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Rachel Corrie

Once again some members of the Israeli defence force have shown behaviour worthy of an Auschwitz guard. Once again the old conflicts in my own mind are stirred up.  It is a bit like the second great march against the Iraq war.  Time has proved how right the marchers were, but we found ourselves walking alongside Islamic fundamentalists with whom we felt very little in common.  All it proves is the undesirable behaviour that results from religion – any religion.  Whether it is islam, judaism or christianity, the outcome is mayhem and murder.  There is no human so irrational and dangerous as those who believe they have god on their side. 

It also shows, in my view, tha major mistake that was made after the second world war when the west tried to purge its collective remorse for the holocaust, but chose to do so at the expense of Palestinians. It was downright stupid to think that it was possible to put the clock back so far.

Two good sources for today’s news. 
Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range

And the eyewitness account by Swedish crime writer Henning Mankel who was on one of the original flotilla boats: ‘I
think they went out to murder’

You can follow the progress of MV Rachel Corrie as she approaches Gaza at the WitnessGaza site

MV Rachel Corrie

The name of Rachel Corrie is imprinted on my mind. It was the news that this 23-year old American college student had been callously crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer (made in the USA). That was the incentive to start my politics blog. I stopped maintaining that when Blair left office, but may occasionally get political here.

Read about Corrie on her family’s memorial web site. It is excruciatingly sad.

In her memory, here is a reproduction of my first political post, from 2003.

A Great American.

On Sunday, 16th March 2003, a 23-year-old American peace activist, Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death by a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the Israeli army destroying homes in the Gaza Strip

You can read here some of the emails that she sent home before she died. And a reaction from Naomi Klein in the Globe and Mail (Toronto).

” Katharine Viner has edited her writings for a new play, on an ordinary woman with an extraordinary passion”. [Guardian]

John Sutherland documents some of the terrifyingly violent reactions of ‘patriotic’ Americans. [Guardian]

One ‘patriot’ wrote

“Anyone who would burn an American flag deserves to be bulldozed to death!!! Hopefully the US government will aim some bulldozers at the next group of war protesters, those anti-American motherfuckers.”

And now another: Tom Hurndall

A British peace activist shot in the head while observing the Israeli army in Gaza, in April 2003, has died in hospital.

Tom Hurndall, 22, was overcome by pneumonia at the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability, in south-west London.

Click here for the sad details.
The Thomas Hurndall Fund has the latest news.

Watch videos of the murder and of an interview with his mother.

A conviction at last!

Latest: after an indefatigable campaign by his parents to discover the truth, on 27 June 2005, a former Israeli soldier has been found guilty of the manslaughter of Tom Hurndall.

Ex-sergeant Taysir Hayb was convicted at a military court in Ashkelon for the shooting of Mr Hurndall in April 2003. Hayb will be sentenced at a later date.

In addition to the manslaughter verdict, Hayb was found guilty of obstruction of justice, incitement to false testimony, false testimony and improper conduct.

[Hurndall’s father said] “We’re concerned that there is a policy which seems to be prevalent in Gaza, amongst the Israeli soldiers and army, that they feel able to shoot civilians really without any accountability whatsoever.”

Civil liberties group Human Rights Watch last week accused Israel of investigating less than 5% of hundreds of cases of Palestinians killed since 2000.

On 11 August 2005 the BBC reported that Hayb was convicted to 8 years in jail, 7 years for manslaughter and 1 year for the other charges. Amnesty International’s Kate Allen said that while the person responsible for Mr Hurndall’s death had been brought to justice, it was

“striking that this was almost entirely due to tireless campaigning by his family”.

“The strong suspicion is that if Mr Hurndall’s family had not shown utter determination to uncover the truth of their son’s death, then no-one would ever have faced justice for what happened to Tom,”