Contradictions be damned: Colonel Pinky’s last stand in the case of Rachel Corrie

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The last session of the Rachel Corrie court case in Haifa had been repeatedly postponed on account of the weightiness of the witness. Colonel Pinhas Zuaretz, better known by his nickname, Pinky, was the commanding officer of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade at the time the late peace activist was killed. I decided to display my solidarity with my fellow countryman, to wear my heart on my sleeve so to speak. Lacking pink in my wardrobe I donned the loudest Aloha shirt I had with large off-pink flowery pattern. Pinky turned out to be weighty indeed: a rotund, dark-skinned, middle-aged man with closely cropped salt-and-pepper scalp, thick black eyebrows and bulldoggish jowls. Despite the reassurance of our shared Semitic features, his presence evoked in me the same gut-level discomfort I had always sensed whenever seeing Ariel Sharon or our current foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

Don’t jump to conclusions, please! Some of my best friends are rotund. I have a teenage neighbor who on occasion helps me collect my free-range chicken eggs. He has a low IQ and an inborn glandular disorder that stores excessive fat on his short torso. Also I have many American friends who tower a foot or more over me. Whether a war criminal, a bar bouncer, a simpleton, or an average well-fed person, the sheer bulk of a corpulent man is enough to intimidate and rile me on the inside. Today’s witness was no exception: I wished I had worn black.

Even before he spoke, I decided that I wouldn’t want to wrestle with the man. His body language and his automatic assumption of priority in communicating with the judge, whose ruddy complexion suggested another longish repose on some tropical seaside, did little to reassure me. But Husain Abu-Husain proceeded right away to tangle with the man and to try to cut him down to size: How can a man of his rank make so many spelling mistakes in his written affidavit, Abu-Husain asked? Would he care to comment about the sexual harassment case a woman soldier once brought against him? Would he commit to the principle of protecting human life? To this last one Colonel Pinky acquiesced begrudgingly after stressing his first allegiance to protecting the life of his soldiers. And was he still convinced of his conclusion after his rushed investigation of the case of the late Rachel Corrie only hours after his soldiers’ D9R Caterpillars had crushed her to death that their conduct was flawless? To this he responded in the positive stating that Rachel had died through her own carelessness and willful interference on the side of the terrorists who had sent her to disrupt the soldiers’ orderly carrying out of their duty of leveling an area. The presence of the home of a certain Dr. Khalil and another ‘yellow house’ repeatedly mentioned in the military investigations was considered immaterial not only by the witness but also by the judge who struck the line of questioning from the record.

In Colonel Pinky’s logic there seemed to be no place for doubt: things were either white or black. What he repeatedly asserted was that the whole area was a war zone and anyone present in it was as good as dead, “ben mavit — mortal” by definition. Rachel was on the side of the enemy and her death should have been a forgone conclusion. How could someone miss such simple logic? Pinky shook his head repeatedly in exasperation at the unbelievable stupidity of his doubters. And his soldiers were performing their duties in a war zone. That included the killing of enemy combatants or of their supporters and messengers, he seemed to imply. And yet his soldiers acted in a humane manner. They tried to give first aid to the accidentally injured woman. Pinky emphasized this ‘humane gesture’ that his soldiers extended to another victim whom they had shot dead as well. This last bit of logic made perfect sense to me: When you willfully shoot to kill someone, why would you want to extend first aid to him or her? Indeed this was beyond the call of duty.

When Abu-Husain pointed out a contradiction between Pinky’s written affidavit and other documents on record regarding an injury he claimed he had suffered, the judge stepped in to rule that as irrelevant. This protective intervention was to be repeated by the judge several times, usually in response to the objection of the defense lawyer raised with such animated movement of her brightly manicured pretty hands over her head out of synch with whatever she was saying. I figured the woman would be something to behold with her favorite witness on a dance floor; she seemed so twirly and sympathetic to his preposterous who-the-hell-is-this-Arab-questioning-my-judgment stance.

Twice, in his attempt to shield the witness from the aggression of his unjust doubters, the judge made pronouncements so damning of the IDF that I expected Pinky to get up and slug him in the mouth: When Abu-Husain brought up the case of a soldier under Pinky’s command who had killed another international activist, lied about the circumstances of the murder and his story was taken as the honest truth by Pinky, the judge did not allow that into the record because he thought it was irrelevant to Rachel’s case. Besides, the judge rationalized, soldiers lie just as others do including in his court. Then there was the issue of drug abuse in the unit the members of which were involved in Rachel’s demise. Again the judge threw that out explaining that drug abuse was widespread in all units of the IDF. I expected Pinky to maul him so hard that he would need to go back to R&R at some far off rehab facility. But the commander swallowed the insult quietly. After all, from the start he gave signs of a common understanding between him, the defense, and the judge, not the result of some collusion, God forbid, but of each doing his duty in repulsing the onslaught of so many goyim on “the most ethical army in the world.” But especially Pinky had an expression of disgust at being badgered by a team of Palestinian lawyers. It didn’t make sense to me: True Abu-Husain is of darker skin and that may have justified Pinky’s look of condescension in his own eyes. But Dakwar, the second prosecution lawyer, is as fair-skinned as they come, fairer than the judge himself. I figured it must be size that decides status this time around.

In Colonel Pinky’s clear-minded view, the last question that Abu-Husain lobbed at him must have looked like the nastiest of curveballs: Abu-Husain must have seemed to him to be intent on adding insult to injury. He, a former ranking colonel and currently the Deputy Head of the FIDF (Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces,) had been already dragged enough through the mud: He had to defend himself against the attacks of a scrawny (by comparison) dark-skinned (also relatively so) Palestinian (also relatively so since his Palestinianism had been compromised by an Israeli citizenship in Pinky’s black-and-white world,) reminiscent in his private thoughts, no doubt, of the standard IDF practice dummies. And now the dark-faced, kaffiyah-clad, hole-riddled scarecrow wanted him to apologize to the parents of that foreign pro-terrorist provocateur! These Ishmaelites, our leaders told us, were supposed to serve us as “Hewers of wood and drawers of water.” Look at them now, biting the hand that feeds them. How terribly insulting it must have felt to the colonel. Thanks God the judge interfered and promptly halted the assault on the defenseless soldier even before the defense lawyers objected. He angrily explained the inappropriateness of such a gesture before He Himself had a chance to issue His ruling.

In rural Galilee the older folks tell a story about a wild Bedouin’s first encounter with the law. He was dragged into town and kept overnight in a cell repeatedly threatened by his jailers with having to face the judge. After the affair was over he was heard explaining gleefully: “I was scared stiff by the prospect of tangling with the judge. But the judge turned out to be a man.”

After all, our judge turns out to be an Israeli man. I bet you my last Aloha shirt the Corries will not get the one dollar they are suing for.

Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh is a Palestinian doctor who has worked for over 35 years to bring medical care to Palestinians in Galilee, against a culture of anti-Arab discrimination. He is the author of the book A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel. This post originally appeared on his blog.


About Hatim Kanaaneh

Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh is a Palestinian doctor who has worked for over 35 years to bring medical care to Palestinians in Galilee, against a culture of anti-Arab discrimination. He is the author of the book A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel. His collection of short stories entitled Chief Complaint was released by Just World Books in the spring of 2015.

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21 Responses

  1. Taxi
    July 14, 2011, 10:34 am

    Thanks for the eye-witness updates, Dr. Kannaaneh, the wit and wisdom too.

    Alice in Wonderland is the title of every israeli law and order book it seems – when it comes to justice for Palestinians or their supporters.

  2. sandy
    July 14, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Lots of subjective interpretation and malicious insinuation, few facts.

    From the actual facts contained in the article, I can see nothing wrong regarding the judge’s reactions.

    A trial is about a specific legal case, not about deciding whether the defendant is a “nice person” or whether he has ever done anything wrong in his life unrelated to the incident in question.

    All in all, this article seems nothing more than a desperate attempt at defending a failed lawsuit by vilifying the defendant and libelling the court.

    • RobertB
      July 14, 2011, 1:24 pm

      sandy Your zionist/Israeli hasbara won’t get you anywhere; the “TRUTH” people are exposing your racist zionist ideology everyday.

      Your beloved IDF killer got away with murder…he is scott free…NOT one hour in prison for crushing a young American woman to death. His 9 ton Israeli bulldozer ran over Rachel “twice”!!!


      Israel, We Won’t Forget Rachel


      “On March 16th, an Israeli soldier driving a bulldozer two-stories high crushed to death 23-year-old Rachel Corrie, an American nonviolent human rights protestor. According to numerous witnesses and photographic documentation, she was killed intentionally.

      Rachel and a handful of others practicing Ghandian nonviolence in the Gaza Strip had been pleading with Israeli soldiers for two hours not to destroy a Palestinian family home. Suddenly, the Israeli bulldozer operator began driving his giant bulldozer toward the home, Rachel sitting in its path. Witnesses report that she then stood up on the mound of debris and dirt pushed by the bulldozer blade and looked straight at the operator through the window. He continued, and she was pulled underneath the tractor, its blade crushing her. He then backed up, running over her again, burying her deeper into the dirt.

      Three friends ran to Rachel and dug her out. According to an eye-witness report by Joe Smith of Kansas City: “Her body was in a mangled condition, she said ‘my back is broken!’ but nothing else her eyes were open and she was clearly in a great deal of pain.” A Palestinian ambulance made it through Israeli forces, and took her to the hospital, where she died. Reports are unclear whether it was her fractured skull or the suffocation caused by crushed lungs and being buried in the dirt that caused her death.”

      link to

      • sandy
        July 14, 2011, 1:45 pm

        Typical that you would cite a news article from the time just after the incident, when not many verifiable facts were public yet, but basically just rumors and a lot of speculation.

        It’s 2011 now, and the results of the investigation of the incident paint a very different picture.

      • tree
        July 14, 2011, 5:06 pm

        It’s 2011 now, and the results of the investigation of the incident paint a very different picture.

        YES, now we know that the doctor’s house, which Rachel was protecting from demolition, was not the site of underground tunnels, as alleged by the IDF. We now know that the stated purpose of the demolition was to create an open corridor along the border, and that numerous civilian houses were demolished to accomplish that end.
        link to

        We also know that Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Corrie family in 2004 that the Israeli investigation into her killing was NOT “thorough, credible, and transparent” and advised the Corries to sue in Israeli court. Other State Department officials in both the Bush and Obama Administrations raised concern or questions about the investigation, including now VP Joe Biden.

        We also know that Human Rights Watch, in a 2005 report, ‘concluded that the Israeli military acted with impunity and concluded that the Israeli investigation of Rachel Corrie’s death: “fell far short of the transparency, impartiality, and thoroughness required by international law.”’

        We further know that (s)”ince the Corrie family initiated legal proceedings, the State of Israel has and continues to employ procedural tactics in order to delay the hearing of the trial. Four eyewitnesses to Rachel’s killing were granted entry visas to testify in Israel, but only following external diplomatic pressure. The Israeli
        authorities are still refusing to allow the Palestinian doctor from Gaza, who treated Rachel and confirmed her death, to enter Israel to give testimony. The Corries’ legal team is seeking to have the doctor testify via video-conference; however, the state is arguing that he should not be permitted to testify remotely due to difficulties in supervising the procedure. Furthermore, an unconventional motion submitted by the state and approved by the court on February 28, 2010, grants the state the right to submit its testimonies up to 30 days after the plaintiffs’ testimonies have been heard.”
        [In other words, the state got to hear the plaintiffs testimonies well before it has to submit its testimonies, allowing it to tailor its own testimonies.]

        We now know that all civilian eyewitnesses testified that Rachel was in plain view of the D9 driver when the bulldozer approached her that last fateful time.

        We also know that the Dr Yehuda Hiss, the coroner who performed the autopsy, violated a court order by not allowing a representative from the US Embassy to be present during the autopsy, and he also took samples from Rachel Corrie’s body, without informing the family of his actions, or offering them the option of burying those samples along with her body.

        We know that one of the Israeli military police investigators, in his testimony, stated:
        “- He never inspected the site where the killing occurred; nor did he ever sit inside the D9
        bulldozer to see for himself the view the driver had and what the field of vision was.

        – He admitted that the Israeli military’s D9 bulldozer regulations state that the D9s should not be operated with civilians in close proximity. He failed to question the bulldozer driver about
        these regulations or make them part of the military police investigation file.

        -He received a court order authorizing Rachel’s autopsy under the condition that an official from the U.S. Embassy be present, and at the time informed the court that the condition would be upheld. Subsequently, he made no effort to ensure that this condition was upheld, nor does he know if anyone else did, stating he did not consider the follow-up his responsibility. He also failed to forward the final autopsy report to the court, even though this was required, stating that his commander did not require him to do so and that he simply “did not pay attention” to the court order. Dr. Hiss ultimately performed the autopsy without an American Embassy official present.

        – To his knowledge, no ISM member was arrested the afternoon of March 16 for interfering with Israeli military activities.

        – One commander of the unit involved in the incident interrupted the testimony of the operator of the bulldozer that killed Rachel, telling him that the head of the Southern Command of the Israeli military ordered him to stop talking, not to sign anything and not to cooperate with the investigation. When asked if he considered this an intervention into the interrogation, the investigator testified that he did.

        – The investigator stated not only that he did not visit the site of the killing, but also that the bulldozer involved in the killing was removed from the scene directly after the incident. He testified that the only tool he used in conducting the investigation was taking testimonies of eye-witnesses and soldiers.

        – In his investigation, he did not refer to or read the Israeli military manuals that provided instructions and safety standards for operation of D9 bulldozers. He also failed to question the bulldozer driver about these regulations.

        – Though the camera posted on the border was taping 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the investigator testified that he did not see footage from the camera, nor did he ask to, stating that it was someone else’s responsibility.

        We also know that

        “Asher Asban, who conducts professional investigations involving safety regulations related to both commercial and military incidents, provided expert testimony for the Corries. He testified that:

        – According to the military’s rules, it was forbidden to operate the D9 bulldozer if there were civilians within a 20 meter radius around it.

        – The driver would have been able to see bright colors such as that of the jacket Rachel was wearing when she was killed.

        -The Israeli military had the ability to purchase cameras from Caterpillar to mount on the bulldozers. Such cameras would provide 360 degrees visibility.”

        We also know that the State’s first witnesses, another military police investigator testified:

        “- The first state witness, a Military Police investigator known to the court as Oded, was part of a three-person team that investigated Rachel’s killing. Oded corroborated much of the testimony provided by El’ad, an investigator who testified in March, and added
        additional details about the inadequacy of the investigation.

        – Oded confirmed that a commander of the unit involved in Rachel’s killing interrupted the questioning of the bulldozer operator, telling him that Doron Almog, head of the Israeli military’s Southern Command, had ordered that the questioning cease. He also said that,
        in his experience, interference of this nature from military commanders was not uncommon.

        – When asked why he did not challenge the intervention, Oded said that as a junior investigator, it was not his place to do so. He was 20-years-old at the time, with only a high-school education and three-months of training in investigation.

        – Corrie’s case was the first civilian killing that Oded investigated from beginning to end.

        -Like El’ad, Oded stated that neither he nor any other investigator visited the site of the killing.

        -Oded said that he did not obtain the video-audio recording from the military surveillance camera which filmed 24/7 until March 23, a week after he began the investigation.

        – Oded said he did not request the video-audio recording with radio transmissions of the 2 bulldozer drivers and commanders from the hours leading up to the incident, transmissions which might have provided further context to the killing. Oded stated he
        did not believe they were relevant, even though Rachel and her friends from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were protesting the bulldozer activity for several hours prior to her death.

        – When military police transcribed the radio transmissions, they failed to include an exchange in Arabic in which one soldier said, “Yem mawatu!” which in English means, “What, Did you kill him?!” and another soldier replied, “Allah Yerhamo,” “May God have mercy on him.” When asked about the discrepancy, Oded said that he did not
        understand Arabic and the investigation team did not think it was important. Oded testified that none of the investigators interviewed any of the Palestinian witnesses –including medical personnel who examined Rachel immediately following the incident. When asked why, he said he did not think they could provide any useful information.”

        We also know this:

        “One of the witnesses, known to the court as Yossi, was a Colonel in the Engineering Corps. He was responsible for writing operating manuals for military bulldozers and other equipment. He also conducted a simulation of what the bulldozer driver would have been
        able to see. In his testimony:

        – He repeatedly insisted that there are no civilians in a war zone. His assertion disregards the reality in the Palestinian Occupied Territories as well as international humanitarian law, which was created to protect civilians in armed conflict situations.

        – Yossi contradicted his own March 2003 testimony, given to military investigators, that the armored personnel carrier (APC) at the incident was intended to protect both soldiers and civilians. Today, he said the APC was there only for the safety of thedrivers.

        – In his affidavit, Yossi wrote that he conducted a reenactment of the incident. However, he testified today that he did not reenact the scene, but rather filmed a bulldozer of the same model with a bulldozer operator, and another soldier, to get a sense of what the operator at the incident might have seen. He also said he did not
        view the military’s surveillance video of the incident in creating his simulation.

        – Yossi claimed that the manual on operating instructions for mechanical engineering equipment in low intensity conflict did not apply to real conflict situations, but rather only in training and administrative activities.

        – Yossi stated that the bulldozer driver and commander have the exact same field of vision and that the commander sat at the same level as the driver, contradicting the government’s expert witness, who stated that the commander had a better field of vision because he sat higher.

        Another witness for the state, Major Yoram Manchori, testified as an expert witness on the bulldozer’s field of vision. He was responsible for purchasing heavy engineering equipment and readying it for military use. In May 2010, he created an animated simulation of what the bulldozer driver and commander’s vision might have been.

        – Manchori insisted he used in the simulation a bulldozer identical to the one that killed Rachel. However, the bulldozer he used had multiple bars on its windows, whereas the bulldozer that struck Rachel had no bars. Upon being informed of this discrepancy, he claimed that the bars did not impact visibility.

        – He conducted his simulation on terrain that was very different than the terrain at the scene.

        – He determined the simulated location of the bulldozers based on eyewitness recollections given over 7 years after the incident. He did not cross-check them with eyewitness accounts from the time of the killing, nor did he view the military surveillance video of the incident.

        – Manchori testified that the price of a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer is currently $700,000 and the cost of arming it is an additional $200,000 – $250,000, figures not previously disclosed. In light of this, it is now known that the cost of mounting a camera, which
        is often cited as being prohibitively expensive, would be less than 10% of the price of the bulldozer itself.

        – Manchori testified that after Rachel’s death the Israeli military installed cameras on one bulldozer but due to the high cost, limited increase in field vision and other problems, the installation was discontinued.

        -Manchori testified that prior to Corrie’s killing, the Israeli military tested the D9R bulldozer field of vision and that he personally had sent three charts of the results to the military investigators in March 2003. In court today, the Corries’ lawyer requested to obtain a copy of this report, stating that he needed it in order to analyze the bulldozer visibility claims made in the military police investigation of Rachel’s killing. The State argued that the report was classified and should not be allowed into evidence, although the Israeli Supreme Court previously ruled that this report was relevant to the case. Judge Gershon upheld the State’s argument.”

        We also know that the bulldozer driver was allowed to testify behind a screen, without being seen by the plaintiffs.

        “In over four hours of often confused testimony, Y.P. seemed to struggle to read and understand his own affidavit signed in April. He could not remember basic facts, such as the date of Rachel’s killing or time of day it happened. He repeatedly contradicted his own statements on the stand and testimony given to military police investigators in 2003.

        Highlights of testimony include the following:

        • Y.P stated that after he drove over Rachel and backed up, she was located between his bulldozer and the mound of earth that he had pushed, corroborating photographic evidence and testimony from international eyewitnesses given to the court in March. His
        testimony calls into question that of the commander inside this same bulldozer, whose written affidavit states that Rachel’s body was located in a different location, on the far side of the mound of earth created by the bulldozer. In court, Y.P. was asked if based on
        this contradiction he wanted to change his testimony. He firmly stated no.

        • In testimony to military police investigators only three days after the incident, Y.P. said the blind spot in front of the bulldozer was 3 meters. In contradicting court testimony, he claimed the blind spot was 30 meters–ten times the distance first stated.

        • Y.P. knew about regulations that the bulldozer was not to work within 10 meters of people. He was aware civilians were present, but said he was given orders to continue working. He said I’ m just a soldier. It was not my decision.

        • He claimed he did not see Rachel before the event. Nor did he recall seeing her specifically at all that day, despite the fact that she had protested the bulldozer’s activity for several hours and was the only female activist wearing a bright orange fluorescent jacket.”

        We also know that the unit commander that day requested to halt bulldozer operations because he was concerned a civilian might be hurt, but was ordered to continue the operation.

        “On the day she was killed, Captain S.R. radioed to Israeli army command and said that something from the bulldozer fell on Rachel. However, in court, he admitted he did not see the exact moment of the incident and that this was only a fleeting hypothesis.
        He said he reached Rachel’s body less than one minute after the incident and it was immediately clear by marks in the ground that Rachel had been hit by the bulldozer. Captain S.R.’s testimony about the location of Rachel’s body after she was hit corroborated that of international eyewitnesses and the bulldozer driver, all of whom
        said that after the bulldozer backed up, Rachel’s body was located between the bulldozer and the mound of earth that it had pushed. This calls into question the testimony of the bulldozer commander, and the position of the State, that Rachel’s body was in a different location: on the far side of the mound of earth created by the bulldozer.

        Captain S.R. confirmed that evidence photos taken by the protesters that day accurately reflect the scene of the incident after Ms. Corrie was hit.”

        From his other testimony:
        “• He testified the unit’s standard practice on the ground was to stop if someone was within five meters of the bulldozer. International eyewitnesses previously testified that Rachel was well beyond this distance when the bulldozer began its approach.

        • He confirmed he did not think the presence of protesters in the area was forbidden and stated he was not sure if it was a closed military zone, but in any event, he did not think he had the authority to declare it one. He added that it was forbidden for people to be that close to the bulldozer, and that demonstration dispersal measures were carried out on one occasion several hours earlier that day, but were abandoned as they failed to impact the protesters.

        • He confirmed that a female soldier viewed the site through a remote camera that day, and instructions could be given to his unit based on what was seen.

        • The Captain’s review of an interview he gave to Israeli Channel 2 TV’s“Uvda” program confirmed the existence of IDF video footage that has not been submitted into evidence by the State or provided to the Corrie family’s attorneys through discovery. The interview, aired on April 5, 2003, included a segment of March 16th, 2003 Israeli military video of the operations. His testimony confirms additional IDF video exists, even though the lead Military Police investigator responsible for obtaining evidence in the case stated firmly that there is no additional video.

        • He confirmed that a written document does exist that outlines regulations, specific to civilians, for a “removal procedure” – a set of instructions outlining how to remove civilians in situations such as these. Attorneys for the State continued to claim the regulation does not exist – in direct contradiction to the sworn testimony of their own witness moments before.

        The second witness to testify on Sunday was S.L., who in 2003 was head of the Mechanized Engineering Equipment Department. In an affidavit submitted to the court, referring to regulations, S.L. said, “in no way is the directive applicable to the operational conditions in which the bulldozer operated in this case.” However, in court
        on Sunday, he contradicted that assertion and admitted that regulations requiring that D9 bulldozers not operate within 20 meters of people did, in fact, apply.”

        And we know from the Batallion Commander’s testimony:

        “• He stated that there was a weekly work plan as well as a written “mission file” for the unit that identified the unit’s mission directive, participating forces, and instructions given to the force; including any safety instructions. However, this material was never released to Corrie family attorneys as part of discovery of theMilitary Police investigative file – a startling omission that calls into question the thoroughness of the government’s investigation into Rachel’s killing.

        • Sh.R. identified that there was a female “scout” who recorded both video and audio files from the event, but claimed that not all the audio was recorded. Sh.R. also confirmed that cell phones, were also used, but unrecorded, to communicate ordersback and forth between Captain S.R. and the Deputy Battalion Commander.

        • Sh.R. stated he knew unarmed protestors were in the area, but in his opinion, stopping the work was not an option. He said the protesters were not a threat to the force, but added that if every foreigner came to raise banners, terrorists would also come and he would lose his ability to control the region. He admitted that avoiding
        a precedent was a consideration in the decision to continue working. He stated that in his opinion, the protesters should have been barred from entering Gaza.

        • Although, he described in testimony that regulations state you don’t shoot unless there is intent and means to hurt you, a written summary of events recorded in the daily operations log on March 16, 2003, stated, “those foreigners should be handled and their entrance into the Gaza Strip should be forbidden. Additionally, the work must continue in the area in question. The firing orders state that every adult person should be shot to kill.” Within seven weeks of Rachel’s killing, award winning journalist James Miller and activist Tom Hurndall, both British citizens, were shot and killed along the same two mile stretch of the Rafah, Gaza border.

        • When asked if he recalled being involved in an incident of “interference” with the military police investigation, Sh.R responded, “yes” and described how his Division Commander phoned him and ordered the investigation stopped due to a dispute over authorization. Sh.R. testified that he approached the lead investigator, interrupting the questioning of the bulldozer driver already in progress, and that personal words were exchanged. He acknowledged that he instructed the investigator to stop, based on orders of the High Command. When questioned about the ethics of interfering in a military police investigation, Sh.R. stated emphatically that he was given an order and he carried it out.”

        link to


        If you think that what we know now does anything but put the IDF in an even worse light than back in 2003, immediately after the incident, then you are even more delusional than you seem.

      • RobertB
        July 15, 2011, 12:42 am

        You are dishonest & one can see through your pale attempts of trying “to paint a very different picture” of the crime scene!!! You must think of yourself as….someone who is clever !!!

        A typical “deceptive zionist” response post…sort of attempting to sprinkle some doubt to the readers regarding the crushing death of Rachel Corrie.

        There are no rumors or speculation about the death of Rachel. She was crushed to death by your beloved IDF killer, the driver of the 9 ton Israeli bulldozer. There were eye witnesses on the scene of the crime; they saw exactly what happened to Rachel.

        Your IDF killer is scott free & roaming around. Nothing to worry about. He will be looked after…for the rest of his life by your racist Israel.

      • Philip Munger
        July 15, 2011, 2:59 am


        This is quite comprehensive. I wrote a blog entry for MyFiredoglake that was similar, before Col. Pinky’s testimony. Your statement of facts, as rebuttal to sandy’s casual comment is worthy of extensive reprint. Do you mind if Mondoweiss readers, including me, do that?

    • eljay
      July 14, 2011, 1:58 pm

      Although it’s a shame and a disgrace that no-one is likely to be held accountable (“peace, not ‘justice'”) for the death of Ms. Corrie, I agree – in general – with sandy. I find the article to be colourful and impassioned, but not particularly convincing as far as “Pinky’s” guilt is concerned.

      • annie
        July 14, 2011, 2:46 pm

        you think he told the whole truth and nothing but the truth in his report?

      • Shingo
        July 14, 2011, 9:19 pm

        I find the article to be colourful and impassioned, but not particularly convincing as far as “Pinky’s” guilt is concerned.

        He admits she was killed and killed intentionally, because she was regarded as an enemy sympathizer.

        Among other things, it debunks all the lies about Corrie not being visible to the driver, or that the murder was a mistake.

      • Philip Munger
        July 15, 2011, 3:12 am

        I agree. The combination of Corrie’s and other deaths around March-April 2003 – which was the same time as the beginning of our loathsome Iraq War – was intentional. I only came to realize that during this civil suit.

        Thank you, Craig and Cindy, for having the courage to go through with this the ways you have. Hopefully, the truth indelibly embedded in the testimony of this trial will get out.

      • eljay
        July 15, 2011, 9:13 am

        >> Shingo: He admits she was killed and killed intentionally, because she was regarded as an enemy sympathizer.
        >> From the article: What [Pinky] repeatedly asserted was that the whole area was a war zone … his soldiers were performing their duties in a war zone. That included the killing of enemy combatants or of their supporters and messengers, he seemed to imply. And yet his soldiers acted in a humane manner. They tried to give first aid to the accidentally injured woman.

        All he admits is that the area was dangerous, that Ms. Corrie was in it, that she was accidentally injured and that his soldiers tried to help her. Mr. Kanaaneh’s interpretation of Pinky’s testimony, while possibly accurate, isn’t fact, it’s just an interpretation.

        So, while I do believe that Ms. Corrie’s death was not accidental, and that Israel is covering it up as best it can (as it continues to do with the Mavi Marmara incident), I honestly don’t see any damning information in this very emotional and very poignant article.

        My apologies if this is upsetting to anyone.

  3. seafoid
    July 14, 2011, 1:04 pm

    This is a must read. About Israeli militarism and society.

    link to
    “The freedom that was appropriated from the generals as a direct result of greater supervision over the army is returned to them in the form of the militarization of Israeli society, the heightened legitimization of the use of force as a means to solve the country’s problems and, consequently, a more central role for the generals in policy making.

    The army reacted to the diminishment of the secular middle class’s readiness to make sacrifices by constructing what Levy terms a “new social architecture.” In practice, this meant integrating larger numbers of religious and peripheral groups into the army and stepping up the use of technology as a replacement for manpower”

    This is what is going to bring down Israel. Same as any empire in the region. You get the wrong soldiers. The Mamluks did it in ottoman egypt. The settlers now control 30-40% of the army. Israel is SUCH a car crash.

    • Egbert
      July 14, 2011, 6:25 pm

      The wildcard is all those nukes. How close are the settlers to getting their hands on those?

  4. Cheryl
    July 14, 2011, 9:19 pm

    Thanks tree for compiling the “what we now know” follow-up to the trial. In addition, the Jerusalem Post reports that the Corries state that five minutes before Rachel was killed the surveillance camera panned away from the site and the Guardian reports that the Corries accuse Israel of withholding video evidence and of misleading the U.S. government on where Rachel’s body lay.

    So that poses the question of why Israel would need to mislead the U.S. on where the body lay. Israel wanted the U.S. to believe that the driver and more importantly the commader of the bulldozer could not see her because she was on the other side of the mound. Now we have two witnesses clearly agreeing with the civilian witnesses all of whom said that Rachel’s body lady between the bulldozer and the mound not on the other side of the mound.
    Hmmmm…..and why would the camera pan away five minutes before her death and then Israel not present the same video as evidence that Channel 2 news carried shortly after Rachel’s death ?
    Walter Mitty land indeed.

  5. Cheryl
    July 15, 2011, 7:28 am

    From the Palestine Chronicles:
    “Zuartez, the highest ranking officer with operational command responsibility called as a government witness, recognised before the judge that he and his troops knew Rachel and her fellow activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were non-violent protesters. However, he argued they were aiding “Palestinian terrorists” by acting as “human shields” which is why he saw no reason to stop the bulldozer works. “In 2003 when Rachel was killed, Rafah was a war zone and reasonable people would not be there unless they had aims of attacking our forces” he added.

    Craig Corrie, Rachel Corrie’s father, warns of the seriousness of such statements as, in his view, they show “a profound lack of regard for civilians from a very high-ranking officer in the Israeli military.” It means anyone in a war area is “fair game”, said Mr. Corrie.”

  6. Cheryl
    July 15, 2011, 7:33 am

    Also from the Jerusalem Post:

    “Among the evidence the family claims has been withheld from them are surveillance tapes that show color footage of events before and after Corrie’s death. They claim the footage was used in a Channel 2 documentary, but that the IDF has denied that the color footage exists.

    According to the Corrie family, IDF officials did submit as evidence a black and white surveillance video with footage immediately before and after Corrie’s death.

    “That video is poorer quality, incomplete and black-and-white, not color,” said Corrie’s father, Craig Corrie.

    In a statement on Monday evening, a Defense Ministry representative dismissed the family’s allegations as baseless.

    “As opposed to what is being claimed, the video in question and all evidence held by the state has been transferred years ago to the plaintiffs. As has been stated previously, the state does not have any additional evidence,” the statement read.

    The Corrie family also claims that there are discrepancies between a photograph of the bulldozer that they say killed Corrie taken by International Solidarity Movement activists, and a bulldozer shown on footage presented by the IDF.

    They also say that a surveillance camera in the area where Corrie was killed was turned to face away from the scene five minutes before she died.”

  7. Cheryl
    July 15, 2011, 7:40 am

    Again, regarding the video Haaretz reports:

    “At a news conference Monday in Jerusalem, the Corrie family — which is pursuing a civil lawsuit against Israel — said the military has only provided the court with one black-and-white video, depicting events before and after Corrie was killed.

    But the family says other video exists, including color images that were released by an Israel Defense Forces official and used in an Israeli television documentary. The family also obtained a third video.

    “There’s more video out there that needs to be turned over,” said Sarah Corrie Simpson, Rachel’s sister.

    Israeli officials have argued in court that they have provided all the video they have.”

  8. Cheryl
    July 15, 2011, 7:53 am

    Thanks to Hatim and tree for getting me thinking about all the inconsistencies in the IDF testimony and the many missing pieces: From Arutz Sheva:

    “Corrie was a member of the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement and was killed during a demonstration against the demolition of a building used by terrorists to shoot at soldiers. A pro-Hamas flotilla boat was named after her.

    Her family and ISM activists sued, based on the claim that the IDF deliberately killed her. Subsequent footage released by the IDF showed that Corrie was in a trench, out of the line of vision of the driver of the bulldozer. Zuaretz added that a pile of rubble hid her from view and that she actually was killed not by the bulldozer but by a concrete pillar that was struck by the machine and which fell on her.”

    This concrete pillar line is the story the Israelis told to the U.S. immediately after Rachel was killed. In fact, it was the conclusion of the first of the two “investigations the Israelis did and it was this conclusion they shared with members of Congress, then Ambassador Kurtzer and others. The conclusion was that the bulldozer did not run over Rachel and she was behind this pile of rubble and that a concrete piece from the rubble
    fell on her. It was their official story.
    Now the bulldozer driver and the commander of the entire unit on the ground both have given testimony that it was immediately clear that the bulldozer had run over her. Pinky lied from the get go and eight years later his lies continue. His lie traveled all the way from Gaza to Tel Aviv to the U.S. Congress and the State Department.

  9. CigarGod
    July 15, 2011, 9:57 am

    Oh my gosh!
    Instant fan.
    How so intelligent, well adjusted and humorous a person can be produced in such a land is a mystery and maybe a miracle.

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