March 16 is the sad one year anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie, a 23 year old American International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist crushed to death at Rafah, Gaza Strip.
Rachel and seven other ISM activists were in the Hi Es Salam area of Rafah, Gaza, trying to prevent the razing of Palestinian land and demolition of homes. Since September 2000, over 13 000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by the Israeli army.
Last year on March 16th, the ISM activists tried for two hours to physically block the passage of two bulldozers and a tank. Rachel was especially visible to the bulldozer drivers in her fluorescent jacket. The driver of one bulldozer initially dropped sand and other heavy debris on Rachel. When she stood her ground to protect the Palestinian home, the bulldozer pushed her to the ground.
After she had disappeared from view the driver kept advancing until the bulldozer was completely on top of her. The driver then ignored the frantic calls of Rachel’s friends, driving over her with the bulldozer blade, fracturing both of her arms, legs and skull. He reversed and the other ISM activists rushed to dig out her body. She was transferred to hospital, where she later died.
The people of Rafah live in a constant nightmare. Their homes are demolished daily. They cannot remain outdoors. There is nowhere for them to hide from the world’s fourth largest army since they are prisoners inside the sealed off Gaza Strip, and also live walking targets for Israeli snipers, helicopters, tanks and airplanes.
IWPS commemorates the courageous spirit of Rachel Corrie, and calls for an end to the illegal and brutal Israeli military occupation of Palestine. More and more activists (Palestinian, Israeli and International) are having to put their bodies between bulldozers and trees and homes in an attempt to stop Israel’s massive destruction of homes and land for the Apartheid Wall.
On Tuesday, March 16, there will be several events to commemorate Rachel Corrie:
At 12:00 noon, the ISM and Israeli anti-occupation activists will demonstrate at the Erez Checkpoint between the Gaza Strip and Israel (further information from ISM: Gabe +972.55.725.958). For almost one year, all foreigners, including some journalists and diplomatic staff, have been banned from entering the Gaza Strip at this heavily militarised checkpoint and only entrance to Gaza.
At 10 am, the community of Rafah - where Rachel Corrie was killed - will commemorate her with a march starting at the main square of Rafah (info: Adwan +972.59.304.628)
There will also be a demonstration in the centre of Ramallah tomorrow night.