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How Was Rachel Corrie Murdered?

March 15, 2011

The through account of Joseph Smith, a peace activist from Kansas who accompanied Rachel to Rafah, was widely available on the Internet and could have easily been consulted by anyone interested in understanding the nature of her tragic death:

One bulldozer, serial number 949623, began to work near the house of a physician who is a friend of ours, and in whose house Rachel and other activists often stayed. While we occupied the other structures directly west (the closest was less than 5 meters away and the furthest was less than 25 meters away), Rachel sat down in the pathway of the bulldozer. I was elevated about 2 meters above the ground, and had a clear view of the action happening about 20 meters away. Still wearing her fluorescent jacket, she sat down at least 15 meters in front of the bulldozer, and began waving her arms and shouting just as activists had successfully done dozens of times that day.

The bulldozer continued driving forward headed straight for Rachel. When it got so close that it was moving the earth beneath her, she climbed onto the pile of rubble being pushed by the bulldozer. She got so high onto it that she was at eye-level with the cab of the bulldozer. Her head and upper torso were above the bulldozer’s blade, and the bulldozer driver and co-operator could clearly see her. Despite this, he continued forward, which pulled her legs into the pile of rubble, and pulled her down out of view of the driver. If he’d stopped at this point, he may have only broken her legs, but he continued forward, which pulled her underneath the bulldozer. We ran towards him, and waved our arms and shouted, one activist with a megaphone. But the bulldozer driver continued forward, until Rachel was underneath the cab of the bulldozer. At this point, it was more than clear that she was nowhere but underneath the bulldozer, there was simply nowhere else she could have been, as she had not appeared on either side of the bulldozer, and could not have stayed in front of it that long without being crushed.

Despite the obviousness of her position, the bulldozer began to reverse, without lifting its blade, and dragged the blade over her body again. He continued to reverse until he was on the border strip, about 100 meters away, and left her crushed body in the sand. Three activists ran to her and began administering first-response medical treatment. Her body was in a mangled position, her face was very bloody, and her skin was turning blue. She said, “My back is broken!” but nothing else. The three activists took care to keep her neck straight, and turned her to her side in case of vomit or blood from the mouth.

She was showing signs of brain hemorrhaging (I found out later from the British medical activist), so they elevated her head in order to allow it to drain blood, as this injury was more serious than simply a spinal injury. They continued to talk to her in attempts to keep her conscious. The other bulldozer, which had been working about 3o meters to the west, abandoned work and withdrew to the border strip, and parked about 10 meters to the west of the murderous bulldozer. The tank came over to see what had happened, and I shouted that they had run over our friend, and that she may die. The soldiers in the tank never spoke to us, nor did they ask us any questions or offer us any help.

Joseph Smith, ” Rachel Corrie: Detailed Eyewitness Account, Remembrance, and Thoughts about the Future, Electronic Intifada (March 21, 2003)



One Comment
  1. I am absolutely convinced she was murdered – no question in my mind! Nobody can convince me that this operator of the tractor didn’t see a tall woman wearing a screaming-red or orange vest while gesticulating wildly … not a chance! Besides – in Israel’s eyes she proteced “terrorists” while belonging to a group which was, in Israel’s eyes, outlawed and illegal… that alone says it all! I will NEVER forget Rachel – she will be forever in my heart!!

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