This week the verdict was announced for a lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the Israeli government. Rachel was a 23 year old volunteer peace activist in Gaza, Occupied Palestine, when she was killed in 2003. She was crushed to death by an Israeli Army bulldozer that ran over her two times while she was trying to stop it from destroying homes of Palestinian families in Gaza.

The bulldozer was a weaponized D9 Caterpillar bulldozer. After years of unsuccessfully seeking justice through diplomatic means, Rachel’s family filed a civil lawsuit in Israel charging the Israeli Ministries of Defense and State with violating Rachel’s constitutional rights to life and dignity as recognized in international law and in Israel’s Basic Law.

On the same day the verdict was announced, a group of supporters delivered a letter to TIAA-CREF’s financial services office in Honolulu asking them to honor the memory of Rachel Corrie and support the quest for justice by divesting from Caterpillar Inc., one of the companies that manufactures equipment used in the operation that killed Rachel Corrie and is used to support the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Groups of supporters were delivering similar letters to TIAA-CREF offices throughout the United States asking for justice for Rachel Corrie and for Palestinian families whose homes and land and water and olive orchards are being stolen, whose children are being tortured, and who are being imprisoned under administrative detention without charges, as part of a system of human rights violations that are recognized to constitute apartheid and genocide.

We supporters also asked that TIAA-CREF divest from all companies providing products and services that contribute to Israeli settlements and/or the separation wall, both of which are illegal under international law, and to divest from companies that provide products or services that contribute to or enable violent acts targeting civilians, including Veolia, Northrop Grumman, Elbit and Motorola. The letter being delivered to TIAA-CREF in Honolulu was signed by several individuals and two organizations, Friends of Sabeel – Hawai’i and World Can’t Wait – Hawai’i.

The verdict announced today was that the State of Israel was not guilty. At the US embassy in Tel Aviv last week, US ambassador, Dan Shapiro, told Corrie’s family that the US government did not believe the Israeli military investigation had been “thorough, credible and transparent”, as had been promised by Israel. Rachel’s family and supporters realized that a guilty verdict was unlikely to provide justice for Rachel – or for the Palestinian people. But, they know this won’t be the end and are planning their response. Rachel’s mother, Cindy, said that “All you ever do is take the next breath and the next step.” Those of us in Honolulu, too, plan to take that next breath and next step with the Corrie family to seek justice for the Palestinian people and for Rachel. Those who wish to join us in that next step, can contact us through the email address below.

About the author: Carol Murry lived and worked in rural Bangladesh, Thailand and Swaziland; started a community health worker program on Micronesian outer islands; did leprosy research in Bhutan; directed NGOs; was University of Hawai’i faculty; and researched HIV among Pacific Island youth for UNICEF. She can be reached at:

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