The expected verdict in the death of Rachel Corrie, killed under the wheels of an Israeli-modified Caterpillar bulldozer in 2003, came down yesterday and the court found no fault with the Israel Defense Forces. That was no surprise. But the deafening silence about it in Washington is nonetheless reprehensible.
I’ve met Cindy and Craig Corrie, Rachel’s parents, on several occasions. I cannot imagine the lives they lead. I cannot imagine the death of my child, much less the death of a child at the hands of a supposed ally of my country with no accountability. I can’t imagine my child being killed by that ally and then seeing my child being blamed for the incident. Yet the Corries have lived through all this, and somehow, while their frustration has grown, it has never morphed into hate. Somehow they always cling to the hope that Israel, an ostensible ally and fellow democracy, will at some point do the right thing.
I’m sure, though I haven’t spoken with them in years, that the Corries held out little hope that this verdict would be that point. But what is perhaps most stunning is that there is no clamor in the United States, aside from those whose sympathies would be with Rachel’s cause in trying to protect Palestinians from the ravages of occupation, for some kind of action on behalf of a US citizen who lost her life on foreign soil under, to be kind, questionable circumstances.
Take Cindy Corrie’s words today: “This was a bad day, not only for us, but for human rights, humanity, the rule of law, and the country of Israel.” Someone was missing on that list, but Cindy got to them in another comment: “The diplomatic process between the United States and Israel failed us.”
I admire Cindy Corrie’s restraint। But the US failure here is much broader than what she is saying. And it’s a long term one.