Corrie & The Caterpillar

The killing of American activist Rachel Corrie on March 16, 2003, brought home the horrific realities of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Fearing that a U.S. war in Iraq would spur an increase in Israeli violence, Rachel, a 23-year-old Olympia, WA native, chose to spend her winter quarter at Evergreen State College with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in Rafah, a city in the southern Gaza Strip located along the border with Egypt. The ISM is a nonviolent movement based in the West Bank and Gaza Strip which brings human rights activists from around the world to join in solidarity with Palestinians resisting the effects of the Israeli military occupation.

In spring of 2003, many ISM activists were concentrated in the Gaza Strip in response to the launching of a widespread home demolition campaign in Rafah. Claiming that the Egyptian border city served as a conduit for interstate weapons smuggling, Israel began destroying hundreds of homes to clear a “seam zone” along the border. On March 16, 2003, convinced that the destruction of the homes of innocent people could never be justified, Rachel stood nonviolently between Dr. Samir Masri’s family home and a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer. Rachel wore a bright orange coat and pleaded through a megaphone for the soldiers to halt the demolition. The bulldozer did not stop, but instead drove over Rachel, crushing her body to death beneath its blade and wheels. [read]


  • Thanks for posting this. It’s good to see that people the world over recognize the ultimate sacrifice Rachel gave in the name of peace.

    Her family lives about 1 hour east of where I live. They are working diligently to prepare for a conference this Spring which will discuss peace, human rights & the Palestinian people. Her parents are dedicated to carrying on their daughter’s legacy.

  • Of course, what you are stating is simple one account of her death.

    Those who wish to examine the issue further can go to the Wikipedia article on “Rachel Corrie” at:

    As Wikipedia points out, her circumstances of her death are not as clear cut as many anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian activists would have you believe. Among other things, there appears to be many contradictions in the accounts of eyewitnesses and the ISM’s questionable presentation of evidence to bolster their accounts.

    She sacrificed her life, I believe, for the sake of terrorism and interfering with operations against Hamas. Hardly a hero. Simply another fool like Mr. Fox. Certainly a waste.

  • No, Rambling Taoist, not cynicism but realism and honesty.

    Neither you nor I nor Nas knows exactly what happened the day Rachel Corrie. None of us were there. It is not cynical to point out that the supposed facts put forth about her death in this piece are actually disputed. It is not cynical to point out that some of the statements and behaviors made by her colleagues

    Rather, it is cynical to take the George Galloway/Al-Jazeera/Electronic Intifada/Hamas/Anti-American/Hate-Israel-No-Matter-What-The-Facts-May-Really-Suggest-style perspective on an issue like this at face value, without question, and present the details as though these were facts beyond any dispute.

    Was Rachel Corrie killed intentionally by a crazed Israeli bulldozer driver? Maybe, but probably not likely. Was she killed accidentally by a bulldozer driver who simply couldn’t see her and ran her over? Much more likely. Or, perhaps she was killed just as the Israeli autopsy indicated – by falling debris and completely out of sight and sound of the bulldozer driver. Very possible also.

    I’m curious how some of you would react if a videotape emerged demonstrating she died exactly as the IDF described or, more realistically, if one or more of her fellow ISM members eventually admitted to fabricating their (reportedly somewhat contradictory) eyewitness accounts. Would you take what you have said back? Would you apologize for unfairly libeling the Israelis? I doubt it. That’s cynicism.

  • Samaritan, none of this changes the fact that she was killed in an accidant that only happened because of the IDF’s illegal, inhumane, barbaric and terroristic operations in Palestine.

    She wasn’t there on a picnic, she was there for a very good cause, and that was to protest the very same unjustified existance of the same bulldozer that killed her in this “accidant” as you would like to believe it should be called.

    That bulldozer shouldn’t have been there doing what it was doing in the beginning, that was the whole reason this girl was there and that’s how she was killed (in this “accidant”).

    We have eye witness accounts vs. the statements of the people convicted of the crime themselves. For some reason you choose the second. You even called the poor girl stupid. Good for you.

    If a stranger walks in your house one night, remember not to resist, remember not to stand in his way or even protest, coz who knows what kind of accidant might happen if he was armed, and you know if such an accidant occurs, your family will not be able to prosecute your killer for murder, it will be an “accidant”!

  • Ok, Hamzeh, so were back to debating the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict all over again. (Rolling my eyes.) I thought we already addressed this issue.

    “because of the IDFâ??s illegal, inhumane, barbaric and terroristic operations in Palestine.”


    Eye witness accounts? Oh, you mean contradictory eyewitness accounts from members of a questionable organization versus an autopsy and other evidence to the contrary. I never called the girl ‘stupid.’ I never said she was unintelligent. I stated she was a fool. In other words, she was extremely unwise.

    Your ‘home invasion’ metaphor isn’t even close to being on the mark. The girl was intentionally getting in the way of an ongoing antiterrorist operation. A person who is attacked in their own house is not attempting to put themselves in any harm and is not looking for a confrontation. They certainly aren’t attempting to defend terrorists. A more accurate metaphor would be that you see the police drawing weapons on a criminal and you decide to put youself between the police and the criminal. Yeah, pretty damn foolish.

  • samaritan, when it comes to terrorism, please keep quiet! I guess you have better views in other matters, “anti-terrorist operation!!!” you say, lord! I can’t find words to reply,

    I beg you, please, keep quiet..

  • Yes, it was an anti-terrorist operation. From Wikipedia’s article on Corrie:

    “The IDF say that she was interfering with security operations designed to clear brush and debris next to a building in an area next the Israel-Egyptian border – where smugling tunnels used by Hamas and other groups for smuggling weapons and explosive from Egypt.”

    “The IDF said that the demolitions were intended to uncover explosive devices, and destroy smuggling tunnels and firing positions.”

    “Corrie was in a group of seven ISM activists (three British and four Americans) attempting to disrupt the actions of the bulldozers. The IDF later said it was not intending to demolish houses but was clearing debris and shrubbery to expose explosive devices.”

    Of course, the Israelis did find such tunnels. Sounds like an anti-terrorist operation to me.

    One thing I also noticed about her death is the following. Look at the pictures of her after being injured, she looks badly beaten up but then look at the picture of the D9 bulldozers used to clear debris versus the size of the individuals in the picture. These bulldozers are massize, the size of a tank! Some have suggested that she went under the bulldozers tracks. If she were really ran over by such a vehicle even once as some have suggested (not to mention, twice as some have alleged) I think she would would have look more than severely battered, she would have been reduced to bloody splatter on the ground.

  • “The IDF said …”. Ok I get it, you’re a member of the Ayatollah IDF religion. Well, you’re entitled to believe in what the IDF says, I’m entitled to believe they are liars, and as a matter of fact, they are the people who brought terrorism to the land of Palestine in the early 20th century. Research the origins of the IDF and you’ll know what I mean.

  • You might be right Hamzeh. Maybe the IDF’s operations in Gaza had nothing to do with terrorism. Maybe the IDF went out with bulldozers to Rafah in the Gaza Strip for the specific purpose of killing Rachel Corrie. 😉

    Yes. I can see it now. I see the planners in the highest echelons of the IDF deciding that Corrie was such a menace that must eliminate her at all costs. 😉 Forget Hamas, Fatah, Iran and Syria, Rachel Corrie is the biggest threat the state of Israel faces! RACHEL CORRIE MUST DIE! 🙂

    What else would the IDF be doing out there Hamzeh? Playing a friendly game of soccer? Having a dance party? Maybe a picnic?

    As for Ayatollahs, Hamzeh, those are more likely a feature of your religion, Islam, than mine: nominal Catholicism.

  • What else would the IDF be doing out there Hamzeh? Playing a friendly game of soccer? Having a dance party? Maybe a picnic?

    with all due respect, LOOOL in astonishment at some people’s sheer stupidity – again with all due respect!

    It seems someone has lost it! so My deepest condolences!

    okay! I will try to ‘contain’ myself …

    This certainly is rudimentary, but here it goes again … scattered in form:

    though israel is an illegitmate state, it so remains that they managed to get world wide recognition and establish their own state on stolen land. In case you may have forgotten, Palestine is under occupation!

    IDF is for israeli defense forces, right?

    defense against what?

    A more accurate name for them is IOF – israeli occupation forces.

  • Iman, my comments about picnics and dance parties were sarcastic. The only stupidity involved would not be comprehending that fact (“with all due respect” of course.) 😉

    Your characterization of the IDF does not answer the claim Hamzeh was making. Namely, what specifically was the IDF doing there if not engaging in activities intended to disrupt the operations of terrorists (i.e. anti-terrorist operations)? Perhaps in your paranoia, you think they were clearing land for further settlements in Gaza maybe? Given the fact that there had been no further settlements in Gaza for a very long time that would sound highly improbable. It’s Occam’s Razor – the simplest explanation is probably the best. The simplest explanation for what the IDF was doing was clearing firing positions and looking for smuggling tunnels. “With all due respect,” ( 😉 ) it’s not that difficult to figure out.

  • Iman, my comments about picnics and dance parties were sarcastic. The only stupidity involved would not be comprehending that fact (â?with all due respectâ? of course.)

    No. Way.! they were? Nah! They could not have possibly been! LOOL …

    By z way, “The only stupidity involved would not be comprehending that fact” is constructed wrong :$

    But anywho, I stopped reading after what I quoted above … You see, I don’t like wasting my time by reading nonsense 😉 If I feel that I am in need of a big laugh, I’d make sure to be back for more of your posts

    Shalom 🙂

  • Iman, you’re an English grammar teacher, huh?

    Since you’re such a stickler for perfect English I should point out that the second word you posted after stating that my sentence was constructed wrong, the word ‘anywho’, is not a word in the English language. To give you credit, however, you did spell the word ‘but’ that preceded it correctly! 😉

    I post my replies in a hurry. I don’t check them carefully for grammar or spelling. If you want to be a stickler on such matters there are plenty of other people who post on this blog that you could criticize.
    Given that fact, do you have anything more substantive to say on this whole Rachel Corrie issue than commenting on my grammar? Or instead, perhaps you can go back to making generalizations and engaging in hyperbole about the IDF to avoid serious discussion of the issue. 😉

  • People, please try and have a decent conversation. This has nothing to do with religion or personal insults, so if you want to continue, keep your eye on the ball

  • Samaritan, I never even implied in the least bit that the bulldozer that killed Rachel Corrie was there for the sole purpose of doing that. If I remember correctly, I even stated in my comments that I believe it was an accidant, but that doesn’t mean that her blood is wrongfully on the Israeli government hands.

    Although, if you throw your sarcastic comments at any journalist who’s been to the West Bank and Gaza and who’s covered the clashes between Israeli tanks and fully armed soldiers and teenage boys they’ll tell you that they won’t be surprised if someone “at the top echelons of the IDF” issued the orders to target Rachel Corrie given that the IDF has a long black history when it comes to targetting journalists and human rights activists, be it with physical harm, harrassment or simply stopping them from doing their job.

    Don’t forget that these are the same people who in front of everyone with a freakin microphone in their face threatened politicians on the other side of the “negotiation” table with death and in one instance plotted against them (if you remember the incident when the defense secretary told Ariel Sharon in a press conference that “we have to take him out” – about Arafat).

    These people are ruthless murderers. This is what this great and only democracy in the Middle East was built upon, it was built upon the terrorizing of thousands of Palestinian villagers and driving them out of their homes prior to 1948. It was built on crimes like that in Dir Yasin, go back and read what was done in Dir Yasin by the fathers of the IDF.

    How many homes do you think were demolished in Rafah to search for tunnels? Take a guess, take a wild guess. How many tunnels do you think there are? More than four thousand homes were completely demolished in Gaza and Rafah, and Rafah is a refugee camp. Don’t you think there’s just something fishy there? Four thousand homes in search of maybe a few tunnels? Clearly they are searching the wrong way and they are only using it as an excuse.

  • ….North of the capital, U.S. troops killed a boy, his parents and five other people after their patrol was ambushed in the Sunni town of Duluiya early on Sunday, Iraqi police said. The U.S. military said troops killed seven “terrorists.” ….

  • Hamzeh stated:

    “I never even implied in the least bit that the bulldozer that killed Rachel Corrie was there for the sole purpose of doing that.”

    Gee, then what were you saying in that previous post? I don’t get it.

    “…theyâ??ll tell you that they wonâ??t be surprised if someone â??at the top echelons of the IDFâ? issued the orders to target Rachel Corrie given that the IDF has a long black history when it comes to targetting journalists and human rights activists…”

    So perhaps they were out to get Corrie, you think. Hmmm….you are pretty funny Hamzeh. Let us see, they killed an American ‘peace activist’ (read: terrorist sympathizer/American flag burner) to put themselves in the international spotlight and gain controversy with the United States? I don’t think so.

    “Donâ??t forget that these are the same people who in front of everyone with a freakin microphone in their face threatened politicians on the other side of the â??negotiationâ? table with death and in one instance plotted against them”

    Oh. Arafat? That corrupt demagogue and terrorist. The man was not willing to compromise on practically anything and gave tacit support to terrorists. You are right to put the words “negotiation” in quotation marks. “Negotiation” with Arafat was an impossibility. Sadly, in the future, the Palestinians will probably never get anywhere near as good a deal as the one that Ehud Barak offered Arafat. Especially, with another “non-negotiator” like Hamas in power.

    “More than four thousand homes were completely demolished in Gaza and Rafah, and Rafah is a refugee camp.”

    Which begs the question: why does the Palestinian Authority retain refugee camps in Palestinian-controlled territory? As a bargaining chip and propaganda tool, of course. Maybe as a breeding ground for future terrorists also. Can’t they at least let these people live like other Palestinians? The Jews didn’t have to remain in concentration camps to receive compensation for the Holocaust after World War II. If the Palestinians honestly believe they have a legitimate case against Israeli with regards to the refugee issue, they don’t have to keep people in such facilities.

    Enkidu: I don’t know the story behind your post or what it has to do with Rachel Corrie. If your point is that the Western/American/Israeli part of the world is bad, then contemplate this story from the Islamic world:

    Rather than bringing up such stories in this discussion, how about we discuss Rachel Corrie instead?

Your Two Piasters: