A letter from the Corrie family to those at Al Haq, a Palestine-based human rights organization:
Dear Friends at Al Haq,
It has been nearly two years since an Israeli district court ruled that Rachel, our daughter and sister, was killed in Gaza as an act of war, voiding the Israeli state and military of all responsibility under Israeli law. On Wednesday, May 21, 2014, a three judge panel will hear oral appeal arguments in the case, in a hearing scheduled at 11:30 a.m. at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. Please help to spread the word, and encourage your organization to have representation at court. We believe it important to demonstrate strong interest from the NGO community about the need to challenge the disturbing verdict in this case. See our lead attorney Hussein abu Hussein’s response to the verdict in Ha’aretz.
This hearing provides another opportunity to bring light, not only to Rachel’s case, but to the increasingly important need for universal human rights and protections to apply to all. We urge you to write and publish about the case and to bring attention to the issues that remain so central to it: the rights of civilians, human rights observers, and nonviolent protesters during occupation, limited conflict, and war; the nature of Israeli military police investigations and lack of military and state accountability; the impunity enjoyed by those up the military chain of command; the devastation and immorality of continuing home demolitions; and the isolation of Gaza. We encourage statements from your own research and expertise and refer you to trial-related information at the Rachel Corrie Foundation website and, also, to statements from human and legal rights organizations following the verdict.
A press release will follow with further hearing details. If representatives from Al Haq are able to join us at court, we would appreciate an email to that effect and to know of your presence that day. For those able to follow developments via the Rachel Corrie Foundation twitter account (@rcfoundation), we’d be delighted if you could re-tweet messages.
Our family’s efforts to obtain justice in Israel for Rachel’s killing in Gaza in 2003 have been prolonged and demanding. They began with the determination by the U.S. Government that the military police investigation in Rachel’s case was not “thorough, credible, and transparent.” That assessment, coupled with U.S. lack of will to take any serious action, led in March 2005 to our filing of a civil, wrongful death lawsuit against the State of Israel and Ministry of Defense. There were delays because of Knesset actions to forestall all lawsuits stemming from military actions in areas of conflict. It was March 10, 2010, when we heard the first court testimony and July 10, 2011, when we heard the last. Twenty-three witnesses testified in fifteen court hearings that produced more than two thousand pages of court transcripts. Another year passed before Judge Oded Gershon issued his egregious and widely condemned verdict.
Former President Jimmy Carter stated that the court’s decision confirmed “a climate of impunity, which facilitates Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territory.” In Israel, Uri Avnery wrote that the verdict “revealed, once again, that the Israeli judicial system is a partner to the foul deeds.”
We remain immensely grateful for the support we have had from you individually, from Al Haq, and from other legal and human rights organizations during this lengthy legal experience, and we look forward very much to reconnecting. Please feel free to contact us through email or by telephone for any further information.
Sincerely and with much appreciation,
Cindy and Craig Corrie and Sarah Corrie Simpson