Let the cover up begin. Let the backtracking, excuses, and the eventual erasure from history commence. The Israeli Defense Force has once again tested its seemingly elastic boundaries, as it trampled over and killed an innocent civilian in Gaza. But this time, it won’t be as easy to sweep this tragedy underneath the rug as it has been with the innumerable victims of the irresponsible, cowardly actions of the military of the “only democracy in the Middle East.” This time, they killed a non-Arab. This time, they killed an American citizen.
The death of 23-year-old student Rachel Corrie, is also being labeled by the Israeli army as an “accident”. But from the accounts of eyewitnesses, and Corries’ coworkers, this was far from being accidental. Standing and waving in front of an advancing bulldozer–aimed at tearing down yet another set of Palestinian homes, Corrie pleaded with the driver to stop. Just as the case has been with many women, children, and elderly, the bulldozer heartlessly carried on with its mission, as though nothing stood in front of it. It wasn’t an accident, until the IDF looked around and realized that they were caught in the act. It wasn’t an accident—–until they looked at the identification of the victim, and realized she was an American. It wasn’t just another Palestinian, considered to be subhuman, who are now relegated to being statistics in the western media.
The question that is looming overhead is: How is the Israeli government going to cover this one up? In the previous few months, the IDF has been able to deflect the attention away from countless heinous crimes. The cold-blooded murder of individuals such as the 95-year old great-grandmother riding home in her minibus saddened the world for a day. Additionally, the world sat and read the story of the Palestinian woman who was crushed to death inside her family’s home-another victim of the Israeli bulldozer. The aforementioned examples in addition to the almost daily killings of young children in the streets of the West Bank and Gaza have all been prominently mentioned in the news at the time of their respective occurrences. Although the IDF claims that they conduct “internal investigations” on each matter, the world slowly forgets about the killings, and the investigations, and disciplinary action for the offending soldiers conveniently disappear into thin air.
In addition to the daily murder of Arab citizens, the shooting death of a United Nations aid worker has not caused the Israeli Defense Force to slow down this cycle of violence. When Iain Hook was shot and killed last November, the army corroborated a story, claiming that he was carrying a cell-phone, resembling a gun. They failed to mention that he was standing in a compound marked with the United Nations insignia in plain site. Once again, the world community failed to stand up for such a blatant violation of incontrovertible human rights, and the IDF literally gets away with murder. What will the US and its allies do, in response to this incident?
We are well aware of what happens when “enemy combatants” harm US citizens overseas. The situation is treated very seriously; something our President calls “vigilance.” The parents of the deceased appear on every major news outlet, calling for the heads of the evildoers. The Sean Hannity’s of the world will devote the entire broadcast of their show to this subject matter. But what happens when America’s greatest ally murders one of our own citizens in broad daylight? Does the government shed a few tears for its fallen civilian, and let its “partner in peace”, Israel, resume its reign of terror? Chances are, that is exactly what will happen. Judging by the rate of increase that the IDF is taking at wiping out civilians, journalists, and now aide workers, it is doubtful that they will let anyone, even America stand in its way. The right wing of American politics essentially has blinders on when it comes to the wrongdoings of this beacon of “democracy.” The Hannity-types are more likely to check and see whether or not the driver of the bulldozer is suffering from mental anguish, rather than mourning for an American trying to protect Palestinians.
The world is truly mourning for Rachel Corrie, and her family. It is yet another sad case of an individual going out in the world, trying to accomplish good; yet has to die an unsolved, unjust, and untimely death. It is our hope that the world will not allow this to be erased from its collective conscience , like the deaths of Iain Hook and the thousands of civilians who have died at the hands of the IDF within the past two and a half years. When it comes to vigilance, there must not be a double standard.