Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Remembering Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003 by a 60-ton caterpillar bulldozer as she tried to prevent a Palestinian home from being demolished. Today Rachel's parents are reopening the court case against the company which has been unwilling to end its sales to the Israeli government knowing full well what the vehicles are used for, the destruction of family homes all across Gaza and the West Bank. Last week six family homes were destroyed in Gaza's Maghazi refugee camp.

During the court case the Corrie's lawyer asked the judge to
consider the hypothetical case of a U.S. oven manufacturer during World War II: "If the company continued selling ovens to Germany, knowing they were being used to kill Jews, would there be legal grounds to go after the company?"

Such court cases are often too easily misunderstood. The company is not being boycotted merely because of the fact that their products are being used for purposes that are harming to or end human life and commit human rights abuses. Boycott has been threatened by well-organized campaigns after the case been made very clear to the executive decision makers at Caterpillar. Their decision in the end is whether to continue playing a role in such crimes or to take the financial loss. So far, Caterpillar has opted for the first option, thus perpetuating the existence of Rachel's blood on their hands.

Rachel stood up for the rights of a voiceless people. I am challenged by her life.

Here, the rest of the report.

Israeli Historian Ilan Pappe makes the case for boycotting his own country.

More background on boycott, divestment and sanctions.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Regarding the Caterpiller boycott:

1. Many Palestinian businesses use Caterpiller vehicles as they are the best of their type available in the region. I've been to quarries and discussed this issue with them.

2. It is claimed that the IDF no longer use Caterpiller vehicles in house demolitions in any case.

Targetting a single company in this way seem to me to be a strategy of desperation.

Second, regarding the borders, it appears that at least part of the problem causing the closures is that the Palestinian Presidential Guards were meant to be in attendance to keep the borders open. But these have been stood down, so the Palestinian side of the agreement is deemed to have been closed.

Rather than everyone accusing each other of causing the problem, it would be nice if someone just got the bloody gates open.