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Rafah, Occupied Palestine, March 18, 2003
disrupts memorial for ISM activist they killed
Israeli Occupation Forces
(IOF) sent the same bulldozer that killed Rachel Corrie to torment
her mourners, report ISM-Vancouver activists Gordon and Carel.
RAFAH, March 18 - The Israeli Occupation Forces
(IOF) today used tanks and heavy equipment to disrupt a memorial
being held for slain ISM activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed
by an IOF armoured bulldozer two days ago in the southern Gaza Strip
city of Rafah.
At 3pm this afternoon, Rachel's friends, fellow
activists and Dr. Samir Masri-- whose house she was protecting when
she was murdered -- gathered at the site in Rafah where the bulldozer
had buried and crushed her. "Dr. Samir created a small shrine
from palm fronds in front of his house," said ISM-Vancouver's
Carel. "Then other people began putting flowers
and pictures at the site."
Before the short memorial could be completed, an
IOF tank arrived and charged toward the mourners. The IOF command
had been told in advance that the memorial event would be taking
place in the IOF's unilaterally-declared, illegal "security
zone" where Rachel had been killed.
A group of international volunteers and media confronted
the tank and told the tank crew to leave so the memorial could be
completed. The tank withdrew a short distance then attempted to
drive around the internationals and charge at the Palestinians gathered
at the memorial site.
A large group of internationals, Palestinians and
media together forced the tank to retreat and began laying and planting
flowers next to the razor wire fence on the other side of the "security"
zone. "We could see that this wasteland created by the bulldozers
was very recently a vegetable field," reports Carel,
"because there were dug-up baby turnips strewn across the ground."
The bulldozer charged again, aiming to crush the
flowers that had just been laid near the fence. Two ISM activists
confronted the tank and it stopped just two metres from them. When
the tank stopped, several people began putting flowers and pictures
of Rachel onto the tank. The tank retreated to try and avoid being
covered in flowers.
The mourners again asked the tank to withdraw so
they could complete the memorial for their friend. The tank commander
demanded that everyone leave the area, and, when they refused, he
threw tear gas and sound bombs at the mourners.
The tank was joined by an Armoured Personnel Carrier
(APC), another tank, a military road grader and an armoured bulldozer.
The ISM activists who had been with Rachel when she was murdered
recognised the number on the bulldozer. The IOF had sent bulldozer
#949623 that killed Rachel Corrie to drive through and disrupt her
"The mourners were outraged by this desecration
of Rachel's memory and tried to block the advance of all five massive
military vehicles," said Gordon. Two vehicles managed to drive
around the protest but three were stopped by the protesters. A large
group of Palestinians and international volunteers sat down and
began planting flowers in front of them.
The first tank responded by gassing the seated
protesters with a massive stream of choking smoke that enveloped
them and forced them to move. When the tank fired several volleys
of warning shots from a machine gun, the mourners decided to leave
the security zone.
"All of us were all invited to Dr. Samir's
still-standing house for tea," said Carel.
tank was left churning through the desolate security zone, covered
in flowers and pictures of Rachel Corrie.
Gordon and Carel are available for interview by email.
Their email is email@example.com. Digital photos are available
more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Reem, Coordinator of ISM-Vancouver by email at