by Michael Heggen
Below is a copy of the letter I just sent to my senators and representative regarding the killing of 23-year-old Rachel Corrie yesterday by the Israeli Defence Force. She was engaged in non-violent protest against the Israeli practice of destroying the homes of Palestinians when there is either suspicion that they are militants or when the houses are simply in the way.
Rachel and other international non-combatants like her did this by standing in front of IDF bulldozers to block them from bulldozing homes. They would do this after making contact the bulldozer driver and identifying themselves as international non-combatants. They have doing this for weeks.
This time the bulldozer driver didn't stop. He ran over her--TWICE--with the bulldozer blade down, even though he knew she was in front of the bulldozer. Rachel was armed only with a megaphone and the fluorescent orange jacket she was wearing.
The Israeli government is trying to brush this aside by saying this is a "regrettable accident" and that Rachel recklessly ran in front of the bulldozer at the last second--like a small child darting into traffic.
Eyewitnesses say that there is no doubt that the driver knew she was there. This was no accident.
Perhaps the Israelis think that with American attention focused on Iraq that this killing will simply fade away. Don't let it.
Please contact your Congressional delegation (to find out how, visit http://www.vote-smart.org). Feel free to use my e-mail (below) as a model for your own, or even copy it verbatim.
Please visit the website of the organization Rachel worked with: http://www.palsolidarity.org to find out the facts for yourself, including photos.
And remember Rachel Corrie, her family, and her friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Peace be with you,
Letter to Congressional delegation:
I am deeply, deeply distressed over the death of Rachel Corrie, age 23, in the Gaza strip yesterday.
It appears from reading eyewitness reports that the driver of the Israeli Defense Force bulldozer that killed her KNEW she was there and ran over her deliberately.
There are photos which show her in clear view of the bulldozer operator. She was using a megaphone and wearing a fluorescent orange jacket in broad daylight. She was using the same techniques that other protesters against the IDF house destruction program have been using for weeks. She identified herself to the driver as a non-combatant activist by climbing up onto the bulldozer to talk to the driver.
See http://www.palsolidarity.org/ for details and photos.
I do not believe that the suicide bombings by the Palestinians are right, and I know that Americans have been killed in those blasts. However, the Israeli government must stand above such acts. The recent behavior of the government in Israel indicates that they are not interested in human rights.
The killing of Rachel Corrie is the last straw for me. I am ashamed that it has taken the killing of an American by the IDF to stir me to action, but better late than never.
I urge you to demand that the Israeli government account for the actions with something more than the words "regrettable accident". I urge you to support actions in Congress to cut off all military aid to Israel. I urge you to publicly condemn this killing. And I urge you aggressively press the White House to push the peace process forward in Israel.
And do not forget Rachel Corrie or the homes she was trying to protect.
This was no "accident". The killing must stop.
Permission to copy the above letter, in whole or in part,
without acknowledgement to the author is freely granted.
Page created 3/17/03.
© 1995-2004 by Michael Heggen. All rights reserved, except as noted.