An eyewitness account of Rachel Corrie's murder from ISM activist Tom in Rafah

Bryan Atinsky bryan at
Tue Mar 18 08:53:47 MST 2003

[ converted from html, "for rachel" ]

Many of you will of heard varying accounts of the death of Rachel
Corrie, maybe others will have heard nothing of it. Regardless, I was
10 metres away when it happened 2 days ago, and this is the way it

We'd been monitoring and occasionally obstructing the 2 bulldozers for
about 2 hours when 1 of them turned toward a house we knew to be
threatened with demolition. Rachel knelt down in its way. She was
10-20 metres in front of the bulldozer, clearly visible, the only
object for many metres, directly in it's view. They were in Radio
contact with a tank that had a profile view of the situation. There is
no way she could not have been seen by them in their elevated
cabin. They knew where she was, there is no doubt.

The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop
as it went. She knelt there, she did not move. The bulldozer reached
her and she began to stand up, climbing onto the mound of earth. She
appeared to be looking into the cockpit. The bulldozer continued to
push Rachel, so she slipped down the mound of earth, turning as she
went. Her faced showed she was panicking and it was clear she was in
danger of being overwhelmed. All the activists were screaming at the
bulldozer to stop and gesturing to the crew about Rachel's
presence. We were in clear view as Rachel had been, they
continued. They pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath
the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit. They
waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed
with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second
time. Every second I believed they would stop but they never did.

I ran for an ambulance, she was gasping and her face was covered in
blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. She was showing
signs of brain hemorrhaging. She died in the ambulance a few minutes
later of massive internal injuries. She was a brilliant, bright and
amazing person, immensely brave and committed. She is gone and I
cannot believe it.

The group here in Rafah has decided that we will stay here and
continue to oppose human rights abuses as best we can.

Please: forward this message.  Boycott caterpillar Take direct action
against the Caterpillar Corporation - please do not let this be
without cost to them. Legally, i shouldn't ask you to do anything
destructive or against the law.

If you're wandering about Rachel: her writings, photos of her and
statements on her death are available on the below website. More
photos: go to yahoo news section, search for photos by 'rachel'.

If you're wandering about the International Solidarity Movement:

If you're wandering about the bulldozers: They're American,
Caterpillar made armoured D9 Bulldozers. I estimate the blade is maybe
8 ft high, 15 ft wide and more than 9 tons. They're purchased from
America using the $12billion per annum military aid package that
America gives to Israel. For a report on their previous usage: go to (well worth reading
- especially if you didn't believe anyone would be crazy enough to do

If you're wandering about Rafah: in the southern Gaza strip, next to
the Egyptian border. Apart from suffering in excess from the problems
all over Palestine: Israeli manipulation of the water supply, economic
strangulation, regular shootings and army operations, Rafah is
afflicted by the building of an extra border wall. It has caused
hundreds of homes to be destroyed. The house in question, that of a
doctor, like dozens of others in the area is not set to be demolished
because of any supposed link to militants. Only because it lies within
100 metres of the new border wall, currently in construction. Families
receive no compensation from Israel, and are frequently given just a
few minutes warning in the form of live ammunition being shot through
the walls of their house.


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