Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rachel Corrie's family bring a civil suit against Israel but they should beware the enemy within

Yesterday saw Richard Purssell, a British witness to Rachel Corrie's death, give evidence in a Haifi court during the first day of a civil suit brought by Ms Corrie's family against the Israeli government. The Israeli government maintains that her death when she was run over by a bulldozer in 2003 as she and other activists tried to stop the Israel razing homes in Rafah was an accident, The Corrie family lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, the family lawyer contentds that her death if not intended, was due to gross negligence by the Israeli military. Should the Israeli state be found guilty of either the family will sue for damages.

The Israeli position is clear and they have long since had their own internal military inquiry, which cleared the two soldiers operating the bulldozer while accusing Rachel Corrie and her fellow activists of being irresponsible and reckless. Yes, an "internal military inquiry" and that surely has to be a joke. However, although the daily drivel in Israel has long since ensured that in Israel this particular murder and with it Rachel Corrie's name "has been all but forgotten," we can expect the civil suit in Haifi to be just a bit more transparent than the original IDF inquiry, which even some U.S. officials were forced to criticise as being seriously flawed. It will be interesting to follow the events, after all Israel's ability to hold fair, transparent, impartial and thorough inquiries, like the one on Gaza last year, is being called into question here.

No, the evidence would seem to suggest that either intent or gross negligence was behind Rachel Corrie's death. Moreover, with the Corrie family willing to make all sorts of efforts to bring this civil suit against Israel, we can be fairly sure that they are fairly sure that their suit has every chance of being successful, which in turn means that they are more or less convinced that the Israeli state bears the responsibility for their daughter's death. Therefore, bearing this in mind the news that the family met senior members of Vice President Joseph Biden’s staff in Jerusalem, sort of had my mind drifting back to the Lebanon in 2006 and me sitting in a Cypriot hotel after being evacuated.

Now, while most of the other Brits had flown back to 'Blighty' courtesy of HM's government there were still a lot of American nationals around in that hotel and there was one particular group of "proud to be American" U.S. citizens, who had been visiting their Lebanese families and were now waiting for a premature flight home after their escape from the Israeli Airforce's indiscriminate bombing. "Proud to be American", most certainly, but a bit cheesed off that their government was never going to criticise Israel. The sad fact is when it comes to supporting even its own citizens or supporting Israel, the government in Washington will always choose the latter. Indeed, Washington's identification with and support for the state of Israel is comprehensive.

Moreover, never was this more true than with Joe Biden. and, while Joe might today condemn the building of 1,600 new settler homes in East Jerusalem, he is about as credible as his Israeli mates. He is a Zionist, Mr and Mrs Corrie, and he represents everything that your daughter was against and just as you can be fairly certain that the Israeli government is responsible death, you can also be just as sure that Joe Biden and his ilk are not wholly innocent. Of course, your daughter would have known this when she was burning a U.S. flag in Gaza in 2003. Yes, while it might be a truth that is just as uncomfortable for you to face as it was for those American citizens in that Cypriot hotel, the enemy, Mr and Mrs Corrie, is within.

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