by Bernice Lipkin

Rachel Corrie is back in the news. Rachel became famous in March, 2003, when she was killed in Gaza by a tractor, a tractor driven by an Israeli on duty in the IDF. Or so the eye witnesses, her friends and associates, claimed. The initial story was that the IDF tractor driver deliberately ran over her, backed up and then ran over her again. The media stopped repeating that account when they finally understood if that had happened, she would be flatter than a pancake and not three-dimensional, as she obviously was, even in death. The contention did give rise to nicknames. She was called St. Rachel of IHOP and Queen of the Pancakes, inter alia.

Almost none of the initial claims have withstood later examination. The claim that she was protecting homes from being destroyed was also wrong. She was killed during an operation where the IDF was cleaning out debris that might be holding explosives planted by the Palestinian Arabs. Playing chicken with the tractor wasn't just discharging youthful energy. Her actions weren't triggered by a particular happening. It wasn't righteous indignation. It wasn't a spontaneous act to prevent the IDF from demolishing the home of the family with whom she was living, the story later disseminated by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).[1] (The ISM report is also of interest for listing deaths attributable to IDF house demolition, but forgetting to mention that at the time the Israeli army routinely demolished the homes of Palestinian Arab terrorists, even after their deaths. It was hoped the suffering inflicted on their families would act as a deterrent.[2])

Chicken a la Tractor was a tactic devised by her handlers to distract and harass the IDF and possibly stop them from carrying out their counter-terrorism activities. Rachel had been thoroughly indoctrinated, given a couple of days of training, a Day-Glo orange jacket, a megaphone but no helmet, and was embedded into the village of Rafah in Gaza, an area controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization. Many of the houses masked entrances to tunnels dug through to Egypt for smuggling in weaponry. At the time she was fatally injured, she and the other seven foreign activists had been playing chicken against two tractors for some three hours. That was their assignment.

It was eventually determined that the tractor treads never touched her. She was sitting or kneeling, hidden behind a mound of earth and debris. When the tractor's shovel pushed the mound, she was struck by a heavy object, probably a piece of concrete, and the dirt poured down on her. Apparently she didn't realize that the driver didn't know her location. But that hasn't stopped the Peace and Humanitarian fibbers from continuing to present her death as intentional and her life as saintly.

Over the years, with the aid of sympathetic news media, the ISM has tried to instill the notion that an army unit in a de facto war zone must not harm unarmed foreign civilians. That has worked well enough so that few people wonder why these unarmed civilians just happen to be in the area in the first place. If they were there to hinder the Army deliberately, can they still claim to be civilians? Or are they better described as the tools of those fighting an irregular war with Israel?

In 2005, her parents sued the Israeli Government for damages for wrongful death in an Israel court. After an exhaustive examination extending over years, the court recently ruled against them. I was surprised at the verdict, because Israeli's judiciary is prone to favor the Arab against the Jew. The Israeli court declared her death an accident. I wonder. When you play Russian roulette with a tractor and get yourself killed, is it really an accident? Or is it suicide by tractor?


CORRIE WAS IN GAZA BECAUSE she had been recruited by the ISM to disrupt IDF activities and shield Hamas terrorists, Hamas being a creature of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Peaceniks of the ISM and the strategists of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) have the same objective -- the destruction of Israel -- but different strengths. The MB has the power and connections and lots of money to spend. It has many and varied projects around the globe and can pay for specialized skills as needed. The ISM focuses on freeing Palestine and is to be found on college campuses recruiting young people yearning for a cause and eager for adventure. It is able to rush in a squad of high-class white "activists" to protect the local darker-skinned (their term) Arabs and cow officials as needed. The two organizations have a loose but not entirely informal association.

On many occasions they have openly made common cause as in the famous flotilla stunt in the summer of 2010, where they ran the Israeli blockade in an attempt to bring out-of-date medication and unwanted supplies into Gaza.

In early 2012, the MB and the ISM joined with other groups to start preparing for a Global March to Jerusalem, another stunt and part of an international campaign to delegitimize Israel. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) notes[3] that

"[t]he Global March now has a twelve-member International Executive Committee (IEC), featuring [Dr. Rebhi] Halloum, [Mohammed] Sawalha, and others connected to Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood Middle Eastern, European, Asian, and South African circles, as well as leading far-left Western figures connected to the 'red-green alliance' like Sarah Colborne, director of the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Paul Larudee, a founder of the ISM."


"The European Preparatory Committee is comprised of members of UK Muslim Brotherhood circles and a member of the Free Gaza movement (founded by the International Solidarity Movement, ISM), this time joined by the anti-imperialist camp. The original idea is said to have come from participants in the December 2010 'Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan.'"

As another example, in a series of essays on anti-American terrorist supporters based in Chicago and Minneapolis,[4] Brenda J Elliot exposes some surprising linkages between American academics, politicians, members of socialist organizations and Middle-East organizations that support terrorism. As would be expected, the organizational names are innocuous, the actual goals much less so. The interlocking linkages and partitions would do a capitalistic megacorporation proud.

A single individual can bloat the rosters of multiple organizations. Linda Gawboy, editor of "Fight Back News" is active in Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout, a welfare rights group. She is active in Progressive Action Network (PAN), which is "the Minnesota affiliate of USAction which, in turn, is a member of Health Care for America Now, and connected to a cast of sordid characters, including Barack Obama dating from his days in Chicago as an Alinskyite community organizer."

A single organization such as The Gaza Freedom March (GFM) can shelter an impressive number of organizations, some with barely enough members to play a decent game of Monopoly, others very substantial. The GFM served as an umbrella group for the Gaza flotilla. Endorsers included a large number of groups whose names include subsets of Gaza Freedom Justice Peace Palestine in varying arrangements. On May 27, 2010, the Muslim Brotherhood posted a notice on its official website for a demonstration by Chicago's pro-Palestinian groups "to protest against Israeli intention to illegally block the Gaza Freedom Flotilla from their destination." Another set of groups identified their organizations by names that rearranged Chicago Palestine Justice Peace. The ISM Chicago chapter of course participated. As an aside, leaders of the ISM are a husband and wife team, the nominally Jewish Adam Shapiro of Breakfast with Arafat fame and Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian Arab. Elliot notes that "in 2004 Arraf led a workshop at the Palestine Solidarity Movement Conference, held at Duke University, entitled "Volunteering in Palestine[sic]: Role and Value of International Activists" during which she "urged students to join ISM, which engages in tactics such as obstructing the activities of the Israeli Army, spreading anti-Israel propaganda and voicing support for others who engage in armed resistance against Israel."

As a final example of the mesh of organizations that seem on the surface to have different missions but protect each other, consider this. In Norman, Oklahoma, where yet another Mega Mosque opened this past July (the number of Muslims in all of Oklahoma is around 30,000), its iman, Imad Enchassi, seems to fit right into an all-American community. He spoke of "how Muslims and Christians share many of the same religious traditions, such as prayer, fasting and pilgrimage." His guest list was ecumenical and broad. But when he is less cautious he makes it clear he himself is determined to reestablish the Caliphate.[5] He wouldn't threaten anyone of course, but he does feel that that the FBI cutting ties with CAIR, a front group of the MB, has "strained the Muslim community's relationship with the local FBI."[6] And he has sponsored Huwaida Arraf of ISM.[7]

In an article entitled "Rachel Corrie's Dreams," that appeared January 12, 2011 in Commentary[8], Roberta P. Seid wrote this about the ISM:

"This Palestinian-led organization callously recruited idealistic, naïve 'internationals' to break Israeli law, violate IDF security zones, indoctrinate them with its peculiar version of the conflict, and groom them as future speakers for its anti-Israel cause. While soothing volunteers by insisting that ISM engaged only in non-violent resistance, the organization nonetheless defended and abetted Palestinian violence (its website affirmed the 'right to armed resistance against occupation') and was committed to dismantling Israel's counter-terrorism measures which were intended to prevent the mass murder of Israelis."

"Paradoxically, the ISM described the Territories as a war zone where Israel wantonly killed Palestinians, but assured volunteers that they would not be harmed because of their 'international white-person privilege'; in the words of the diaries [kept by Corrie], and that the greatest risk they faced was 'arrest and deportation even though none of us have done anything illegal.' The ISM was offering tantalizing heroism: the chance to stand up against an unjust military power as a human shield with any personal danger neutralized by a 'white person privilege' as protective as a superhero's invisible shield."

In other words, the ISM preys upon easy-to-manipulate, credulous, idealistic, natural-born patsies, who want to feel noble at low cost and little risk.

It's always amazed me that the pro-Arab activists believe Israel to be irredeemably evil, yet they have perfect faith that Israelis, including the IDF, will not harm them. Their trust is justified -- if the IDF knows they are there. In a sense, the IDF were guarantors of the ISM's assurances to the peace activists that their presence was essential to protect the Palestinians but not very risky. These white knights could be heroes on the cheap not because they were white but because the IDF made sure these foreign human shields were unharmed even though the presence of these game-players made it more difficult for the IDF to put counter-terrorism measures in place. This pleased the ISM. What was even more rewarding was their anticipation that in the chaos, there was bound to be an incident the ISM could exploit. And there was.

Rachel's death apparently sobered up some of the young activists. As Eli Sanders wrote[[9]

"In Rafah, it seems that there was a "before Rachel's death," and now there is a strange and uncertain "after." Before Rachel died, the white foreigners were the magic bullet that could neutralize Israel's overwhelming military strength. To them, their civil disobedience, even if dangerous, was heroic. And the risk of death was worth the benefit to the downtrodden Palestinians. Now, after Rachel's death, with posters around town proclaiming her martyrdom, the white foreigners are reevaluating."

Incidently, she has had a street in Ramallah named after her. Ramallah? That's where a large mob ripped apart two Jews who lost their way and asked the Palestinian police for directions. The local Arabs gleefully hacked them up and paraded around holding high the bloody organs. Now that was no accident. It barely made the news.


RACHEL'S BIZARRE DEATH HAS BEEN THE GREATEST GIFT for Arab propaganda since the IDF was blamed for the death of Mohammad Al-Dura. It's even better, because now we know that Mohammad was not killed by the IDF. He was a participant in a street-theater hoax -- it's not even certain that he was actually killed. But in a story where the first outpouring of "facts" had a short shelf life, many details remain puzzling.

Rachel was lying on the ground, her face bloody, her clothes filthy at 4.47pm. She was taken by a Red Crescent ambulance to the Najjar hospital in Rafeh, arriving at the emergency room at 5.05 pm. According to Dr. Ali Mussa, director of Martyr Mohammed Yousef An Najar Hospital, she died at 5:20pm. These are pictures of the doctors working on her and taking X-rays. The photos are a part of a set available on They are captioned as in the original.

Drs at Hospital trying to save Rachel Corrie
"In this Sunday, March 16, 2003 photo, Palestinian doctors try to save the life of Rachel Corrie, 23, from Olympia, Wash., at the Najar hospital in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah."
Taking X-Rays. Rachel Corrie in hospital.
Doctors taking X-Rays. Rachel Corrie in hospital.


Other people tell a different story. Judy Lash Balint reports: [10]

"In his account posted on, ISMer Tom Dale has a slightly different story. On March 17 he writes: 'I ran for an ambulance, she was gasping and her face was covered in blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. She was showing signs of brain hemorrhaging. She died in the ambulance a few minutes later of massive internal injuries."

Dr. Mussa changes his story. A week after Rachel dies, he tells Balint that

"Rachel died at the scene, 'in the soil,' as he puts it. The main cause of death was suffocation, Mussa asserts. There were no signs of life, no heartbeat or pulse when she arrived at the hospital, he says. Mussa states that Rachel's ribs were fractured, a fact determined by X-rays."

Three other eyewitness state she died in the hospital.

That doesn't end it. Balint continues,

"A few days after the incident, ISM Media Coordinator Michael Shaik tells me by phone from Rafah that three ISMers, Tom, Alice and Greg were in the ambulance with Rachel. She died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, says Michael.

"But Greg Schnabel, 28, who is quoted in numerous wire service and newspaper stories, never says he witnessed the death of his comrade in the ambulance. In his account published a few days later on the ISM website, he carefully states that she died twenty minutes after arriving at the hospital.

There are also different version of what happened to the body. Again, as Balint informs us, the answer depends on who you ask.

"Dr. Mussa says it was kept for 24 hours at the hospital before a Red Crescent ambulance transported it to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, via the border where an Israeli ambulance took over. Shaik says 'we lost track of it (her body) after she died.' Three ISMers tried to escort the body, but only one was permitted on the ambulance on the Israeli side. According to his account, the ambulance drove straight to the Israeli Forensic Institute at Abu Kabir, where an autopsy was performed. The Israelis are trying to say she died from a blow to the head by a rock, Shaik recounts.

"Speaking about the autopsy, one of Rachel's ISM trainers, Iowa native LeAnne Clausen, a fieldworker for the Christian Peacemaker Team based in Beit Sahour, tells me: 'The general sentiment within ISM is that the Israelis are trying to suggest perhaps Rachel was on drugs.'

"In reality, IDF spokesperson Dellal says that initial Israeli investigation results indicate that the cause of death was most likely a blow to the head and chest by a blunt object, possibly a chunk of cement dug up by the bulldozer.

"In keeping with ISM sympathies, Rachel received a shaheed (martyr) procession in Rafah, the day after her death. But here again, there's confusion between reality and photo op. Some accounts noted that her coffin draped in an American flag was paraded through the streets. Yet a picture on the site of her college town's peace movement, the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, shows Arab women holding a coffin covered by a Palestinian flag with the caption: Palestinian funeral for Rachel."

So there you have it.

Did Rachel Corrie die in the ambulance or in the hospital? If she died at the hospital, it likely happened before this picture was taken. The sutures are coarse and the thread better suited for sewing up horses. The suturing does not suggest the staff possessed much surgical competence.

Rachel Corey. Stitches on her face.
Rachel Corey. Stitches on her face.

It is also surprising how clean the doctors' gloves are, given the amount of blood said to be pouring out from Rachel's nose and face. There is no life-support tubing attached to her during the surgery or while taking X-rays. The doctors are dressed casually. That may simply be the practice at that facility. Or it might mean that when the pictures were taken, they were working on a dead girl.

She was definitely alive after being hit in the face with the piece of debris thrown by the tractor shovel. She bled profusely from her nose and face, but people do bleed copiously from such injuries. I don't know how Tom Dale knew she showed signs of brain hemorrhage.

Her companions lift her after the accident.

After the accident, her companions lifted her to a sitting position. They probably shouldn't have but they were able to. In the uncropped version of this picture, her cell phone lies next to her uncrushed.

She died in the bus or the hospital. Given the ruthlessness of her handlers and the creative ability of the Palestinian Arabs to set up hoaxes which are not exposed by the media who witness them, another scenario is possible. They are so good at sniffing out propaganda opportunities, I wonder whether Rachel became the involuntary star of a snuff film, one that gave her everlasting fame as a martyr to the cause.

The end of the incident happened a week later. Balint writes,

"ISM activity in Rafah has more to do with being used to defend terrorists than preventing suffering of the masses. IDF efforts in Rafah were concentrated on preventing the flow of arms and explosives over the border from Egypt into the terrorist's dens that riddled the area. Less than a week after Rachel died defending terrorists, Israeli tanks moved into Rafah, surrounded several houses, and arrested two Hamas members. IDF spokesperson, Dellal calls Rafah, 'the most dangerous area in the West Bank and Gaza,' and decries the provocative protests of ISM. 'There's nothing wrong with civil disobedience, but these people crossed the line of what was safe for everyone,' Dellal says.

"So, while the memorial services laud and remember Rachel Corrie as a peace activist murdered by Israeli occupation forces, the truth lies elsewhere.

"And all the while, the ISM continues to encourage misguided young people from around the world,like Rachel Corrie, to spend time in the Middle East providing cover for terrorists."




[3] (

[4], june 3, 2010, and, September 26, 2010.





[9] Aug 9, 2003.

[10]  "The Myth of Rachel Corrie", March 20, 2008, Front Page Magazine,

Bernice Lipkin is managing editor of Think-Israel.

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