Rachel Corrie, Killed March 16, 2003

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Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American college student and peace activist from Olympia, Washington was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer while she and others were trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Rachel sat between the bulldozer and a Palestinian home scheduled for demolition by the Israeli Army, refusing to move. The bulldozer pushed Rachel to the ground and drove over her and back over over, fracturing her arms, legs and skull. She died shortly after being transported to a nearby hospital.

The Israeli Army claims Rachel was killed accidentally when she ran in front of the bulldozer and the driver did not see her. Eyewitness accounts and photographs of the sequence of events tell a different story - wearing a bright orange florescent jacket with reflective stripes and clearly identifying herself as an unarmed international peace activist through a megaphone, Rachel was well marked and posed no threat. See an eyewitness who was interviewed by TSVN by clicking here (go in 2 minutes).

Rachel was not killed during a bomb hunt or battle with armed militants. There was no search of the house for weapons by soldiers, no bomb-sniffing dogs, no gunfire from Palestinians - in fact, the demolition had nothing to do with retaliatory or preventative operations. No guns. No bombs. No terrorists. The house was home to a pharmacist and his family. (detailed grim photostory here)

The Israeli army investigated itself and found itself innocent. Corrie's parents sued and in 2012 an Israeli court found Israeli authorities blameless. Hear Stanley Heller's interview with Craig Corrie after the decision.

The U.S. government has never expressed its outrage over this killing or conducted its own investigation.

A resolution was sponsored in Congress some years ago calling for a U.S. investigation. It never got more than 20-25 sponsors. We in Connecticut organized for it for a long time and even though over 1,000 people petitioned for our reps in Congress to support it, none ever did.

Rachel was killed by an American-made Caterpillar bulldozer supplied and paid for by U.S. taxpayers to the Israeli government. Currently, the U.S. Congress is considering a 12-billion-dollar aid package to Israel, a third of which would be earmarked for military and security spending. At three billion annually, Israel already receives the most U.S. foreign aid. If past behavior is any indication of the future, this request will be approved.

Rachel, like so many Palestinians killed and suffering from the excessive violence of the Israeli Army, was a good and innocent person. In a media statement released by Rachel's parents, "Rachel was filled with love and a sense of duty to her fellow man, wherever they lived. And, she gave her life trying to protect those that are unable to protect themselves."

In her own words, through e-mail correspondence shortly before her death, Rachel described the difference between herself and the Palestinian civilians living in Gaza, "I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells... I have the option of leaving... Nobody in my family has been shot... I have a home. I am allowed to go see the ocean."

The killing of Rachel was so outrageous and her person so appealing that she has become an iconic figure for the human rights movement. There been photo collections, songs, films and a play written about her, a mural, even a cantata.

Her parents have become outstanding activists in their own right and have set up the Rachel Corrie Foundation.

Video of Rachel Corrie in 2003