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March 23, 2004
Message from Craig and Cindy Corrie



March 16, 2004

Message from Craig and Cindy Corrie

Thank you to all who have paused today to remember our daughter Rachel Corrie and to call for an end to the occupation-an occupation which took her life, as surely as it has taken the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis.

Rachel looked for purpose and found that in Gaza when she went there in January 2003. Brutally killed one year ago today, she was an unarmed, nonviolent, peace activist trying to prevent the demolition of the home of a Palestinian pharmacist, his wife, and three children. She believed that the nonviolent activism that she was doing and supporting would make not only Palestinians but also Israelis and Americans more secure-- by supporting Palestinians who practice nonviolent rather than armed resistance and by speeding an end to this conflict that has so damaged both U.S. and Israeli images in the world. Rachel stood there that day because the United States government and Israel rejected a proposal in the UN to send international human rights monitors to the region. She and other activists went in their place, and they continue to go. Rachel stood there that day protesting illegal home demolitions that the U.S. opposes on the record, yet fails to stop-devastating demolitions that we, in fact, contribute to with billions of U.S. tax dollars annually that fund the Israeli military with its bulldozers, apache helicopters, F-16s, and more. In fact, the U.S. Government, with our tax dollars, surely purchased the Caterpillar D9R bulldozer that killed Rachel. .

Rachel's case is closed in Israel and only the "Conclusions" to the military police report have been given to the U.S. We have been able to view the report at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco. It contains inconsistencies and fails to satisfactorily reconcile the differences between the Israeli soldiers who say they did not see Rachel and the seven international eyewitnesses who say she was clearly visible. We believe that only an independent U.S. investigation can produce a result that we can trust. We continue to call for support and passage of House Concurrent Resolution 111 (HCR111) that calls for such an investigation and now has fifty-six co-sponsors.

Rachel wrote, "When I am with Palestinian friends I tend to be somewhat less horrified than when I am trying to act in a role of human rights observer, documenter, or direct-action resister. They are a good example of how to be in it for the long haul. I know that the situation gets to them-- and may ultimately get them-- on all kinds of levels, but I am nevertheless amazed at their strength in being able to defend such a large degree of their humanity-- laughter, generosity, family-time-- against the incredible horror occurring in their lives and against the constant presence of death...I wish you could meet these people. Maybe, hopefully, someday you will."

In September we traveled to Gaza and visited the families in whose homes Rachel had stayed. All were threatened with demolition because of their location near the Egyptian border and the giant steel wall being built there. We shared meals with these families and played with their children. In recent months all of their homes have been demolished.

In the West Bank, we witnessed the strategy of separation taking physical form in the web of fences, walls, identification cards, and checkpoints that separate not only Palestinians from Israelis, but Palestinians from Palestinians, farmers from their fields, children from their classrooms, workers from their jobs, the sick from their healthcare, the elderly from their grandchildren, municipalities from their water supplies, and ultimately a people from their land. In Jerusalem we met members of an Israeli-Palestinian organization "Bereaved Parents" who have lost relatives to the conflict and now work together to end the occupation, and then for peace and reconciliation. In Israel, we met with peace activists who asked us to return home and work to end U.S. funding of the occupation.

After a year spent learning more, and after experiencing so personally the loss that thousands of Palestinians and Israelis share with us, we echo once again Rachel's plea for it all to end, "This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benetar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop."

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