It’s been nearly a decade since American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer as she tried to block its path in the Gaza Strip.
The bulldozer was about to demolish a home in Rafah, part of systematic house demolitions undertaken by Israeli forces as a response to mortar attacks by Palestinians.
On Tuesday, a court in Israel ruled that the death of the 23-year-old activist was an accident, a verdict in a civil suit brought by Corrie’s parents against the military. If Corrie’s mother, Cindy, had honestly expected any other verdict, she would have been sadly mistaken — there simply is no justice for Palestinians, and certainly not in the courts nor judicial system of a state which has illegally occupied their homes, demolished their houses, killed and repressed them, and ignored the most basic and fundamental of human rights for the past six decades.
While several foreign activists who rightly support the Palestinian cause have been killed or wounded in confrontations with the Israeli military during the last decade, Corrie’s case has taken on special meaning for Palestinian activists.
Her death became a symbol of the Jewish state’s harsh repression of nonviolent protest to occupation — a young middle class, idealistic American who died defending the homes of strangers from a oppressive and iron-fisted occupying force. She was also a passionate writer whose works showed how deeply moved she was by the suffering she saw around her.
As a member of the Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, she sought justice and freedom. For Palestinians, the work of such pressure groups and nonprofit organisations are vital in maintaining international pressure on Israel to end its occupation, remove its colonies, and cease the repression of Palestinians.
Tuesday's verdict shows that Israeli authorities and military have carte blanche to act above the law without fear of retribution or justice.
And sadly, that’s been the case for far too long.