American college student Rachel Corrie was killed earlier today while participating in a protest intended to stop Israeli bulldozers from demolishing buildings on the Gaza-Egypt border. The demolition was intended to inhibit the smuggling of weapons. Ms. Corrie was a member of the International Solidarity Movement; she, along with several other ISM members, placed themselves in the way of the bulldozers as “human shields” in order to interfere with the demolition. As always seems to be the case, accounts of Ms. Corrie’s death differ, but it was an accident precipitated by the fact that she was “standing in the way of the front bulldozer.”
Ms. Corrie’s death is tragic, especially given her youth. But here is what I find interesting about the story: the ISM describes itself as an “international pacifist movement” that, for the last two and a half years, has “placed [its members] in Palestinian towns and villages, where they report on events at checkpoints, villages under curfew and house demolitions, help move humanitarian aid into besieged areas, and accompanying ailing Palestinians to hospitals.” In the instance in question, they were attempting to act as human shields. It is striking that this “pacifist” organization does not send its members to Israel. They do not ride Israeli buses, acting as human shields. They do not frequent Israeli shopping malls or pizza parlors. Why not? That would be dangerous, as they know the Palestinians are no respecters of civilians–Israeli, American or otherwise. So they play their foolish, self-righteous game, secure in the knowledge that no matter how obstructive or annoying they become, the Israelis will not kill them. Intentionally.
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