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A conversation about the verdict in the Israeli civil case that Rachel Corrie's parents brought against state of Israel
Simona Sharoni is a professor at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh and the chairperson of its Gender and Women's Studies Department. A citizen of Israel who served in the IDF, she worked closely with Rachel Corrie before she left to Gaza while Sharoniwas teaching at the Evergreen State College. Sharoni said today: "The Corries' lawsuit was not only designed to hold the state of Israel and its military accountable for taking Rachel's life; it exposed the Israeli injustice system and its brutal treatment of Palestinians; it raised awareness to home demolitions and to the role played by such companies as Caterpillar -- whose bulldozer killed Rachel Corrie -- in perpetrating human rights violations in Palestine. As an Israeli citizen, I am deeply ashamed of the verdict that absolved Israel of any responsibility. Solidarity messages from around the world, including from peace activists in Israel, have expressed outrage at the verdict."
What kind of proceeding was this? Did a single judge decide or was there a jury?
This was a civil lawsuit and yes there was a single judge.
Talk about Rachel Corrie and her goals for Israel.
Rachel's sister met w ith over 200 offices in congress from 2004 to 2010. Tried to push the state department and ". to get closure.
Was there ever a statement from the Bush Administration?
State department said there would be a thorough investigation. And Netanyahu said there would be one but there was not"
What about the fact that the area was considered a war zone?
War zone-- are all locations where settlers are taking Palestinian homes considered war zones?
Israelis will categorize any area a military zone when the military goes in to do what it wants to do. They'll go to a neighborhood" and it can turn into a war zone in a matter of sec onds.
In Tianenmen Square, a young person is a hero for standing up to a tank, but we have a young woman who was protecting the home of a family with young children"
What do most Israelis think about this?
It's hard to tell what most Israelis think because citizens, especially under the current government, tend to view anyone who is critical of Israel, and its military, as a threat. Along these lines, an attempt by the family to hold the state accountable is likely to be met with defensiveness and trivialized in the mainstream media.
There are Israeli citizens not just ashamed of the verdict but cynical of the implications.
To some young people in Israel, Rachel was a hero. Rachel did have an impact.
Rachel saw herself as a bridge between Palestinians and Israelis.
israeli citizens are not allowed to travel to the West Bank or Gaza. Only soldiers, settlers and people from the international solidarity movement can go there.
The majority of Israelis may not know who she was. There was an attempt in the beginning to marginalize the story.
Sharing the story on Facebook and tweeting about it has made the name a household name in the liberal quarters of Israel.
We have a state that re-defines national security any way it pleases. People in Israel don't tend to question the government or the military.
In the middle east, thousands of little girls are named Rachel Corrie. For people in the middle east Rachel represents the other America-- the person who cares about other peoples' human rights.
Tell me about how the people of Israel view this case. Some said she was a terrorist.
Most Israelis have been conditioned to defend what the state and the military do, especially when they argue that it was done for "national security" and to fight "terrorism." If you don't but this propaganda then you are more likely to view the bulldozer who crashed Rachel to death as an act of terrorism, rather than try to present a human rights activist as a terrorist.
Who in Israel is outraged feeling this is a case of failed justice or other perceptions?
Most peace activists and human rights activists; Palestinians citizens who hold Israeli citizenship
Who is happy or celebrating?
I don't know if anyone is celebrating as the verdict was fairly predictable
What are the next steps that Rachel's parents can take?
I haven't spoken to them directly in the past two days but from what I am able to gather the family and the lawyers will appeal the case to the Israeli Supreme Court
What does this tell us about the current Israeli justice system and the trajectory it is on?
It underscores what Palestinians have been saying for decades: that Israel is far from being the democracy it proclaims itself and that the state and the military refuse to be held accountable.
If you are not Jewish and you are Palestinian and you dare question what the state is doing, especially military operations, that your life is fair game.
What was Rachel's preparation for her actions. Did she feel she was entering a war zone, as the judge ruled she was?
Rachel spent almost half a year preparing for the trip. I was one of her mentors during that period. She studied Arabic, learned Middle East history and examined carefully the history of the conflict. She reached out to Israeli peace activists that I introduced her to, she sought to establish pen-pal relationships between schools in Olympia WA and in Rafah, Palestine.
Of course she knew she was entering a war zone. Like other human rights activists worldwide, she hoped that her privileged status as an American citizen will offer some protection to Palestinians.
Since when do we blame human rights activists of entering a war zone? Would we accept a judge that would rule that a woman was raped because she entered a sexist bar like hooters... Blaming the victim add insult to injury!
Didn't some people in Israel think Rachel Corrie was a terrorist?
That's the result of Israeli propaganda.
is this something that the Israeli Government does routinely to deal with the settlements?
Who are the settlers? Where do they come from and what motivates them to settle in a war zone?
they were offered a Jews only, apartheid roads. They sold it to Jews who couldn't afford real estate in Israel as a suburb of Tel Aviv.
Check the web page and Facebook page of the Rachel Corrie Foundation.
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