With all the sneering and giggling going on last week,
it was hard to hear the more significant news. In case you missed it, last week marked the two-year anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Corrie had been trying to stop the demolition of a Palestinian building when an Israeli army bulldozer crushed her to death. Most news reports last week noted the anniversary by reporting that Corrie's parents, who lived in Charlotte at the time of their daughter's death, are suing Caterpillar, the makers of the bulldozer. Reactions from the Israel-can-do-no-wrong faction were predictably dismissive and in some bloggers' cases, downright cruel, while Corrie's defenders were left to endorse a lawsuit that can only be characterized as sadly desperate. The whole thing - the anniversary, the lawsuit, the reactions to it - seemed on the verge of becoming just another media circus, trivializing any real issues involved in the Corrie tragedy. In the meantime, most of the mainstream media missed a more serious event surrounding the case. Amnesty International called last week for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to support an independent investigation of Corrie's death. AI pointed out that there has yet to be a definitive explanation of what happened to Rachel Corrie. According to both AI and a US State Department's annual report on human rights practices in Israel, investigations conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) did not resolve contradictions between the official IDF position and eyewitness testimonies.
Considering that the US government has assisted in investigations into the killing of American citizens by Palestinian groups, says Amnesty International, it is reasonable to expect that equally thorough inquiries into Rachel Corrie's death would take place.
"An American citizen was killed two years ago and the US government notes the inconsistencies in the reports to date, yet it has failed to insist on a thorough, fair and impartial investigation," said Marty Rosenbluth, AIUSA's Country Specialist for Israel, the Occupied Territories and the Palestinian Authority. "Secretary Rice should demonstrate a willingness to act on her Department's conclusions by promptly supporting a new inquiry with the assistance of US law enforcement agencies." There was no immediate response from the Department of State to Amnesty International's request.