Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Empty-handed in the battlefield (2)

Eleven years ago, on March 16, 2013 , a young American woman named Rachel Corrie was killed in Rafah, at the southern Gaza Strip, when she tried to block with her body an Israeli army bulldozer engaged in the demolition of Palestinian homes. The bulldozer’s activity was part of the army's policy at the time, to maintain a corridor called "The Philadelphi Route" separating the Palestinians in Gaza from Egypt – and to extend it continuously by the systematic destruction of Palestinian homes. This policy ultimately failed and the IDF came out of there two and a half year later. That was far too late for Rachel Corrie as for many others who were killed there.

Rachel Corrie's name is not forgotten. The play "My Name is Rachel Corrie" was shown in London and then in New York and other parts in the U.S., was widely publicized and became the focus of a hot controversy. It is a one-actress play, the text of which is wholly based on what Rachel Corrie wrote in her personal diaries and in the emails which she sent to her family from Rafah. Last night the play was presented in Hebrew, at the Jewish-Arab Theatre in Jaffa - an impressive performances by Sivan Krechner. It evokes the character of a vibrant, idealistic and generous young woman, a person which I would have very much liked to know regardless of politics.

Rachel Corrie's parents, Craig and Cindy, had filed a civil suit against the State of Israel - the only channel by which they could demand justice for their  daughter and require senior IDF officers who were involved in the Rafah policy to appear in court. Two years ago the Haifa District Court rejected their suit, ruling that Rachel Corrie herself was responsible for her death and that the military authorities bear no responsibility.

Tomorrow morning , Wednesday May 21, at 11:30 am, the Supreme Court in Jerusalem will hear the family’s appeal.

After the Haifa District Court announced its decision, I published in this blog a non-judicial refutation of the judge's conclusions.