europe after a
But then again, Of course, it is unconceivable, that the British army would send a drunken and frustrated Manchester
fan into Belfast riding a D-9 bulldozer.
Therefore, the really troubling questions must be directed at the system that sent him into
Jenin on this mission of destruction. This system is the Israeli army.
1 - What kind of army puts a 60 ton, multi-million dollar demolishing bulldozer
in the hands of such a person, who has not operated one before?
2 - How could his
rampage go on, without being stopped by any of the officers, at any rank?
3 - How
can such an army insist it is the "most moral army in the world"?
Does this interview shed more light on Israel's refusal to have it's actions in Jenin investigated?
5 - What did happen in Jenin?
We hope that after reading this sickening interview, you will find ways of sending these questions, and others you
might have, to the Israeli government through it's ambassadors, to the Israeli army, who, we are sure, will not tolerate it's
fine tools being used in such a brutal and unlawful manner.
1 ."Bear" is the army code for the D-9 bulldozers. Kurdi means a person of Kurdish origin.
2 . In Israel,
men are recruited at the age of 18 for 3 years of obligatory military service. After being released, at the age of 21, they
enter the reserve corps. The reserve duty usually demands 30 days of service each year, till the age of 45.
3 . In January
2001, a building in Jerusalem collapsed during a wedding in a hall named Versailles. Some 25 people were killed.
4 . The D-9 actually
weighs 48.7 tons, without Armor. The armor brings the weight closer to 60 tons.
5 . The operator is referring to the day in which
13 Israeli soldiers were killed by Palestinian fighters in an ambush in Jenin.
6 . Two right-wing movements. Beitar, the youth
movement, is more nationalistic. Likud is the major right-wing party.
7 . This is the size, in meters, of the part of the camp that was
Activist's Memorial Service Disrupted
By Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
Guardian - UK
Israeli forces fired teargas and stun grenades yesterday
in an attempt to break up a memorial service for Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist killed by an army bulldozer in
Gaza on Sunday.
Witnesses including several dozen foreigners and Palestinian supporters say Israeli armoured vehicles tried
to disperse the gathering at the spot in Rafah refugee camp where Ms Corrie was crushed to death.
The 23 year-old activist with the International Solidarity
Movement (ISM) was trying to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes by the Israelis when she was hit by the bulldozer.
Smith, a young activist from Kansas City, said about 100 people were gathered to lay carnations and erect a small memorial
when the first armoured personnel carrier appeared.
"They started firing teargas and blowing smoke, then they fired sound
grenades. After a while it got hectic so we sat down. Then the tank came over and shot in the air," he said. "It
scared a lot of Palestinians, especially the shooting made a lot of them run and the teargas freaked people out. But most
of us stayed."
Another witness said the army failed to break up the service.
"People were laying carnations at the spot where
Rachel was killed when a tank came and fired teargas right on them. Then a core group of the peace activists took an ISM cloth
banner to the fence and pinned it up.
"The tank chased after them trying to stop them with teargas but the wind was against
the army," she said.
Tensions rose further when a convoy of vehicles, including the bulldozer that killed Ms Corrie, passed the area.
don't think it was deliberate but it was pretty insensitive," said Mr Smith.
"I think they had been destroying some buildings
elsewhere and had to pass by to get back to their base."
The army said it was investigating the incident.