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Caterpillar Targeted in Memory of Rachel Corrie

protestor | 16.03.2004 13:45 | Birmingham

To honour Rachel Corrie, the US activist crushed to death by a D9 Caterpillar-made Israeli military bulldozer a year ago today, protesters intend to occupy Caterpillar Defence Industries in Shrewsbury, leaflet and dialogue with workers on the impact of their work, and grind production lines to a halt for a 3 minute silence in honour of Rachel’s life and the 2,859 Palestinians killed by the Israeli occupation since the 28th of September 2000.

Most of the Protestors have lived in Occupied Palestine with Palestinian families, and witnessed first hand the destruction of homes, olive trees, and lives by Caterpillar bulldozers. Some have felt the violence of the Israeli Occupation on their own bodies and seen friends, including children, shot to death by the Israeli army. Caterpillar is complicit with and aids these war crimes by supplying military equipment to the Israeli army.

Since 1967 Israel has used Caterpillar bulldozers to demolish nearly 9,000 Palestinian homes, leaving more than 50,000 people homeless. Since September 2000, Israel has razed 12,737 homes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the past two years Caterpillar D9s demolished an entire neighbourhood in Jenin refugee camp and uprooted 200,000 Palestinian olive trees.

23-year-old American Peace Activist Rachel Corrie, was killed by a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer on March 16, 2003 as she nonviolently tried to prevent it from destroying a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Caterpillar profits from Israel's construction of the 25 foot high Security Barrier (aka The Apartheid Wall) that will confiscate approximately 40 percent of the West Bank under the guise of enhancing Israeli security. The wall separates Palestinians from their farmlands and cuts some villages off from the rest of the West Bank, rendering as many as 100,000 people completely isolated.

Protestors will remain in occupation until they have met the Director or Caterpillar Defence Industries where they will call on Caterpillar to respect human rights and international Human Rights law by terminating its supply contract with the Israeli Government.



A response from one of the protestors

18.03.2004 10:18

As one of the group who shut down the Caterpillar plant in Shrewsbury, I would like to take the opportunity to address a number of the issues raised on this thread.

Firstly: "Why Caterpillar?"

A lot of the reasoning is explained in the initial post on this thread. Still, Shelley thinks we are "targetting the wrong crowd". I absolutely disagree.

On it's own website Caterpillar claims:

"Caterpillar accepts the responsibilities of global citizenship. Wherever we conduct business or invest our resources around the world, we know that our commitment to financial success must also take into account social priorities."

How then does it tie in with this?:

A company statement issued on Tuesday said: "Caterpillar shares the world's concern over unrest in the Middle East and we certainly have compassion for all those affected by the political strife.

"However, more than two million Caterpillar machines and engines are at work in virtually every country and region of the world each day.

"We have neither the legal right nor the means to police individual use of that equipment.

"We believe any comments on political strife in the region are best left to our governmental leaders who have the ability to impact action and advance the peace process."

They cannot claim to be taking social priorities into account, whilst at the same time continuing to provide equipment to Israel, and then denying responsibility for what Israel does with it thereafter. The action was in support of a growing campaign for Caterpillar to live up to its own ideals, and to stop providing Israel with equipment that is used in its genocidal actions against Palestinian civilians.

Handwringing is not enough. It is time for action.

In Rachel's own words:

"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",3604,916246,00.html

Secondly, the lies about tunnels.

No tunnels have been found near to Dr. Sameers house. The tunnels are a smokescreen, the real purpose of the house demolitions around the area where Rachel was killed is to widen the buffer zone on the border with Israel. A phenomenal number of homes have been destroyed, the neighbourhood has been demolished and thousands of civilians have been rendered homeless.

Rachel was not protecting tunnels, she was protecting homes, families and children.

Rachel was not a "one woman blockade", there were a number of Internationals at the scene. They had been there for hours before Rachel was killed. At one stage Rachel had climbed onto the D9 and attempted to speak to the driver, to appeal to him as a human being. If they were doing something illegal, they should have been arrested, charged and put before the courts. The bulldozer driver continued despite being fully aware that the protestors were there, and they were wearing high-visibility suits that can clearly be seen in the photos. Neither do I but the story about "poor visibility"

If there is any truth in the "poor visibility" claim then Israel has no business using the machinery in civilian areas. END OF!!!!! Of course, the driver can see perfectly well what he is doing. And these actions had been going on for many weeks before Rachel's death.

Finally I applaud the actions of the IMCistas in removing some of the knee-jerk, racist, evil lies that have been disseminated by supporters of genocide on this thread.

Start your own thread. Don't constantly attempt to defile a thread that honour's a courageous, loving and humane woman with your ugly lies, propaganda and deceit.

Respect to Rachel.

Caterpillar out of Israel.

Justice for the people of Palestine!

- Homepage:


Hide the following 49 comments


16.03.2004 14:29

Activists are inside the factory and have halted production. The workers appear to be generally supportive. Two activists have chained themselves to objects inside the building. The managers have triggered the fire alarm in order to evacuate the building.


Good Work!

16.03.2004 14:36

Wish I could be there with you. Hope all goes well. A fitting protest on this
sad day.

For those in London area remember
ISM London have announced a vigil for Rachel Tonight at 6pm
at the US Embassy. Details...



16.03.2004 15:55

Caterpillar plant shut down in Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury Indymedia, 16.03.2004 15:26

Shrewsbury, Northwest of Birmingham, 3:12 pm

12-14 protesters have shut down the Caterpillar plant in Shrewsbury on the first anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death. Plant management have closed the plant completely by triggering the fire alarm. Police, fire engines and a helicopter are on the scene. The protesters walked in calmly through the front gate, and occupied parts of the plant. At least 2 locked themselves onto factory fixtures using bicycle locks, one to the central power controls for the factory.

The protesters are now in the course of being arrested. One indymedia reporter went in with the group and got out, so in theory there should be photos soon.

Rachel Corrie, an American woman working with the International Solidarity Movement against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, was killed by a specially-designed armoured bulldozer manufactured by Caterpillar as she attempted to peacefully stop it from bulldozing a Palestinian home.

shrewsbury indymedia


16.03.2004 16:33

I'm sure that somewhere in the universe Rachel is smiling ...

A very fitting action.

I salute those who took part.

mail e-mail:

Oh Joy !!!!

17.03.2004 01:56

This is just superly fantastically marvelous. To actually infiltrate one of the companies that contributed to our sisters death is spectacular. Especially on the anniversary of her untimely, and horrifyingly sad, death. My heart and soul goes out too all of those who participated in this action of justice and peace. You are truly the souls that this world needs right now in order for us to achieve a just and balanced peace.

Evolutions Eve

Who's Corrie?

17.03.2004 03:18

I'm new to this site. Who is is this Corrrie women, and what on earth did she do?



17.03.2004 11:04

A very poignant and well chosen target!! I salute those who took part, well done :-)

mail e-mail:

Voice of support from the US

17.03.2004 16:20

Here in the Detroit area we too are having Rachel Corrie commemorations. There is also an event April 23rd in Peoria IL sponsored by ISM Chicago during which the parents of Rachel will seek a meeting with Caterpillar management. Michigan Peace Team - who have sent about 50 members over the past 2 years to Palestine - will take a delegation to the Caterpillar Hdq.

Ron Dale
mail e-mail:

Support from israel and south africa

17.03.2004 19:26

i year pass since rachel corrie been killed by isralu army caterpiller and justice is far far away.
the israeli offencive forces srill doing whatever they want in the palstenian land.
lets hope that next anniversiry we will see free plastine state and peace will rule in the middle east.
Don't give up you brave people shachaf

shachaf polakow


17.03.2004 22:15

I saw your post Brett, but I would be surprised if you see mine. Any post that has been made in the last two hours seemd to have been censored because they disagreed.

Lets see how hypocritical the people who run this board are?

How long will our posts last.



17.03.2004 22:23

These hypocrites are deleting messages which are condemning their censorship.

This board should be called IndyFascistUK.

What a bunch of cowards. They are so afraid of a dissenting voice. Their core beliefs must be pretty weak indeed.


Re: Who's Corrie

17.03.2004 22:23

Corrie was a US student who went to Israel to support the Palestinian cause. She tried to do a one woman human blockade of an Israeli bulldozer. The bulldozer was being used to destroy tunnels used to smuggle weapons and explosives to Palestinian terrorist organizations in Gaza which would then be used to blow up vital military targets such as Israeli busses and restaurants. The operator of the bulldozer apparently failed to notice her because of visibility problems caused by the armor around the cab and crushed her.

John Cuyle

Re: Who's Corrie

17.03.2004 22:30

That's one opinion. Another opinion is that she was protecting Palestinian civilians, that there were no tunnels anywhere nearby, that the IDF were demolishing houses for revenge, and was that she was deliberately killed by the IDF with a bulldozer. There is evidence supporting both views: personally, I believe the IDF soldier deliberately murdered her. Your own opinion may vary. Check the evidence for yourself, and decide.

David Kushner

Indymedia trying to hide their censorship

17.03.2004 22:37

Indymedia has deleted many messages that were questioning the one sided view of Rachel Corrie, and also deleted messages calling on them to stop their censorship.

What is Indymedia afraid of? Or is this just the way they promote their groupthink on issues. Suppression of differing viewpoints.

How do you defend trying to cover up your previous censorship? Or is censorship a necessary tool of your cause?



17.03.2004 22:58



Free thought for only one side

17.03.2004 22:59

I see that you have started a censorship campaign against the Wall Street Journal.

The ironic thing is that you can post your comments on their website and they will not be deleted simply because the publishers disagree with their content.

The publishers of this website do not return the courtesy.

Mike Durbin

Comment guidelines on WSJ site

17.03.2004 23:02

Rubbish! From the Wall Street Journal's online discussion section:,,2_0049,00.html


Want to know why a message you submitted hasn't shown up yet? Read our guidelines for our discussion forums (,,SB105907032012460600,00.html?mod=discussions_right_hs), and learn what types of messages are unacceptable."

Just because you have a right to say whatver you like doesn't mean Indymedia (or anyone else) has a duty to give you a platform.

Stockbrokers for Justice


17.03.2004 23:12

There's no "censorship" going on here: the Wall Street Journal have their own web site, and are free to publish whatever they like there. This newswire is not meant for posting up copy & paste from the corporate press.

If you'd like to comment on the article, without using malicious hate-speech, xenophobia, racism, etc., feel free. But most of the comments so far disagreeing with this and similar articles about Rachel Corrie have consisted mainly of gloating, repetitive jokes about how this girl died. Comments like that might stay up for a few hours, but they'll be moderated off eventually, as will WSJ copy & pastes.

IMC bloke

Lame Attempt to Justify Censorship

17.03.2004 23:39

Even FireFox Knows the Truth
Even FireFox Knows the Truth

Classifying all of the opinions you disagree with as, "malicious hate-speech, xenophobia, racism, etc" does not contradict the fact that deleting them from this board is censorship. As history teaches us, the organizations that couldn't tollerate dissenting opinions have sought to violate the human rights of others they wish to control or exterminate. By censoring dissenting opinion, Indymedia is hurting their own credability and eroding the power of their political voice. Positions of true justice, peace, and respect for human rights can easily tolerate dissenting opinion. When I tried to post this reply, I was ammused that even my browser knows the truth about Indymedia (see attachment.)

David Huseby

Damn, no attachments

17.03.2004 23:42

Even my browser knows the truth about Indymedia:

David Huseby
- Homepage:

Why Caterpillar?

18.03.2004 00:02

Why would her parents go to Caterpillar in Peoria? Did the company itself drive over Rachel?

Why shut down the Caterpillar plant? Did the plant workers drive over Rachel?

Methinks these confused people are targeting the wrong crowd.


Why not?

18.03.2004 00:19

Couldn't all of this nonsense have been averted had Egypt given the Palestinians the Gaza strip all the way up until 1966 or May of 1967?


Still Why Not?

18.03.2004 00:35

Or again, why did not Jordan give the West Bank to the Palestinians before 1967? Maybe because the Arab nations were hoping they could wipe Israel off the face of the earth? I imagine if Israel wanted to it could do just that to the Palestinians...



18.03.2004 01:03



People like Rachel Corrie are a big part of the problem

18.03.2004 01:37

The problem in the middle east is very complex and trying to boil it down to simple stereotypes like the evil Israelis trying to oppress the peace loving Palestinians makes the problem worse.

Most of the evidence does show that the buildings Rachel Corrie was trying to prevent the Israeli Army from demolishing, were in fact being used for weapons smuggling and if I remember correctly, a terrorist leader was later captured in one of those same buildings.

Rachel Corrie took up sides with groups which include suicide bombers who specifically target civilians. I don't know if she did this knowingly or not, but facts show that people who later went on to be suicide bombers attended events at groups she frequented and protected. Rachel Corrie was no innocent. She was a willing participant in things that made the problem worse, rather than searching for a true solution.

Her final act was one of supreme abdication of responsibility. She ran in front of a moving bulldozer, assuming that if she put herself in harm's way, the driver would be forced to stop. But her didnt see her and kept going.

Now the conspitacy theorists here accuse the bulldozer driver of intentionally killing her. Where is the evidence of this? This is just more fuel for the fire of hate burning in the region. The driver said he did not see her, and reportedly needed counselling afterward to deal with the aftermath of what happened.

But all the "human rights activists" here are quick to condemn him, without a peep being said when a school bus full of children is blown up by a suicide bomber from the same types of groups Corrie supported.

You people would have more credibility if you also spoke out against the intentional targeting of Israeli civilians in suicide attacks. By not doing that, you give the impression (perhaps accurately) that you think the Israeli women and children got what they deserved.

Israel is not going to disappear. Anyone who truly wants peace has to recognize this as prerequisite for peace.

Rachel Corries actions did nothing to promote peace, and probably cost some lives, other than her own. Her self indulgent field trip to the west bank accomplished nothing but making her a martyr for those who want to continue to hate.

So if people want to make Rachel Corrie their patron saint of the one sided worldview, and conduct juvenile sit-ins at CAT factories, go ahead. But realize that not only was Rachel Corrie part of the problem, but now you are too. Caterpillar isnt the problem any more than a 4 year old child killed by a suicide bomber.

Rachel Corrie could have done infinitely more good by telling her Palestinian "friends" to sit down and negotiate and stop bringing in weapons and setting off bombs, than by trying to act as a human shield for their activities.



18.03.2004 01:48

A year has passed since Rachel Corrie, a 23 year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, was killed by an Israel army bulldozer while nonviolently trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian house in the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

During this time, the Israeli government has strenuously sought to obscure the circumstances of Rachel's death and prevent an independent investigation. It has even refused to release its June 2003 military police investigation final report to the United States, only allowing an American embassy official to read and take notes from selected parts.

Yet what is even worse is that in response to mounting international criticism of Israel's 37-year military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's current defenders have concocted a new security threat to justify Israeli policies: international activists who engage in nonviolent activism on behalf of Palestinian human rights.

Israel's new security threat, according to this story, is led by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a small and mostly youthful group of international activists who travel to the Occupied Palestinian Territories to engage in nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation and attempt to reduce Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians.

Israeli officials and their colleagues in the US have leveled a bewildering assortment of accusations regarding ISM activities, including the predictable charge of aiding and abetting Palestinian terrorism. The Israeli army raided the ISM offices in Beit Sahour on May 9 2003, confiscating files and computers, but they have yet to make any formal charges. Perhaps there is not even enough evidence to fabricate any of their charges?

This defamation campaign against the ISM gained in scope and vitriol following the March 16, 2003 death of Rachel Corrie, an American activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer while defending a Palestinian home from demolition in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah. Another ISM activist Tom Hurndall, a British international, was shot in the head and left brain-dead weeks later in Rafah, and other ISM activists have been shot and wounded in the past year. Hurndall was recently pronounced dead.

But it is Rachel Corrie's death that has become the subject of the most intensely defensive and vicious attacks by Israel's most vociferous apologists, including a recent editorial in the right-wing Jerusalem Post. These attacks, in effect, mirror the outpouring of sympathy and support for Rachel and her actions around the world, and most significantly, in Palestine, where she has been embraced and memorialized in posters and youth centers.

Israeli apologists have excoriated Rachel as a tragically misguided young idealist or worse; a stooge of terrorists and perhaps their willing accomplice. Many have disgracefully applauded her death, even in correspondences to her parents.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of her death, it is necessary to review and debunk several of the most frequent propaganda claims about Rachel that continue to circulate.

1. "It was an accident..."

The initial Israeli army claim that Rachel's death was an "unfortunate accident" is contradicted by overwhelming evidence from at six eyewitnesses who testify that Rachel was clearly visible to the bulldozer drivers with her bright orange jacket and that it lifted her up and then drove over her with its plow down, even as her fellow activists shouted and ran towards the bulldozer.

The Israeli military maintains that the bulldozer operators could not see Rachel-although there were two people in each bulldozer and two other bulldozers and an APC at the site in close radio contact. The other activists who were present that day stated that prior to Rachel's death, the bulldozers stopped several times directly at their feet. This raises serious questions about the Israeli army claims of poor visibility.

Israeli officials have subsequently shifted their story from denying that Rachel was run over by the bulldozer, to now maintaining that Rachel was not actually touched by the bulldozer but killed by falling on a concrete block, which is contradicted by the Israeli autopsy report the Corrie family was able to obtain.

Some Israeli apologists incessantly point out that photographs posted on several websites by ISM activists show pictures of Rachel in two different locations confronting bulldozers, which they somehow take as proof that eyewitness accounts cannot be believed. It is true that there are several pictures from different locations posted on some websites, but only through twisting logic can one conclude that this has any bearing on the actual circumstances of Rachel's death that day.

If Rachel's critics were really serious about getting at the truth, they would join the rest of the world in calling for an independent investigation into Rachel's death, which Israel refuses to countenance, so that the glaring discrepancies between the Israeli army whitewash and eyewitness accounts can be clarified.

2. "She was defending terrorists who smuggle weapons through tunnels to kill Israelis"

While no one disputes the existence of a small number of tunnels in Rafah that funnel weapons to militants, Israeli security claims about the need to destroy Rafah in order to find tunnels are little more than crude propaganda. Moreover, callous claims that Rachel was knowingly defending tunnels and suicide bombers illustrate the depths many Israeli sympathizers will plumb to defend the indefensible.

First, the Israeli army has never claimed nor provided any evidence that Dr. Samir Nasrallah, whose house Rachel was defending, or anyone else in this neighborhood, were concealing any tunnels or were engaged in any attacks on Israelis.

Source: CIA World Fact Book
Second, any weapons that get through tunnels are only used in guerrilla actions against soldiers and settlers within the Gaza Strip, not against civilians within Israel. One of the main arguments Israeli officials use to justify building the barrier in the West Bank is the fact that no Palestinian suicide bombers have come from Gaza in the past three years. Gaza is surrounded by a heavily monitored 52-kilometer (30-mile) electrified fence that keeps its 1.3 million impoverished Palestinians isolated from the world. Gaza is arguably the world's largest open-air prison, not a threat to Israeli civilians.

Third, the primary reason Palestinian homes in Rafah are being demolished daily by Israeli bulldozers is to make way for a massive 6-meter high steel wall Israel is building along the Egyptian border with Rafah, not tunnels. According to United Nation's officials, over the past three years Israel has destroyed nearly 900 houses in Rafah in order to create a one hundred meter "buffer zone" between Palestinian homes and the wall. Daily shelling and armed raids over the past three years have killed nearly 300 Palestinians and have left more than 8,600 people homeless.

The fact that Israel possesses ample equipment to discover and unearth these tunnels without resorting to widespread destruction and violence makes it clear that the ultimate goal of house demolitions in Rafah is to clear land for the wall. The governor of Rafah, Majid Ghal, rejects Israel's claims about tunnels as nonsense. "What they are doing is to carve out a buffer zone between Rafah and the border. The Israelis have always said they do not want Palestine to control its borders or to have borders with other countries. They are trying to drive people out."

The Israeli army denies any such motive but as The Guardian's Chris McGreal reported on October 27, 2003, even the previous head of the military's southern command for Gaza, Colonel Yom Tov Samya, has admitted that Israel's house demolitions policy was an end in itself, not a by-product of a search for tunnels. "The IDF (Israeli Defence Force) has to knock down all the houses along a strip of 300 to 400 metres. It doesn't matter what the future settlement will be, this will be the border with Egypt."

The massive steel wall that killed Rachel, and has destroyed the lives of thousands of Palestinians in Rafah, is being built for one reason: to protect the security of the 7,000 Israeli settlers with green lawns and swimming pools who illegally occupy 30 percent of Gaza's land. These settlements, along with dozens of military fortresses and Jewish-only bypass roads effectively divide Gaza into 3 sealed areas or ghettos, where a powerful army, with hundreds of tanks, attack helicopters, F-16s and overwhelming firepower largely operates with impunity against the civilian population. Their mission, protect the Israeli settlements. The wall built on the border signals that Israel plans to retain most, if not all of them, regardless of any settlement.

3. "If she really cared about human rights, she would ride with Israeli buses to protect Israeli citizens against suicide bombings"

Suicide bombings are vicious and grave abuses, war crimes under international law for intentionally killing civilians. But many Israeli attacks on Palestinians and their civilian infrastructure in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, and such practices as using Palestinians as "human shields" and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, also constitute war-crimes for killing and targeting civilians. Both must be unequivocally condemned. Unfortunately, Rachel's critics are typically silent about Israel's atrocious record.

But from a human rights perspective, the main point, however, is that the Palestinian civilian population is illegally occupied by Israel and victimized in far greater numbers than Israel's with no real ability to protect itself. In the past three years nearly 3000 Palestinian civilians were killed as opposed to nearly 600 Israeli civilians. In addition, the Palestinian population is being subjected to a debilitating military siege punctuated by brutal military assaults and assassinations that has led to a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe.

No more so that in Rafah, where in addition to demolishing hundreds of homes, razing agricultural lands, destroying electrical infrastructure and terrorizing the population through nightly raids and sniper fire, the Israeli army has destroyed at least 10 major water wells upon which the Rafah municipality depends for pumping drinking water to residents.

The severity of this imbalance and the corresponding lack of protection for Palestinian civilians against grave human rights abuses committed by Israel had led to attempts to convene meetings of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva convention with the express intention of preventing Israeli violations of the Conventions in July 1999 and December 2001. In an official statement on this issue on December 5, 2001, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson called for an international monitoring presence in the occupied Palestinian territories stressing that:

"the failure of successive Israeli government to comply with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international human rights standards, has left the population of occupied Palestinian territories in a vulnerable situation, lacking protection and exposed to a wide range of violations. Protection needs to be accorded to the people of the occupied territories in strict compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention."

Needless to say, the United States, acting on Israel's request rejected the proposal, leading to the creation of the International Solidarity Movement and its small-scale efforts to undertake this urgent task of defending Palestinian civilians against heavy odds. People like Rachel are actually those most truly committed to the international human rights agenda because their efforts are most desperately needed.

4. "She burned an American flag in an anti-American demonstration..."

Israeli apologists frequently circulate a picture of Rachel burning an American flag at a Palestinian demonstration, as if to prove that she was an irresponsible promoter of anti-American hatred. But according to several accounts, Rachel found herself in the middle of a routine demonstration by Palestinian youth against the impending US war on Iraq and was pressed to burn a homemade paper Israeli and American flag, agreeing only to the second on the grounds that as a US citizen she could only bear responsibility for opposing US actions.

Yet the most important point that her critics miss is that the symbol of an American questioning her government's policy in the Middle East is extremely important and highly beneficial to Americans in general. It is very important for Americans to show people in this region that America is not monolithic and that some American civilians strongly disagree with their government's policies. Lack of exposure to these voices is a major factor that increases the likelihood of terrorism and animosity towards American citizens.

Compared to the immensely dangerous impact on regional public opinion of the widely disseminated images of U.S. Marines placing flags on Iraqi government symbols during the recent war, Rachel's act appears altruistic. Americans should be thankful for people like Rachel who uphold deeply rooted American values about freedom from illegitimate domination and for presenting a progressive image to the world.

Steve Niva

More evidence

18.03.2004 01:52

The BBC has released a remarkable film about the killing of three international peace activists by the Israeli army in the occupied Gaza Strip. Documentary evidence provided in the film strongly suggests that the American Rachel Corrie - and two British activists - were murdered.

Last spring, within a period of seven weeks, one British and one American peace activist were killed by the Israeli army in Rafah, a Palestinian town at the southern end of the occupied Gaza Strip. A second Briton was shot in the head leaving him brain-dead. In two of the cases the Israeli army is being blamed for murder; the third is considered "attempted murder."

An Israeli military bulldozer crushed the 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was the first to die on March 16, as she tried to prevent it from demolishing a Palestinian doctor's home.

British photographer Tom Hurndall, 22, was left brain dead after being shot in the head by an Israeli soldier on April 11. British cameraman James Miller, 34, was shot by an Israeli sniper as he left a house with two other journalists on May 2.

A recently released 50-minute "hard-hitting" program produced by the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) investigated the three killings and provides crucial video evidence. "That's murder," an Israeli soldier said after viewing footage from the film, When Killing is Easy.

When Killing is Easy was shown 4 times to a worldwide audience on the commercial BBC World television network on November 22 and 23. Some cable television viewers in the United States would have been able to view the program.

The three international observers died, or nearly died, at the hands of the Israeli military between the middle of March and the first week of May. Hurndall was shot in the head as he took a Palestinian toddler, who had frozen under Israeli fire, into his arms. Today, Hurndall is brain-dead and is kept alive on life-support equipment.

Tom's father, Anthony, is a lawyer in the City of London. After six weeks of investigation, Hurndall has come to the conclusion that the shooting of his son by Israeli forces is "a case of attempted murder. If Tom dies, and that is a likelihood, then it will be murder," he said.

Jocelyn Hurndall wrote to The Guardian after an Israeli government check for about $12,000, sent to the Hurndall family to pay for "a fraction of the expenses incurred," bounced. When the check finally arrived after five months of negotiations with the Hurndall family, the Israeli government check was not "honored" by the Bank of Israel, Hurndall wrote. "Insufficient funds" was the reason given.

According to evidence provided in Sweeney's film, the IDF report on the shooting of Hurndall is completely wrong about where he was, what he was wearing, and what he was doing when an Israeli soldier shot him in the head.

"It is a mind-numbing task to understand the morality and to use the logic of the Israeli government," Hurndall wrote. "What hope do Palestinians have when such profound disregard and disrespect is shown to humanity, collectively and individually?"

The BBC film was produced by John Sweeney, whose article on the killings, "Silenced Witnesses," was published in The Independent (UK) on Oct. 30.

"Making our film, When Killing is Easy, has been the most harrowing ordeal of my professional life," Sweeney wrote. "But it is vital that it is evidential - and that is really tough when the Israeli government and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) have refused to speak to us."
Rachel Corrie, the first of the three to die, was using her body to defend the home of Dr. Samir Nasser Allah from an American-made bulldozer used by the Israeli army to demolish the homes of Palestinians. Corrie was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). ISM members stand between the Israeli bulldozers and the homes that the IDF wants to flatten.

Israeli bulldozers have razed thousands of Palestinian homes in the occupied Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The bulldozers are primarily made by the Illinois-based Caterpillar company.

Tom Dale, an ISM eyewitness, had a clear view of the incident: "He [the driver] knew absolutely she was there. The bulldozer waited for a few seconds over her body and it then reversed, leaving its scoop down so that if she had been under the bulldozer, it would have crushed her a second time. Only later when it was much more clear of her body did it raise its scoop."

"My back is broken," Rachel told Alice Coy, a fellow ISM activist who was with her.

An Israeli pathologist, Dr. Yehudah Hiss, noted that Rachel appeared to have been run over by the bulldozer, Sweeney wrote. Hiss found the cause of death to be "pressure to the chest." Her shoulder blades had been crushed; her spine was broken in five places and six ribs broken. Her face was apparently slashed by the bulldozer blade.

The IDF produced a report that says, "Corrie was not run over by an engineering vehicle." It added, "for good measure" Sweeney says, that Corrie was "hidden from view of the vehicle's operator."

The footage seen in the BBC film proves these statements to be false. The family of Rachel Corrie believes the IDF report to "be a blatant fabrication," Sweeney wrote.

The British cameraman James Miller was shot dead by an Israeli sniper as he left a house in Rafah with two other journalists on the night of May 2. An Associated Press TV News (APTN) cameraman filmed the entire scene.

One of the three journalists held a white flag; Miller was shining a light on the flag and a third journalist held up her British passport. There was no shooting and the area was quiet as the audio track of the film clearly proves.

The three had walked about 60 feet toward an Israeli armed personnel carrier to request safe passage to leave the area when the first shot was fired. "We are British journalists," Saira Shah cried out into the darkness.

"Then comes the second shot, which killed James," Sweeney wrote. "He was shot in the front of his neck. The bullet was Israeli issue, fired, according to a forensic expert, from less than 200 meters [600 feet] away."

The IDF maintains that Miller was shot during crossfire, although no shooting is heard on the APTN tape apart from the two shots fired from the Israeli military vehicle.

When the APTN tape was shown to an Israeli soldier, who is shown in the film, he said the television team did not look like Islamic terrorists and concluded: "That's murder."

Christopher Bollyn

Facts on Israeli and Palestinian casualties

18.03.2004 01:59

Between Dec. 1987 and May 2003:
- about 3,400 Palestinians killed by Israelis
- about 300 Israelis killed by Palestinians

We need to condemn terrorism from wherever it comes.


Christopher: Your "Evidence"

18.03.2004 03:17


Despite the title of your "cut and paste" posting, which I understood was not the type of thing permitted on this board, you have offered no evidence.

Only arguements by groups that, even you must admit, are hardly objective.

What is your solution? Should Israel disappear?

I am hardly an "Israel apologist" as you seem to want to label anyone who would disagree with the Holy Gospels of Rachel Corrie, but the idea that only one side is at fault, is what is prolonging this problem.

Admire Rachel if you must, but be honest about what she was. She was a partisan, not a peacemaker. Her actions helped terrorists on the Palestinian side who not only DO target civilians but specifically target them.

Your aside that yes, those tunnels do in fact exist BUT
"Second, any weapons that get through tunnels are only used in guerrilla actions against soldiers and settlers within the Gaza Strip"

Settlers? What is a settler. Would a 4 year old child be a settler? If I decided to move from California to New York and legally bought a house from a New Yorker, would I then be a settler there? The casual way you attempt to justify the targeted murder of innocents is shocking and sickening!

The rest of your cut and paste attempt at "evidence" is laughable propaganda written by other people who would like to rationalize the murder of 4 year olds...because of this...or because of that.

As long as people like you are trying to intellectually rationalize the intentional targeting and murder of children, there will never be peace in the middle east.

Here's a clue Sherlock. Its NEVER ok to put a bomb on a school bus full of kids. No matter what. Its never ok to break into a house and slaughter an unarmed family. No matter what. Its never ok to walk into a restaurant and detonate a bomb in your backpack. No matter what. Its never ok to put a bomb factory in a residential apartment complex, ensuring civilian losses if you are attacked, no matter what.

You keep talking about the disparity between the number of Israeli's killed versus the number of Palestinians killed. Tell me, are you counting in that number Palestinians who killed themselves by walking into a restaurant and setting off a bomb strapped to their waist? Would you be happier if the Palestinians had managed to kill an extra couple of thousand Israelis to even things up a bit? Would it have made any difference to you if the extra couple of thousand were children?


Casualties in Israel

18.03.2004 05:17

Some one actually said only 300 Israeli victims? Try at least 3 times that in just civilian casualties, the vast majority of them women and young children.

As for the Palestinians, most of their casualties were young male adults, engaged in militant operations. In other words, Terrorists.

Over 80% of Israeli deaths have been against civilians. Meanwhile, the outstanding majority of Palestian deaths have been against members of the various Terrorist groups, who hide amongst the civilian population and uses it as a shield and cover for their murderous agenda. An agenda which ISM is a willing accomplice.

There is no Palestine

Re: Casualties in Israel

18.03.2004 09:20

"Some one actually said only 300 Israeli victims? Try at least 3 times that in just civilian casualties, the vast majority of them women and young children."

Wrong. Go back and read the B'Tselem figures. You're talking about wounded, but BT'selem is talking about dead. Between Dec. 1987 and May 2003, there were about 3,400 Palestinians killed by Israelis, and about 300 Israelis killed by Palestinians. Less than a tenth.
BT'selem is a distinguished Israeli human rights group:

"As for the Palestinians, most of their casualties were young male adults, engaged in militant operations. In other words, Terrorists."

ICT is a shamelessly pro-IDF lobbying group.
From their own website, here are some of the main people behind ICT:

- Shabtai Shavit Chairman, Board of Directors, former director of the Israeli Intelligence Agency (Mossad)
- Uriel Reichman President of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya
- Aharon Scherf Former director of Israel’s Foreign Affairs Division and senior official in prime minister Sharon’s office
- Dr. Boaz Ganor - Executive Director
- Educational Outreach - Col. (res.) Jonathan (Yoni) Fighel -
Board of Trustees include:
- Avner Azulai, Executive Director, The Rich Foundation
- General (Ret.) Yanush Ben-Gal, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Israel Aircraft Industries
- Ron Ben-Ishai, Military Correspondent, Israel Channel 1 TV
- Colonel (Ret.) Eliezer Cohen, Captain, El Al Airlines
- General (Ret.) Shlomo Gazit, Assistant Chairman, Center for Special Studies. Former Head of IDF Military Intelligence and co-ordinator of Government operations in the Occupied Territories
- Carmi Gillon, Israeli Ambassador to Denmark, Former Head of General Security Services
- Dr. Amnon Goldberg, Partner in S. Horowitz & Co. Law Firm
- Michael Gurdus, Israel Broadcasting Authority - Correspondent
- Michael Kahanov, General Manager, Brinks (Israel) Ltd.
- Professor Ariel Merari, Director, Political Violence Research Unit. Founder and Former Head of Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Management Unit, Israel Defense Forces
- Dr. Yossi Olmert, "Expert on Middle Eastern Affairs", a long-standing member of the Likud Party and former adviser to Israel's Prime Minister and Defence Minister
- Rafi Peled, Former Commissioner of Police
- Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yigal Pressler, Former Advisor to the Prime Minister on Counter-Terrorism
- Colonel (Ret.) Nahman Shai, Chairman, Israel Broadcasting Authority. Former IDF Spokesman
- Zeev Schiff, Military Commentator, "Ha'aretz"
- Gad Yaacobi, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Israel Electric Corporation
- Major General (Ret.) Eli Zeira, Former Director of Military Intelligence, IDF

So anyone can see that ICT is run mainly by Israeli army officers, senior Israeli intelligence, and Likudniks. Hardly the place to go for an unbiased assessment, eh?

There are a lot of impressive-looking graphs on that page, but where do the numbers behind the graphs come from? No word from the ICT site. So how do they determine who was a "militant? Since the IDF have been repeatedly shown in the press to be shooting and knocking down houses of civilians, claiming with no evidence whatsoever that it was because the victims were "combatants" or "militants", we have a right to be a little suspicious about where ICT gets its numbers. Raising a Palestinian flag in Ramallah earns you the right to be jailed for "militancy". So pro-IDF lobbying groups like ICT can conveniently say "well the IDF had to shoot him, he was a 'militant'", and add him to their graph.

B'Tselem on the other hand document their sources fully, and have won awards and respect in Israel for their work.

Show us some real numbers if you want to be taken seriously.



18.03.2004 09:41

Richard writes: "What is your solution? Should Israel disappear?"

Of course not. Israel should:

- stop shooting non-combatant civilians
- stop building settlements in Palestine
- stop building their wall winding through Palestinian land, a cynical land-grab almost universally condemned, including by many Israelis
- pull back to legally sanctioned borders

That's a far cry from disappearing.

And since you ask: if you decided to move from California to New York, shot up the town I was living in, drove all the townspeople out with the help of the army on the basis that the book of Mormon claims you have a right to live in New York State, bulldozed my house and my farm, forced me to live in a tiny subset of my original land, made me queue for hours at checkpoints just to go down the road in my own homeland, shot my children for throwing stones at you and your soldiers, then yes, I would of course engage in guerilla actions against you and your soldiers. And you would do the same to me, if I had done that to you.

Your opinions about Rachel Corrie are not backed up by evidence. She was protecting civilians from being shot, and preventing civilians getting their houses destroyed. That made her a target for violence, and for subsequent smear campaigns to justify the killing. The casual way you attempt to justify the targeted murder of innocents is shocking and sickening.

You can repeat the lies that "she was protecting terrorists", and "you're intellectually rationalizing the intentional targeting and murder of children", etc. as many times as you like, but don't expect anyone to believe it without evidence.

Not Chrisopher

Positive local coverage

18.03.2004 10:59

Bail for a dozen in Caterpillar outcry

A dozen protesters who halted production at one of Shrewsbury's biggest factories have been released on bail by police. They stormed the Caterpillar plant, in Harlescott, at lunchtime yesterday, forcing the engineering firm to halt production and evacuate the site for two hours.

At least two locked themselves on to factory fixtures using bicycle locks, one to the central power controls for the factory.

The 12, aged between 19 and 44 and carrying leaflets headed "Caterrorism", said they targeted the factory to honour Rachel Corrie, a US peace activist who died after being crushed by a Caterpillar-made Israeli military bulldozer a year ago yesterday.

They leafleted workers and attempted to halt production lines for a three minute silence in honour of Rachel's life and the 2,859 Palestinians who have died since September 2000.

Their aim was to remain at the site until they met the director of Caterpillar Defence Industries.

A supporter of one of the protesters said: "They walked very calmly into the premises and handed out leaflets, which detailed what the protest was about, both to people working in the factory and to the management."

Chief Inspector Gary Higgins said today it had been a peaceful protest and the 12, all from the south-east, are due to answer bail in two months.

Most of the protesters have lived in Palestine with Palestinian families, and claim to have witnessed the destruction of homes and lives by bulldozers they say are made by Caterpillar.

David Jackson, general manager, issued a statement on behalf of Caterpillar.

It said: "Caterpillar shares the world's concern over unrest in the Middle East and we certainly have compassion for all those affected by the political strife.

"However, more than two million Caterpillar machines and engines are at work in virtually every country and region of the world each day. We have neither the legal right nor the means to police individual use of that equipment."

© Copyright 2003 - Shropshire Newspapers Ltd.

Shropshire star
- Homepage:

Palestinian claim to Israel is just factually incorrect

18.03.2004 17:13

"Not Christopher" - you've got your history confused, as do most pro-Palestinian apologists. There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Israel throughout history, since Joshua led the Israelites into Israel thousands of years ago. There have been Jews in Israel for the last 2000 years as well. A hundred years ago, Israel was very sparsely populated - there was no established Palestinian nation or population. When Jews began to immigrate to modern-day Israel, they outnumbered the Arabs living there. Arabs began to move there because they could get jobs working for the Jews. It wasn't until the Arabs began to see the Jews as a religious threat that they began to oppose the growing Jewish settlement there.

The Jews did not move into the Palestinians' neighborhood and start shooting up the local population. Please do some research, read unbiased historical accounts (meaning, not pro-Israel *or* pro-Palestinian) and get your facts straight. This is verifiable common knowledge that Palestinian apologists simply ignore.


History and the present

18.03.2004 17:26

R, I'd be pleased to read your recommended "unbiased historical accounts (meaning, not pro-Israel *or* pro-Palestinian)". Could you point one out to me please? :-)

Don't bother trying to sidetrack me into a long debate here over the rights and wrongs of the occupation: you've already made your absurdly revisionist position abundantly clear.

Not Christopher

Israeli claim to Palestine is just factually incorrect

18.03.2004 22:47

"R" - you've got your history confused, as do most pro-Israel apologists. There has been a continuous Palestinian presence in Palestine throughout history, since they fought the Hebrew invasion there thousands of years ago. There have been Palestinians in Palestine for the last 2000 years as well. A hundred years ago, Palestine was well populated - there was no established Jewish nation or population. When Jews began to immigrate from Europe to Palestine, Arabs obviously outnumbered the Jewish immigrants. But even more Jews began to move there once they saw they could force the Arabs out. It wasn't until the Jews began to kill Arabs in large numbers that the Arabs finally began to oppose the growing Jewish settlement there.

The Jews moved into the Palestinians' villages and neighborhoods, and started shooting up the local population. The Deir Yassin massacre is one notable example of this: around 100 Palestinians slaughtered by the Jewish terrorist group Irgun. This number represents a little over a third of the total number of Israelis killed in the Intifada so far, but it happened all in one night.

Modern day "Israel" was built on terrorism from the very beginning, and survives on terrorism, along with generous American funding. Please do some research, read unbiased historical accounts (meaning, not pro-Israel *or* pro-Palestinian) and get your facts straight. This is verifiable common knowledge that Israeli apologists simply ignore.


Time to close up shop

19.03.2004 17:49

Time to close down the factory in the UK and move it elsewhere in the world. I am certain that the workers there will appreciate the good work of the protest.


Serves them right

21.03.2004 21:19

If they didn't know before that they were building murder weapons, then they know now. And now that they know, anyone with an ounce of conscience will refuse to work at a job like that, same as working for BaE, Vickers, Boeing, etc: morally you're an accessory to murder, even if the law doesn't recognise it yet.

Anyone who knowingly works at a job like that deserves whatever they get. Being made redundant in the UK is a damn sight easier than being killed, maimed or made homeless in Palestine.


Oh brother

22.03.2004 13:52

When will it end? The biggest thing that activists don't understand is that neither side wants peace. I thin this falls more on the side of the Palestinians, but thats my opinion. The FACTS show quite clearly that neither side wants to live in peace and harmony. Israel just killed another terrorist leader. It was justified, but it shows that they care more about revenge than peace. The Palestinians are still sending suicide bombers to kill women and children in high numbers.

Want a solution? Put the conflict on TV as a sporting event encourage betting on numbers of people killed, length of inactivity, number of promises not-kept....

Sun Tzu

Opinions and "facts"

22.03.2004 14:47

Who's demonstrating the lack of understanding here? You're assuming that "Israel" and "the Palestinians" are both just huge, homogeneous blocks. "Israel" didn't kill anyone: an Israeli soldier did, on the orders of the Sharon government. Large numbers of Israelis disagree with this action, and many are vehemently opposed:
And "The Palestinians" are not sending suicide bombers: a small minority are. A small minority is all it takes to destroy and kill, on either side. The majority on both sides want peace, but are held hostage to minority rule.

And your wish for turning war into a televised sporting event has already been granted during the Iraq invasion.


What about Jordan and Egypt?

23.03.2004 22:16

I'm still wondering why none of the Arab nations that controlled "Palestinian" lands gave the Palestinians a state to call their own. They had that chance up until the Six Day War in 1967. And what about the UN partition in 1946? Could not the Palestinians agreed to that distribution of land?


Ian - facts

25.03.2004 15:47

Ian, when discussing an issue like this we are forced to lump people into groups. Of course all people involved in this problem are not for the constant killings/murders. To date, I have never seen a group of Palestinian people protesting the intentional murder of Israeli civilians by terrorist groups based in Palestine. Likewise, I have only twice seen Israelis protesting the military targeting of terrorist leaders in Palestine and those were two occasions where the targeting was inaccurate.

If you have seen these protests, you should be shutting down the BBC and the New York Times because they do not show these scenes in their coverage. The people at Cat were making machines to build countries with. They were not building guns, bombs, tanks, or fighter jets. I can use a shoelace to kill people with but that doesn't mean that Nike should be shut-down because of my misuse of their product. Not in the real world anyway.


Facts and assertions

25.03.2004 20:50

"when discussing an issue like this we are forced to lump people into groups."

I'm not sure who you mean by "we". You might like to think of people as simply parts of homogeneous groups, with uniform ideas and motives. Others prefer to think of individuals as individuals, and not apportion blame and intentions to entire ethnic groups with the broadest of brushes. It's no good trying to oversimplify a complex issue based on categorical assertions: show some evidence in support please.

"To date, I have never seen a group of Palestinian people protesting the intentional murder of Israeli civilians by terrorist groups based in Palestine."

Here are a few examples of Palestinians condemning the suicide bombings:

"Likewise, I have only twice seen Israelis protesting the military targeting of terrorist leaders in Palestine and those were two occasions where the targeting was inaccurate."

Here are a few examples of Israelis doing exactly that:

I can supply you more examples if you need.

And your shoelace analogy misses the point. A company should not knowingly sell dual-use equipment to a government which uses it for mass destruction and murder. Selling bulldozers directly to the IDF is not a morally neutral act.



26.03.2004 13:28

Not one of your examples is from a significant media outlet. What does that tell you? It should tell you exactly what I was saying "that no major outcry has come from either side against it's own actions".

Rachael committed suicide and her method was to place herself in front of a moving bulldozer. It wouldn't be my first choice, but she was successful. Celebrate her success if you must, but don't try to make this a political issue against Cat.

The shoelace example is an exact duplicate in that both are sold to militaries and civilians world wide. Both are designed and built for an innocent purpose. Both can be used in evil ways and I contend that a shoelace can be more deadly if it's user chooses to make it so. Its not like this guy was chasing anyone down the street or that he snuck up on her. He was moving straigh ahead, toward a predetermined object, in a slow moving vehicle that is extremely loud. This Cat didn't have weapons mounted on it, it didn't have spikes that were used to impale her, it wasn't dripping chemical weapons from it's hydraulic cylinders.

What would you accept as a price for peace in this part of the world?



26.03.2004 18:16

You are right, I must have edited my post before sending it. I still think the implication is there that there has been no MAJOR outcry for peace from either group directly involved in this conflict.

As I have heard the story repeatedly told, there was no way the operator of that equipment could have seen this girl. This is nobody's fault but her own, unless you want to trace the conflict back to it's roots. The operator gets to live with the knowledge that he killed a person, and thats the biggest shame about this. I am happy for her, that she got her wish to be dead and all, but its a rotten thing to do to the operator.

Its still stupid to interupt business at any Cat site. Just because you (not you Ian) don't have a job or a life, doesn't give you the right to interfere with the jobs or lives of others and that is what this boils down to.


What to gain.

26.03.2004 21:03

Knowing this would have caused an international incident why would the CAT operator intentionally run Rachel Corrie over? We are quick to attribute to others immoral or evil characteristics in these circumstances. Ask the question: Is it possible that this was just a horrible accident? If the answer is yes than there is some common ground. If the answer is no, well then the discussion is over and you have the situation in the Middle East.



27.03.2004 05:55

I think it's right to ask the question, mj. An informed answer lies in carefully weighing the evidence and testimony from both sides. It is of course possible that it was an accident. This is why we need a full, formal, independent inquiry: to date the only investigation has been done by the IDF itself. An inquiry is also needed into the death of Tom Hurndall, the young British peace activist shot in the head by an Israeli soldier.

Tom Hurndall looks to be getting his independent inquiry, overseen by the Metropolitan Police:,2763,1124502,00.html

The US govt will need more pressure for an inquiry to happen though, as Rachel was a US citizen, and the US government historically shies away from criticizing Israel publicly.


Rachel Corrie from a Refusenik

28.03.2004 07:29

Rachel Corrie was killed a year ago on March 16, by an Israeli bulldozer trying to flatten a house in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. To a foreigner it may sound like an unfortunate death in which Rachel, a dedicated peace activist, was killed by mistake during an Israeli action against terrorism.

But an experienced IDF officer like me knows that house demolitions have nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

Before I refused to serve in the Occupied Territories I had been to the Gaza Strip twice. In 1994, the night after the massacre perpetrated by Baruch Goldstein in Hebron, in which 29 innocent Palestinians were murdered during prayer, my battalion was called up to Gaza. Our goal was to repress the riots following the massacre. On the night we arrived, the local battalion we came to assist had killed over 15 Palestinians.

In the morning we went out on patrol to enforce the curfew on the neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan. We passed by the mourning sheds erected near the homes of the dead from the night before. Near each shed, a riot broke out.

The instructions we received were clear - as a new company, we were to summon the veteran company to stop the rioting. Within two minutes, three jeeps arrived driving full speed and accelerating into the crowds.

The belief that justice is on our side, and the total faith in our commanders, had blinded us. That was 1994. No buses exploded then, no suicide bombers, just the common occupation in everyday life.

The second time I was in Gaza was two years ago.

I was a platoon commander near Gush Katif. Gush Katif is the largest settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip, home to a few thousand settlers among a Palestinian population of 1.2 million people. For the first time in my life as an IDF officer I learned what the Israeli government means when it talks of "exposing an area" for security.

The built area on both sides of the road to Gush Katif had been razed to the ground. It looked like a desert. Hundreds of Palestinian families, thousands of people, had lost their homes. Now you begin to understand what lurks behind this term. "Exposure" is a euphemism for destroying Palestinian homes.

Rachel Corrie tried to stop this catastrophe but couldn't.

For four weeks I led my good soldiers to missions that had nothing to do with Israel security but rather with maintaining occupation.

We did not stop terrorism - we were creating it.

It's not until, in a moment of quiet, after the last volley of shots, after the morning "exposures" and the night ambushes, you stop to think for a moment. You are alone. Without your wife, without your friends, without your parents, with no one-just you.

You stop to ask, what is it you're fighting for if you've already lost the moral basis for fighting, if you can carry out almost everything to the point that it is not clear anymore where the red lines are being crossed- or if red lines exist at all ?

After two years of deliberation and many sleepless nights, I came to the inescapable conclusion that Zionism is not what the zealots have made it to be. Zionism is not about occupation; it is about obtaining a secure and internationally recognized home for the Jewish people.

Rachel Corrie was killed a year after I refused to served in Rafah and the rest of the Occupied Territories. Her death was a reminder of the reasons that made me, a dedicated Zionist officer, decide to continue serving my country within its international borders but refuse to serve the occupation.

David Zonsheine is a software engineer and the chairman and co-founder of Courage to Refuse:
...the Israeli movement of combat officers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories.

David Zonsheine

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