Accountability Sought for Killing of U.S. Peace Activist
by Israeli Bulldozer
May 21, 2014, New York, Paris, Gaza, Jerusalem, Ramallah – On the occasion of the appeal in the civil suit filed by the family of Rachel Corrie against the State of Israel for the death of the 23-year-old human rights defender, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Al-Haq, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) issued the following statement:
Eleven years after Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer, the Corrie family still awaits accountability from both the Israeli and U.S. governments. In that time, more human rights defenders, including U.S. citizens, have been killed and seriously injured by Israeli forces while standing in solidarity with Palestinians, just as Rachel was, when she was killed trying to prevent the demolition of Palestinian homes in Gaza. Yet neither the Israeli nor the U.S. government has acted to prevent or redress these human rights violations.
The impunity so far enjoyed by Israel and Israeli officials in the Rachel Corrie case is not an anomaly. Impunity reigns when the victim is Palestinian or a foreigner working in solidarity with Palestinians. Israeli forces subject Palestinians throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory on a daily basis to serious violations of international law, and Palestinian civilians are killed each year without accountability and redress. Civilians and human rights defenders must be granted the protections of international law, and all governments must be held to account when they violate fundamental human rights. In Rachel Corrie’s case, the Israeli Supreme Court has an opportunity to turn that tide.
The United States government also has a clear responsibility to protect the lives of its citizens acting as human rights defenders, and we condemn the deference it has shown to Israel in the case of Rachel Corrie as well as numerous other U.S. human rights defenders killed or injured by Israeli forces. The U.S. must demand real accountability in all cases involving violations against civilians by Israeli forces. No family should have to wait eleven years – or more – for justice.
CCR and PCHR served as co-counsel in the U.S. case, Corrie, et al. v. Caterpillar, brought on behalf of the parents of Rachel Corrie and four Palestinian families. Many of these human rights organizations observed trial proceedings in Corrie v. State of Israel in the district court in Haifa. For more information on the case, visit the Rachel Corrie Foundation.