Saturday, April 15, 2006; A13
Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American peace activist, was killed three years ago in Rafah, Gaza, by an Israeli army bulldozer while trying to prevent the unlawful demolition of the home of a Palestinian family with whom she had lived. David Segal's April 9 Sunday Arts article about the play "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" promulgates misinformation that maligns both Rachel and the Palestinian family whose home she was protecting. We want to set the record straight.
There were no tunnels under the Samir family's home. As the Israeli army bulldozer approached the Samir home, Rachel stood her ground in front of it, knowing that the three young Samir children were inside. Six months after Rachel's death, the Israeli army demolished the home and found no tunnels of any kind under it. The Samir family was neither compensated for its loss nor helped to find a new home.
They, along with 10,000 other families who have had their homes destroyed by the Israeli military (according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) are refugees in their own land.
There were no tunnels under the Samir home; the Israeli government has never said there were tunnels under the home Rachel was protecting. Once and for all, it is time to put an end to the fallacy that tunnels had anything to do with Rachel's death.
-- Bonnie Brodersen
-- Eugene Robbins
The writers are Rachel Corrie's aunt and uncle.
Saturday, May 13, 2006; A15
"The Truth About How Rachel Corrie Died" [Free for All, April 15] is not as billed. Writers Bonnie Brodersen and Eugene Robbins, identified as Corrie's aunt and uncle, assert that "it is time to put an end to the fallacy that tunnels had anything to do with Rachel's death" when she was in the Gaza Strip three years ago as a recruit for the International Solidarity Movement.
In truth, on the day she died, March 16, 2003, Corrie and other International Solidarity Movement recruits repeatedly obstructed Israeli military bulldozers working along the Gaza-Egyptian border. In this area, the Israel Defense Forces frequently uncovered tunnels used for weapons smuggling.
Bulldozers razed not only buildings that hid tunnel entrances but also structures that served as cover for snipers and as storage for contraband ammunition. In addition, the bulldozers destroyed buildings to detonate explosives planted by Palestinian terrorists.
That day, interference by ISM recruits in a closed military area caused the Israeli army to halt its heavy machinery for three hours. ISM members sat or stood in front of the machines.
When Israeli bulldozers resumed demolitions, ISM recruits followed and hindered them; Corrie, behind a pile of rubble, was accidentally run over and killed. Had Palestinian terrorists not used tunnels and conducted other related activities in the area, and had Corrie not been in Gaza for weeks trying to obstruct Israeli counterterrorism, she would not have been killed. Tunnels had plenty to do with her death.
Finally, notwithstanding Brodersen and Robbins's portrayal of their niece as a human shield for Palestinian civilians, the ISM's "internationals" functioned symbiotically with Palestinian terrorists. For example, just days after Corrie's death, the ISM's Susan Barclay told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that "she [Barclay] knowingly worked with representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad." Nine days after Corrie's death, Israeli forces arrested an Islamic Jihad terrorist, Shadi Sukiya, in ISM offices on the West Bank. Five weeks later, after taking tea with ISM members in Gaza and visiting the group's office there, two suicide bombers murdered three people and wounded more than 50 in a Tel Aviv cafe. ISM leaders have termed such crimes "resistance" and have supported nonviolence as a public relations supplement to terrorism.
-- Eric Rozenman
The writer is Washington director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.