Israel not guilty over Rachel Corrie, but what of those who encouraged her to go to Gaza?
While it is obviously unwise for anyone to put themselves in the middle of a combat zone, it is unlikely she would have acted so recklessly in the absence of a broader atmosphere of anti-Israeli hysteria
A court in Haifa, Israel, has this morning found that the State of Israel was not responsible for the death of American citizen Rachel Corrie in Gaza in 2003. Corrie, 23, was killed by an Israeli armoured bulldozer while acting as a "human shield" in front of Palestinian buildings that the Israelis were demolishing for security reasons near the Egyptian border.
Corrie became an international cause célèbre after her death, but the essential finding underpinning the judgment -- that the driver of the bulldozer had not seen her -- was predictable, credible and fair. According to the Times of Israel, the driver testified that, from the cabin, he had a limited view of what was going on directly in front of him, a problem exacerbated by the fact that Corrie was kneeling down in front of the bulldozer's blade.
While we agree with the judge that Corrie's death was a "very unfortunate accident" it can hardly be disputed that he was also right in saying it was the "result of an accident she brought upon herself". Tragically, indeed it was. She was effectively shielding terrorists in the very same area where attacks had been launched against the IDF just hours before her death.
But there is more to say than this. While it is obviously unwise for anyone to put themselves in the middle of a combat zone, it is unlikely she would have acted so recklessly in the absence of a broader atmosphere of anti-Israeli hysteria.
At 23, she must, of course, be considered accountable for her actions, and for the views that led to them.
But neither must we forget the vast international network of anti-Zionist fanatics, buttressed by fellow travellers inside the mainstream, that helped encourage a naive young American woman to believe it was reasonable to head half way round the world to "defend" the Palestinians against Israeli "oppression".
In the end, Rachel Corrie was a fool to go to Gaza, and the price she paid was far greater than she deserved. But that foolishness was embedded in an agenda of hate.
It is now time for the authors of that agenda to acknowledge that they too must share some responsibility for Rachel Corrie's death.
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