WASHINGTON - March 15 - The Green Party of the United States is marking the one-year anniversary of peaceworker Rachel Corrie's death in the Gaza Strip on March 16 with a renewed call for Congress to pass House Concurrent Resolution 111 calling for an independent investigation of the incident.
On March 16, 2003, Ms. Corrie, a 23-year-old college student with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) was repeatedly run over by an Israeli soldier using a CAT bulldozer, despite the fact that she was wearing a bright orange vest and repeatedly shouted at him to stop. At the time, she was participating in nonviolent protest against the demolition of a Palestinian physician's home in Rafah. A few other ISM members have also been killed in the conflict, with the tolerance of the U.S. government, signaling that protection of American nationals is no longer a restraint on Israel.
"The Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz reported on June 26, 2003 that 'No disciplinary measures will be taken against any of those involved in the incident in which Corrie was killed'," said Stan Heller, Connecticut Green and chair of the Middle East Crisis Committee. "The IDF Southern Command blamed the victim and determined that the driver of the bulldozer did not see Rachel and did not intentionally run over her, despite eyewitness accounts to the contrary. This contradiction makes it imperative for the U.S. to conduct an impartial investigation."
Following Ms. Corrie's death, her Congressman, Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) introduced the resolution in the House International Relations Committee, calling on the U.S. "to undertake a full, fair, and expeditious investigation into the death of Rachel Corrie."
At least 210 organizations, including the Green Party, have endorsed a petition for the resolution. The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has led the call for a Rachel Corrie National Day of Action on March 16; at least 30 vigils have been planned.
"While Bush was rushing the U.S. into an invasion of Iraq to protect us from non-existent WMDs, Rachel Corrie, an American citizen, was being crushed to death in the Gaza Strip," said Josh Ruebner, grassroots advocacy coordinator for U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. "American taxpayers give Israel between 3- 5 billion annually in aid, including the funds to purchase the American-made Caterpillar bulldozer that killed Rachel. We have a right to know what happened."
"Rachel Corrie embodied values important to Greens: nonviolent conflict resolution and peaceful resistance to the ongoing injustice of the Israeli occupation and destruction of thousands of Palestinian homes, orchards, and ancient olive trees," said Justine McCabe of the Green Party's International Committee. "The Green Party is on the side of all those working for peace and adherence to international law in Israel and the occupied territories."