Rachel Corrie's parents, Craig and Cindy (above), and her sister, Sarah, are in Israel this week, waiting for a verdict from the Haifa District Court on the family's suit against the government of Israel. The verdict from Judge Oded Gershon, is expected to be announced Tuesday.
The civil suit was filed two years ago over Rachel's 2003 death when an Israeli Defense Force bulldozer killed her as she stood with a bull horn protesting the IDF's destruction of a Palestinian home in Gaza. Israel's official response was that the death was an accident.
Amira Hass, West Bank and Gaza correspondent for Ha'aretz, reported Thursday that U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, told the Corrie family that...
"Israel's investigation into the death of American activist Rachel Corrie was not satisfactory, and wasn't as thorough, credible or transparent as it should have been."
The U.S. government position is "not new" to the Corries, but their attorneys told the family that hearing it only a few days before the verdict was "important and encouraging [to the family]," because it signals to the Corrie family that the U.S. government will continue to demand a full accounting from Israel about their daughter's killing, regardless of how Judge Oded Gershon rules."
The ruling will mark the end of the latest chapter in the Corrie family's long ordeal as they seek justice over their daughter's death.
Rachel Corrie came to Gaza in 2002, where, as Amira Hass explains, "she joined a group of International Solidarity Movement activists who had been living among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, in areas that were subject to Israel Defense Forces incursions and attacks."
A statement of support from Ambassador Shapiro suggests that he is not optimistic that the Tuesday verdict will be good news to the Corries. But the fact that Shapiro chose to issue this supportive statement prior to the verdict, has to be a good sign that the Obama administration will continue to demand a more complete and thorough investigation into Rachel's death.
An ultimate judgment in this case rests in the hands of Israeli courts. There is little, other than diplomatic pressure, that the U.S. can do to support the Corries. But the fact that President Obama, during his reelection campaign, is willing to signal to the Corries that, regardless of the outcome of the Tuesday ruling, an Obama government will continue to support their family's quest for justice.
It would have been an easy call simply to remain silent in the face of a possibly unfavorable court decision. But Obama was not silent. This is an indication that Israel's control over the White House is not as firm as it was in 2003, during the Bush administration, especially in the emotional climate during the period right after 9/11 when Rachel was killed.
We may expect influential pro-Israeli U.S. citizens to respond negatively to even the slightest sign from President Obama that is not supportive of Israel.
We have advance warning from one such pro-Israeli citizen.
He is Ronn Torossian, a New York based public relations executive, who took one look at the Republican party's choice of Paul Ryan as its vice-presidential candidate to ask the inevitable question on his blog: "Is Paul Ryan good for the Jews?" Ryan will be nominated as Mitt Romney's running mate during next week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
Is Paul Ryan good for the Jews?