Monday, March 16, 2009


Six years after the murder of Rachel Corrie, the Israeli army, unprovoked, attacks American activist Tristan Anderson

by Larry Geller

Today is the sixth anniversary of the murder of American peace activist Rachel Corrie by the driver of an American-made Israeli military bulldozer. Attacks on peace activists, and of course on innocent Palestinian men, women and children, continue while the US media gives Israel a free pass.

From Thoughts on the Death of Rachel Corrie by Yale professor David Bromwich (Huffington Post, 3/16/2009):

Today is the sixth anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie. On March 16, 2003, in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, she was run over by an armor-plated Caterpillar bulldozer, a machine sold by the U.S. to Israel, the armor put in place for the purpose of knocking down homes without damage to the machine. Rachel Corrie was 23 years old, from Seattle; a sane, articulate, and dedicated American who had studied with care the methods of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

At the time that she was run over, and then backed over again, she was wearing a luminous orange jacket and holding a megaphone. There is a photograph of her talking to the soldier of the Israel Defense Forces, in the cabin of his bulldozer, not long before he did it.

Bromwich discusses also the wall of silence in the USA that protects Israeli atrocities (see below).

As we remember Rachel’s bravery and celebrate her life and achievements, the news of another unprovoked attack by the Israeli military on a peace activist is just breaking. Thirty-seven-year-old Tristan Anderson was critically injured Friday during a non-violent protest when Israeli soldiers fired a tear gas canister directly at his head, shattering bone and injuring his right eye. Parts of his brain have been removed in surgery. He was standing around when the attack took place. If he lives, he will not be the same person, without portions of his frontal lobes.

In a Democracy Now interview, the US Consul General in Tel Aviv could only talk about issuing travel advisories when questioned. Will there be an investigation? According to a statement from Rachel’s parents released today, the US State Department has allowed its requests to Israel for a proper investigation of Rachel’s death to be ignored.

Here are two snippets from the parents’ statement:

Friday, March 13th, we learned of the tragic injury to American activist Tristan Anderson. Tristan was shot in the head with a tear-gas canister in Ni’lin Village in the West Bank when Israeli forces attacked a demonstration opposing the construction of the annexation wall through the village's land. On the same day, a Ni’lin resident was, also, shot in the leg with live ammunition. Four residents of Ni’lin have been killed in the past eight months as villagers and their supporters have courageously demonstrated against the Apartheid Wall deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice—a wall that will ultimately absorb one-quarter of the village's remaining land. Those who have died are a ten-year-old child Ahmed Mousa, shot in the forehead with live ammunition on July 29, 2008; Yousef Amira (17) shot with rubber-coated steel bullets on July 30, 2008; Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22) and Mohammed Khawaje (20), both shot and killed with live ammunition on December 8, 2008. On this anniversary, Rachel would want us all to hold Tristan Anderson and his family and these Palestinians and their families in our thoughts and prayers, and we ask everyone to do so.

Rachel’s parents report on their visit to Gaza:

We walked through the farming village of Khoza in the South where fifty homes were destroyed during the land invasion. A young boy scrambled through a hole in the rubble to show us the basement he and his family crouched in as a bulldozer crushed their house upon them. We heard of Rafiya who lead the frightened women and children of this neighborhood away from threatening Israeli military bulldozers, only to be struck down and killed by an Israeli soldier's sniper fire as she walked in the street carrying her white flag.

Media wall of silence

Going back to Professor Bromwich’s article, here’s another snippet. I recommend the entire article to you, it goes well beyond what I can quote here:

We ought to know a good deal about a country to which we give such large continuous donations. But Americans who care for public discussion of this subject are obliged to conduct it ourselves, since,  if recent history is a guide, we will get no help from the leading American newspapers. Even the appointment today of Avigdor Lieberman, an avowed racist and a believer in the feasibility of the expulsion of all Palestinians, as foreign minister in the new Israeli government under Binyamin Netanyahu -- even this predicted and extraordinary news is not likely to provoke the New York Times or the Washington Post to report with honesty who this Lieberman is, and what he signifies. Nor will the Obama administration do it. They will be as hesitant and mixed and occasionally contradictory in their signals on Israel as they have been on many other subjects; more so, because in this case an organized body of censors and guardians attends to the reputation and support of Israel in the U.S.

Let’s remember Rachel, and what has been done also to Tristan Anderson, which is not six years ago but just last week, and let’s remember the Palestinians killed in their own country as recently as the December-January invasion of Gaza (and the killing goes on, even today).

Let’s pressure Obama to do the right thing to end these deaths. While I believe that only Israel has the power to bring peace to the region, it doesn’t appear that they will get started on the project without considerable pressure from the rest of the world.


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