US gov’t has failed its promise to get answers from Israel about Rachel Corrie killing, her mother says

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
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Cindy (center) and Craig Corrie with their daughter Sarah in Jerusalem on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012 while being interviewed by the Associated Press. (Photo: AP/Sebastian Scheiner) 

The family of Rachel Corrie, who was killed by the Israelis nine years ago at age 23, has been shocked by the failure of the US government to get answers from its close ally about the killing, Rachel Corrie’s mother said today.

“Yes we have had support from the US government,” Cindy Corrie said. “Has enough been done at this point? I don’t think so.”

She compared the US government’s inaction to the British government, which has had a strong response to similar killings– to the point of seeking the extradition of Israeli soldiers.

Speaking in a conference call from Haifa, where the Corrie family’s wrongful-death civil suit against Israel was denied yesterday by an Israeli judge, Corrie said: 

“Definitely there have been [US] officials who are compassionate and caring, who care about Rachel and this case, and some have stepped out to make sure that it gets investigated and looked at in a better way. But the bottom line is that it’s our family that’s out here pursuing this. We can’t fulfill the promise made by [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon to [former President] Bush. That is the responsibility of the US government, and that has not yet happened.”

During the call, set up by the Institute for Middle East Understanding, Cindy Corrie reviewed a pathetic history of US promises to get to the bottom of the matter. 

Then-President Bush and then-Israeli PM Sharon had a telephone conversation on March 17, 2003, the day after Rachel was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza Strip, and Sharon promised a “thorough, credible, and transparent investigation of Rachel’s killing,” Corrie said. 

At that time, North Caroline Senator Jon Edwards was the Corries’ senator, and a member of his staff had a connection in the White House and told the Corrie family that “Bush read the riot act to Prime Minister Sharon.”

But when Israelis completed a military police investigation of the case in 2003, American government officials read it and said it was not thorough, credible, or transparent. This was stated first by Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, and later by Michael Kozak, a human rights official at State, in testimony to Congress about Israel’s human rights record.

“Subsequently we’ve met with Anthony Blinken, Vice President Biden’s national security adviser, and he also confirmed to us in 2010 that this remained the  position of the US government,” Corrie said.

Last week the Corries and their daughter Sarah met with Dan Shapiro, US ambassador to Israel, as well as with two other US officials, including consular officer Lawrence Mire. Shapiro affirmed that the US government position had not changed: the Israeli investigation was not thorough, transparent, or credible. 

Cindy Corrie also pointed to a 2008 letter she got from Michele Bernier-Toff, then Managing Director of the Office of Overseas Citizen Services at the Department of State.

“We have consistently requested that the Government of Israel conduct a full and transparent investigation into Rachel’s death. Our requests have gone unanswered or ignored.”

Corrie commented, “This was shocking to us. Given the support the US Government has for what happens here… [in Israel and in the occupied territories] it was shocking to us that this many high level officials in the US Government could not get a better response from our ally.” 

Corrie said the British response to killings of its citizens demonstrated the American passivity. In the 2003 killings of James Miller and Thomas Hurndall, the Israelis had also whitewashed their soldiers’ conduct, and the British government had pursued the matters “very strongly,” Corrie said. 

The British conducted a “coroner’s inquest in the UK” and found that “James had been murdered, Tom intentionally killed. And at that time, they started to move for extradition of soldiers to the UK. And it was Tzipi Livni [former Israeli foreign minister] who said, this had become too difficult between the two governments.” Then a financial settlement was reached.

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19 Responses

  1. flyod
    August 29, 2012, 1:42 pm

    i’m afraid the corries need the support of the current president – they don’t appear to have that

  2. radii
    August 29, 2012, 2:06 pm

    there are no answers to get – the facts of the vicious murder are there to see in photos and video … what the US gov’t has failed to do is demand accountability and exact punishment upon israel for this vicious murder of one of its citizens

  3. Annie Robbins
    August 29, 2012, 2:43 pm

    phil, thanks for linking to Chris McGreal’s 2003 article. he has a new one up at the guardian that’s a must read ‘verdict exposes Israeli military mindset’ which he characterizes as a “climate of impunity”.

    The message to ordinary soldiers was clear: you have a free hand because the military will protect you to protect itself. It is that immunity from accountability that was the road to Corrie’s death.

    She wasn’t the only foreign victim at about that time. In the following months, Israeli soldiers shot dead James Miller, a British television documentary journalist, and Tom Hurndall, a British photographer and pro-Palestinian activist. In November 2002, an Israeli sniper had killed a British United Nations worker, Iain Hook, in Jenin in the West Bank.

    British inquests returned verdicts of unlawful killings in all three deaths, but Israel rejected calls for the soldiers who killed Miller and Hook to be held to account. The Israeli military initially whitewashed Hurndall’s killing but after an outcry led by his parents, and British government pressure, the sniper who shot him was sentenced to eight years in prison for manslaughter.

    That sentence apparently did nothing to erode a military mindset that sees only enemies.

    Three years after Corrie’s death, an Israeli army officer who emptied the magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl, Iman al-Hams, and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was cleared by a military court.

    Iman was shot and wounded after crossing the invisible red line around an Israeli military base in Rafah, but she was never any closer than 100 yards. The officer then left the base in order to “confirm the kill” by pumping the wounded girl full of bullets. An Israeli military investigation concluded he had acted properly.

    Tuesday’s court verdict in Haifa will have done nothing to end that climate of impunity. Nor anything that would have us believe that Israel’s repeated proclamation that it has the “most moral army in the world” is any more true than its explanation of so many Palestinian deaths.

    read the whole thing.

  4. Citizen
    August 29, 2012, 2:44 pm

    I never meet anyone in my day to day on the streets of America who has ever heard of Rachel Corrie. Such is America. Gilad Shalit she’s not.
    Everybody knows Anne Frank, dead in a foreign land for how many years?

    • just
      August 29, 2012, 5:32 pm

      And the US State Dept under Clinton did a whole lot of talking about Gilad.

    • Abu Malia
      August 30, 2012, 11:24 am

      @ Citizen – everything you’ve said in the above comment is absolutely true and it makes my blood boil like noodles.
      In my 20 years as licensed driver i have never put a sticker on a car that i owned – ever! In fact, I remember when i had problem with an apartment management company that i rented from because they insisted i put a sticker on my wind shield bearing the company’s name so as not to tow my car from the parking lot.
      I prevailed. I told them it was a security issue for me (not true) and i didn’t want to announce to the whole world where i lay my head.

      Now where can i find that “Rachel Corrie R.I.P” sticker?

      • Citizen
        August 30, 2012, 2:52 pm

        @ Abu Malia
        Yeah, it really sucks that Americans never were told about the murder of Rachel Corrie by our mainstream media. Normally, they are all over it when a young woman who looks like the proverbial “girl next door” is treated badly by anyone–sells like hotcakes! Just goes to show, when it comes to anything critical of Israel, the American mainstream media is not interested, not even its yellow press, even if it its a very worthy item with large foreign affairs ramifications, truthful, and would sell lots of product.

        Shows who has the clout in contemporary America. Nothing will change under a SCOTUS that views money as free speech. A real American leader would get up on the stump, talk directly to the American masses, and tell them why political campaign funding should be limited to government control of this channel, paid for by US tax dollars. No other way to get rid of special interests having their way everytime at the expense of the majority of citizens.

  5. LanceThruster
    August 29, 2012, 2:54 pm

    “thorough, credible, and transparent investigation of Rachel’s killing,”

    In Israeli Zionist double speak it means that the opposite will be done but they will pretend that that’s what actually occured.

  6. Citizen
    August 29, 2012, 3:31 pm

    It’s been open season on innocent Americans critical of Israel; over 40 have been killed as of 2004, more since, as you may know:

  7. Blake
    August 29, 2012, 3:46 pm

    From RT with an interview with activist Ronnie Barkan:
    ‘Rachel Corrie verdict a clear example of Israel’s rights violations’

  8. Danny_123
    August 29, 2012, 4:29 pm

    I’m still wondering what planet the Corries are from. Did they actually believe for an instant that they would find justice for their daughter in Israel? Apparently they didn’t (and still don’t) know who they are dealing with – the world’s most accomplished whitewashers and bald-faced liars. Much better would have been to sue Israel for damages in an American court, thereby maximizing their chances at getting justice and bringing a PR migraine on Israel’s head. I would suggest to the Corries to get themselves a great trial lawyer and go medieval on Israel.

    • Blake
      August 29, 2012, 7:24 pm

      Would have helped if the American Govt had backed them up like the Brits did – mentioned in Adam’s article entitled: Jimmy Carter on Corrie verdict: ‘The court’s decision confirms a climate of impunity, which facilitates Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territory.’

      ” In contrast, the family of James Miller, an Emmy Award-winning British filmmaker killed by Israeli forces in Rafah two months after Corrie’s death, ultimately received over $2 million in damages from the Israeli government. The government of the United Kingdom had threatened to seek the extradition of the Israeli soldiers in question.”

  9. just
    August 29, 2012, 6:10 pm

    I’m not sure if anyone has linked to this article By Glen Greenwald already, but it’s well worth a read:

    How the US and Israeli justice systems whitewash state crimes

    Courts are supposed to check the abuse of executive power, not cravenly serve it. But in the US and Israel, that is now the case.

  10. ColinWright
    August 29, 2012, 7:49 pm

    “US gov’t has failed its promise to get answers from Israel about Rachel Corrie killing, her mother says”

    This is news? ‘In other startling developments, rainfall totals increased as Tropical Storm Isaac moved inland.’

    Give me a break. And please don’t be surprised if I don’t bother to read all the excited expressions of outrage.

    All one needs to do is to recognize that Israel is evil. Then everything becomes all too predictable — and the only remaining question is what are you doing about it?

  11. dbroncos
    August 29, 2012, 9:48 pm

    Shortly after Rachael Corrie was killed I joined a protest at City Hall in Philadelphia. On my way there I carried a sign that read, “We Remember Rachael Corrie”. A woman walking with her child stopped me and asked me what my sign was about. I told her about Rachael. She frowned in disapproval of what had happened to her. As I walked further on a man leaned out his car window and yelled, “Shove that sign up your ass!” I didn’t respond to his callous nonsense. I continued walking, head high, to the protest.

    My walk to the protest clearly demonstrated to me the challenge before us:
    1.Educating Americans who don’t know about Rachael Corrie or about untold millions of Palestinians suffering under Zionist oppression
    2.Standing up to be counted against the Zionist fanatics.

    My sympathies to the Corrie family. Rachael was very brave and she lives on in the hearts of those who share her goal of a free Palestine.

  12. DICKERSON3870
    August 29, 2012, 10:24 pm

    RE: “US gov’t has failed its promise to get answers from Israel about Rachel Corrie killing, her mother says” ~ Weiss

    ALSO SEE: “Billy Bragg: The Lonesome Death of Rachel Corrie”, Common Dreams, 8/28/12

    “An Israeli bulldozer killed poor Rachel Corrie
    As she stood in its path in the town of Rafah
    She lost her young life in an act of compassion
    Trying to protect the poor people of Gaza
    Whose homes are destroyed by tank shells and bulldozers
    And whose plight is exploited by suicide bombers
    Who kill in the name of the people of Gaza
    But Rachel Corrie believed in non-violent resistance
    Put herself in harm’s way as a shield of the people
    And paid with her life in a manner most brutal . . .

    . . . Oh, but you who philosophise disgrace and criticise all fears,
    Bury the rag deep in your face
    For now’s the time for your tears.”

    Billy Bragg: “The Lonesome Death of Rachel Corrie” [VIDEO, 04:57] –


    Blood Of The Lamb, Wilco & Billy Bragg (VIDEO, 04:16) –

  13. crypticvalentin
    August 30, 2012, 1:41 am

    for Rachel

  14. NickJOCW
    August 30, 2012, 8:32 am

    The US and Israel are forever acclaiming their shared values which is strange when you think how acknowledging such values would make most of us blush.

    Israel has become infuriated by a fresh initiative of Arab member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which seeks to launch a global campaign to slam Israel’s possession of nuclear stockpile.

    The motion tabled by 17 Arab IAEA members has been submitted to a preparatory commission to be put to vote at the Agency’s September meeting which is to be attended by 154 countries, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

    The initiative is widely expected to be ratified, as it enjoys the support of Muslim countries as well as other states critical of Israel’s stance on Palestine, the report said.

    Israel’s Ambassador to the IAEA Ehud Azoulay, has censured the initiative, saying the Arab nations have no moral right to point fingers.

    As an aside, it is noteworthy how much the Guardian is quoted above when one considers that only days ago the air here was filled with persons telling the US editor in chief how to do her job.

  15. Jeff D
    August 30, 2012, 10:55 pm

    We are never, ever going to have transparency, honesty or morality so long as Zionists write the checks for campaign “contributions”, nor so long as AIPAC continues to enjoy unquestioned loyalty and fear from Congress. That last will continue so long as we fund the Israeli government with more money than it takes to fund AIPAC.

    What other country on the planet, ever in human history, delivers or has delivered government funding to a foreign lobbying group whose mission is to subvert that country’s foreign and domestic policy at every turn?

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