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Attacks on International Peace Workers

Corries Send Plea for Investigation to Israeli Chief Sharon

Rep. Smith delivers letter on Mideast trip

By Ellyn Ferguson
The Olympian
March 19, 2005

Rep. Adam Smith
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Takoma)

WASHINGTON – During his trip to the Middle East, a congressman made a special delivery to Israeli’s top leader: a plea from the family of an Evergreen State College student and Olympia resident who died in the path of an Israeli bulldozer for an independent investigation into her death.

Neither Rep. Adam Smith nor Rachel Corrie’s family knows what to expect, but they will wait to see if they get a response to the family’s letter from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or his government.

Rachel Corrie
Rachel Corrie

“I decided to do it because they asked me to deliver it. They need a decent investigation,” said Smith, who returned Tuesday from a congressional trip to the Middle East.

Smith, D-Tacoma, said he talked with a Sharon staffer about the letter but did not speak with Sharon.

Rachel’s sister, Sarah Corrie Simpson, and her father, Craig, are hoping Smith’s involvement prompts some response. The family decided to contact Smith about their letter after reading that he would be going to Israel.

Cindy Corrie
Rachel’s mom: Cindy Corrie

“I think it gives us reassurance that he (Sharon) received the letter,” Sarah Corrie Simpson said.

Craig Corrie said the letter repeats the family’s request that Sharon allow a U.S.-led investigation into the March 16, 2003, death of his 23-year-old daughter in the town of Rafah in Gaza. She was crushed trying to stop an Israeli army bulldozer from demolishing a Palestinian home.

An Israeli army prosecutor’s investigation ruled out charging soldiers in Corrie’s death. He said there was no criminal negligence.

Craig Corrie
Rachel’s dad: Craig Corrie

A second investigation by the Israeli military attorney general’s office also did not find negligence but recommended steps to guard against similar deaths in the future.

The Corrie family has tried through U.S. lawmakers and the State Department to have a U.S.-led investigation done. In their letter to Sharon, the family included a copy of a June 11, 2004, letter to the family from Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson said the U.S. government had considered the results of the first investigation “clearly unsatisfactory” and said the second investigation was better “but not thorough to the extent we would want in such a case.”

Wilkerson noted that the Israeli military attorney general is under no obligation to release the full investigative report to the public.

The family, however, remains optimistic that they will eventually succeed. Sarah Corrie Simpson and her parents as well as relatives from the Midwest have made several trips to Washington, D.C., to talk to various House and Senate members or their staffs.

“It’s absolutely exhausting,” Sarah said.

But the family is willing to keep pushing.

“You have to understand the love we had for my sister,” she said.

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Rachel Corrie
Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli soldier driving a bulldozer.

1979 - 2003
On the 16 March, 2003, 23-year-old Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer. more

Thomas Hurndall
Tom Hurndall was killed by an Israeli sniper.

1981 - 2004
21-year-old Tom Hurndall was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper on April 11, 2003. He died nine months later. more

Videos & Multimedia

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Additional Resources

Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance

Charter of the United Nations

Amnesty Report – Fear for Safety

Play – My Name is Rachel Corrie

Flyer – Rachel Corrie Cards

Poster – Rachel Corrie, 1979-2003

Poster – Tom Hurndall, 21-year-old killed

Booklet – Rachel’s Letters | en español

Congressional Resolution Expressing sympathy for the loss of Rachel Corrie – Not Yet Passed

Merchandise Commemorating Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall


Americans for Middle East Understanding

End the Occupation Coalition

Al Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition

International Solidarity Movement

Secular Peace Groups

American Muslims for Palestine

A Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)

Sabeel – Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center

Friends of Sabeel, North America

More Religious Peace Groups

International Solidarity Movement

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