August 30, 2012
THE RACHEL CORRIE DEATH VERDICT — WHERE IMPUNITY PREVAILS!
The Perdana Global Peace Foundation records with deep concern the gross miscarriage of justice displayed by an Israeli court in Haifa on August 28 when it ruled that the state held no responsibility for the death of young American activist Rachel Corrie on March 16 2003. Rachel Corrie was run over by a bulldozer operated by the Israeli Defence Force in full view of eyewitnesses while she attempted to prevent the illegal demolition of Palestinian homes in Rafah in Southern Gaza.
The israeli judge Oded Gershon read out the verdict which absolved the Israeli military of being responsible for her death and in turn blamed Rachel Corrie for her own death. In his words “….. this was an accident ….the state is not responsible for damages in action in combat operations. …. the state did not violate the right of the deceased to life.”
We take full note of the statement made by Hussein Abu Hussein, the lawyer representing Rachel’s parents: “While not surprising, this verdict is yet another example of where impunity has prevailed over accountability and fairness. Rachel Corrie was killed while non-violently protesting home demolitions and injustice in Gaza, and today, this court has given its stamp of approval to flawed and illegal practices that failed to protect civilian life….”
PGPF extends its heartfelt condolences to Cindy and Craig Corrie who had sued the Israeli government for a symbolic dollar as early as 2005, with the trial beginning in March 2010. We have been following the circumstances surrounding her tragic death and are determined to continue to honour her as an icon of selfless humanity in support of the Palestinian cause.
As a participant in the Freedom Flotilla of May 2010 to break the illegal seige of Gaza, PGPF proudly named its boat carrying Malaysian and international activists ‘the Rachel Corrie’. Unfortunately with the killing of 9 Turkish activists on board the Marvi Marmara, all the Flotilla vessels and passengers and crew were hijacked and forcibly taken to Israeli port of Ashdod. The Rachel Corrie was destroyed beyond nomal usage.
This did not dishearten us and in further tribute to Rachel Corrie, we named our next ship in our subsequent solo expedition of may 2011 to break the seige of Gaza ‘The Spirit of Rachel Corrie”. This ship was carrying 7.5 km of plastic sewage pipes to replace the destroyed sewage system in Gaza. We are happy to report that we did succeed symbolically in breaking the seige of Gaza as the Spirit of Rachel Corrie came within 400 metres of the Gazan coastline. As expected under threat of Israeli military assault, the ship was escorted by the Egyptian navy to its port of El Arish.
PGPF, in line with its “criminalising war” mission, views this tragic killing as a violation of Article 147 of the 4th Geneva Convention, which prohibits targeting of civilian property. This verdict further sets a dangerous precedent in violation of international law which calls for the protection of non-combatants in war zones.
We join the many human rights groups and advocates in condemning this unjust verdict which demonstrates that the Israeli military can continue to act with impunity in violating basic human rights.
To PGPF the spirit of Rachel Corrie lives on and we continue to honour this young American lass who gave her life to make a difference in the cause of injustice, as we view injustice anywhere as injustice everywhere.
Dr Zulaiha Ismail