Corrie Press Statement & Itinerary in Palestine/Israel
Monday, September 29, 2003
Today, Cindy and Craig Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie, wrapped up their first visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, and met with members of the press in Jerusalem. Attached you will find:
1) Cindy and Craig Corrie's statement to the press
2) An itinerary of the 2 ½ weeks spent in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel
We hope to make available within the next 12 hours the video footage from the press conference along with a full transcript. You will be able to access these at www.palsolidarity.org
Monday, September 29, 2003
Ambassador Hotel, Jerusalem
Parents of Rachel Corrie in Palestine / Israel
PRESS STATEMENT Given by Craig & Cindy Corrie in Jerusalem
Our daughter Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003, while she was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. Since that time, as we have grieved for our daughter, we have also worked to learn more about this conflict about which she cared so deeply and in which she lost her life. To find peace for ourselves in the aftermath of Rachel's death and for our own understanding, it was necessary for us to come to this land and walk where Rachel walked, and see what she saw.
We arrived in Tel Aviv on September 12 and have spent the past weeks in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. September 15-20, we were in the Gaza Strip, primarily in Rafah. There we were able to meet with many of Rachel's friends: with those she had worked with in ISM, with the families in whose homes she had stayed to try to offer some international protection, with the children she had worked with in the youth parliament, and with the community members she had met as she tried to build connections between Rafah and her hometown of Olympia in the U.S. In Rafah, we were able to briefly witness some of the violence of the occupation-the nightly machine gunfire from tanks, the fear walking to a home in Rafah after dark, because the family we were to eat dinner with lived on a street exposed to gunfire from Israeli watchtowers, but also the simple and profound dignity
We were able to visit with groups that are continuing projects in Rachel's name: a kindergarten with its smiling children chanting a song of welcome at the top of their lungs, and a youth cultural center with its plans for a library and computer center still in search of funding. We planted olive trees and drank sweet tea with friends. And we learned that in her adopted city of Rafah, as in her home town of Olympia, Rachel was always expected just around the corner, with her bright smile, her friendly concern, and usually a small band of children.
Then we experienced the lonely walk through Erez checkpoint where we were nearly the only people passing through and our new friends (Rachel's friends) were left trapped in Gaza waving goodbye to us.
We spent time in Jerusalem and the West Bank as well. In Jerusalem we went to a memorial at the site of a bus bombing and learned of Shiri, Rachel's age, killed just last year. We listened to her uncle describe Shiri with the same love and pride that our family uses when speaking of Rachel. We learned that the pain does not stop at the green line.
In the West Bank we witnessed the strategy of separation taking physical form in the web of fences, walls, identification cards, and checkpoints that separate not only Palestinians from Israelis, but Palestinians from Palestinians, farmers from their fields, children from their classrooms, workers from their jobs, the sick from their healthcare, the elderly from the grandchildren, municipalities from their water supplies, and ultimately, a people from their land. We saw dunams of crumpled aluminum, the jagged and torn remains of the once thriving marketplace of Nazlat Isa, a stark reminder of the occupation's devastating effect on the economy of both peoples. We also witnessed the horror on a woman's face as she watched her relative's home demolished in East Jerusalem.
And on the eve of this Jewish new year we celebrated Rosh Hashanah with Israeli friends in their Synagogue and home. We shared their bread, beets, and pomegranates, their stories of the last year and their hopes for the new one. And we shared their music: the songs of so many centuries of suffering and courage, but also, through it all, joy.
As our trip nears its end, we are struck by the terrible tragedy of the occupation: the irony of a people who have suffered so much, now causing suffering in so many others, the massive effort in manpower and expense demanded in maintaining the occupation, the desperate and horrifying strategy of suicide bombings used to violently oppose the occupation, the fear both of Palestinians sleeping in their homes in Rafah and Israelis riding on their buses in Jerusalem. And always the pain that we all share so deeply.
And so, as we depart, we can only echo our daughter when she wrote to her mother "This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benetar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop."
CORRIE ITINERARY PALESTINE / ISRAEL
September 12 - September 30, 2003
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
- Arrive at 5:00pm - Meeting with US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer
- Dinner with Adam Keller, Gush Shalom - Overnight in Tel Aviv Hotel
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
(Tel Aviv to Jerusalem)
- Interview / meeting with Palestinian filmmaker
- Meet with members of the Families Forum: Mr. Rami Elhanan, Mrs. Tamara Rabinowitz and Mr. Jona Bargur
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
- Visit Beit Sahour - where Rachel first went for ISM training.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
(Travel to Erez - Gaza) - Met by ISM volunteers and accompanied to Rafah
- Quick tour of area right around the office that Rachel saw everyday. Visit the restaurant where she ate, the cigarette shop she went to, and the internet cafe she used.
- Travel down to Al-Barazel refugee camp to see the border line that separates Rafah or Palestine from Egypt and and the separation wall along the border where Rachel stayed in houses.
- Visit Dr. Samir's house in Hay Elsalam area 30 meters from the border, which Rachel was protecting when she was killed; visit and have lunch with the family; go around the house from the border side to see the site with doctor Samir who was one of the two Palestinian eyewitnesses. Meet with the other eyewitness who is a woman living next to doctor Samir's house. - Visit Al-Najar hospital where Rachel was taken. Meet with the doctors and nurses who took care of Rachel and with Dr.Ali Musa, director of the hospital, who will read out and explain the official report describing the causes of Rachel's death. - Meet more of Rachel's friends at the ISM office - Dinner with ISM Rafah people and friends. - Overnight in Rafah
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 NOTE: 6-month anniversary of Rachel's killing
- Breakfast with ISM Rafah - Visit with Mansour family, who Rachel stayed with in Al-Barazeel area along the border - Visit with Abu Hisham family, who Rachel stayed with in Salaheldeen area along the border, the night before she was killed. Have lunch with the family in their house. - Visit with Abu Ahmed family, who Rachel stayed with in El-Salam area along the border - Visit with Abu Jameel family, who Rachel stayed with in Salaheldeen area along the border and have dinner with the family in their home - Overnight in Rafah
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
- Breakfast with ISM Rafah - Visit Children's Parliament with whom Rachel was very active. - Visit the Rachel Corrie Nursery School in Al-barazeel Refugee Camp and have lunch with them. - Meet with Eng. Ashraf Ghneem from the water municipality and Fatimah Elkhateeb, the representative of the General Union of Palestinian Women in Rafah. - Go to the ambulance base and meet with the nursing staff who first tended to Rachel on the site. - Visit Rachel Corrie Health and Cultural Center in Rafah - Overnight in Rafah
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
(Rafah to Gaza City)
- Meet with the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP)
Meeting with Dr. Eyad El Sarraj, Board of Directors
Visit Women Empowerment Center
Meet with civil leaders
- Meet with representatives from the Palestinian Non-governmental Organizations Network (PNGO)
- Meet with Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
- Press conference
(Return to Rafah)
- Dinner with Fatima Khateeb (GUPW)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
- Breakfast with ISM Rafah - Plant olive trees in Rafah with the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund. One tree was planted in the centre of Rafah, in Al Awda Square; one was planted in Al Jawzat Square, in the east of Rafah; and the third was planted across from the ISM office
- Visit water wells near Tel-elSultan area and the family who Rachel stayed with
- Visit Palestinian Youth Parliament
- Return to Abu Hisham home, where had lunch on second day in Rafah. Home was raided the night before.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
(Rafah to Erez to Jerusalem)
- Meet with Gila Svirsky of the Israeli Coalition of Women for a Just Peace
- Overnight in Jerusalem
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
- Visit Beit Arabia in Jerusalem with the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions. Beit Arabia (Arabia's Home) is the home of Salim and Arabia Shawamreh, demolished four times already by the Israeli occupation forces. Beit Arabia is being built as a peace center and was dedicated to the memory of Rachel and Nuha Makadma Sweidan, a pregnant Palestinian woman killed in Gaza in March 2003 when an Israeli bulldozer demolished her home on top of her.
- Overnight in Jerusalem
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
- Go with Rabbis for Human Rights and the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions to Israeli military court for the sentencing of Abu-Faiz Shamasne for daring to rebuild his home "illegally."
- Afternoon with Rabbi Arik Ascherman visiting Bedouin cave dwellers in Hebron region and meeting with Israeli families who have been victims of terror
- Overnight in Jerusalem
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
- Unplanned witnessing of home demolition in Jerusalem - Ras Al Amoud
- Visit construction of Wall & visit with Palestinian olive farmers in Jayyous - Qalqilya region
- Visit village of Nazlit Isa in Tulkarem region.
- Stay overnight in Nazlit Isa.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
- Visit Akabe kindergarten (near Tubas) in the West Bank - with the Rebuilding Homes Campaign This village has been used as military training ground since 1967. For over 34 years villagers have been subjected to serving as live targets for Israeli Army. In June 2003 Israeli Supreme Court ruled to remove largest military camp from the village. Two military camps remain.
- Overnight in Jerusalem
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
(Jerusalem to Ramallah) - Breakfast with ISM in Ramallah - Meeting with President Arafat to receive condolences
- Reception at MIFTAH with NGO representatives - Meet with Palestinian artist who painted picture of Rachel (Return to Jerusalem) - Meet with Palestinian (refugee inside Israel) who wrote a song for Rachel
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
- Tour of Jerusalem with Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions
- Evening: Rosh HaShana services and dinner
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
Tour the Old City of Jerusalem
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
- Wadi Humous: Home-rebuilding Camp with Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights and Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions. Joining Israeli, Palestinian, and international activists, homeowners, and the Compassionate Listening Group from the US
- Meet with Yitzhak Frankenthal of the Bereaved Parents Forum
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
- Morning Press conference at a Jerusalem Hotel
- Meeting with Israeli officials
(Travel to Tel Aviv)
- Debriefing with Consulate
- Evening meeting with Israeli peace activists
- Overnight in home of Israeli peace activist on kibbutz
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
Depart Tel Aviv to London
Meet with family of Tom Hurndall, shot in the head by Israeli sniper on April 11, 2003