Release: Rachel Corrie Verdict Highlights Impunity for Israeli Military

Amnesty International Calls Verdict ‘Denial of Justice’

Contact: Carolyn Lang, clang@aiusa.org, 202-675-8759

(Washington, D.C.) — Amnesty International condemns an Israeli court’s verdict that the government of Israel bears no responsibility in the death of Rachel Corrie, saying the verdict continues the pattern of impunity for Israeli military violations against civilians and human rights defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The verdict shields Israeli military personnel from accountability and ignores deep flaws in the Israeli military’s internal investigation of Corrie’s death.

“Rachel Corrie was a peaceful American protestor who was killed while attempting to protect a Palestinian home from the crushing force of an Israeli military bulldozer,” said Sanjeev Bery, Middle East and North Africa advocacy director for Amnesty International USA.

“More than nine years after Corrie’s death, the Israeli authorities still have not delivered on promises to conduct a ‘thorough, credible and transparent’ investigation. Instead, an Israeli court has upheld the flawed military investigation and issued a verdict that once again shields the Israeli military from any accountability,” Bery said.
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CNN: “Israeli court: American protester Rachel Corrie’s death an accident”

By Frederik Pleitgen
CNN
August 28, 2012

Excerpt:

Amnesty International said that the court upheld a “flawed Israeli military investigation, completed within one month” of Corrie’s death and that the “verdict seems to have ignored substantial evidence presented to the court, including by eyewitnesses.”

“Rachel Corrie was clearly identifiable as a civilian, as she was wearing a fluorescent orange vest when she was killed,” said Sanjeev Bery, Middle East and North Africa advocacy director for Amnesty International USA.

Full article linked and pasted below.

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Hamas Must End the Death Penalty

Originally posted at Human Rights Now (Amnesty International USA blog)

By Sanjeev Bery

June 15, 2012

Trapped between a crushing Israeli blockade and human rights violations at home, the 1.6 million Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip face many challenges in their daily lives.  In our 2012 Annual Report, Amnesty International catalogues the list, from a humanitarian crisis created by the Israeli blockade to detention and torture by Hamas security forces.

Meanwhile, Palestinian armed groups have used the Gaza Strip to fire indiscriminate rockets and mortars into southern Israel.  Daniel Viflic, aged 16, died in 2011 after a school bus in which he was travelling was struck by a missile fired from Gaza.

The latest news is that four Gaza Palestinians are facing execution after being given the death penalty by Hamas military and criminal courts.  There are reports that at least one of the four “confessed” to the crime of murder after being tortured.  The family of Na’el Jamal Qandil Doghmosh has stated that when they saw him after two months in prison, his nails had been torn out and there were burns and bruises on his body.

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Arab Freedom Is Good for Israel

The Huffington Post
Posted: February 14, 2011
By Sanjeev Bery

Whatever their rivalries, the authoritarian leaders of the Middle East did not want to see Hosni Mubarak removed from power. When you are a dictator – even with the title “King” – the forced departure of another dictator is not the kind of precedent you want set.

Worth noting is that this group of Mubarak loyalists was joined by Israeli leaders as well. Though frequent in their exhortation of democratic values, Israeli officials offered a degree of praise for Mubarak at a time when hundreds of his own people were dying in protests against his regime.

The challenge for Israel is that much of its foreign policy has depended on the continuation of other dictatorships. Whether it is Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Jordan, Israel has come to depend on having nondemocratic neighbors who rely on US patronage. Israeli policymakers fear that if these autocratic rulers are removed from power, Arab majorities will select leaders who are hostile to Israel. Continue reading

Israeli Policies Face Jewish Critics

The HKS Citizen (Harvard Kennedy School)
October 13, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

Acre by acre, successive Israeli governments have used settlement construction to colonize what is left of Palestinian land.  Meanwhile, a growing chorus of Jewish critics is forcing Israel to choose between its aggressive policies and the path of peace.

After a moratorium of ten months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently resumed settlement construction in the Palestinian West Bank.  On October 6th, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israeli bulldozers had been working “furiously” on the construction of 350 new Jewish-only housing units in the Palestinian region.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Slams Israeli Settlements in Harvard Speech

The Huffington Post
Posted: October 4, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

Speaking at Harvard last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu criticized Israel’s decision to continue building settlements on Palestinian land:

Jewish settlements [themselves] are illegal. How can we talk on the extension of [the] moratorium or extension of Jewish settlements?

With peace negotiations on the verge of falling apart, the comments demonstrate increasing anger at Israel from a former ally. The Turkish Foreign Minister also declared Gaza an “open prison” and stated that Palestinians have “the full right to live in their own country with full sovereignty based on 1967 territory, including Eastern Jerusalem.”

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Washington Post Journalists Repeat Israeli Claims as Fact

The Huffington Post
Posted: June 1, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

In the June 1st edition of the Washington Post, journalists Scott Wilson and Laura Blumenfeld uncritically repeat Israeli claims regarding the Gaza aid flotilla as fact. Wilson and Blumenfeld should recognize that Israeli officials have a vested interest in discrediting the activists who challenged Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Instead, the reporters wrote a piece in which they presumed to know what Israeli officials were thinking — not just what they were doing.

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Boxer vs. Feinstein: The Path to Middle East Peace

The Huffington Post
Posted: May 17, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

In the growing national debate on US-Israel relations, California’s two US senators have very different things to say. On one side, Senator Barbara Boxer has firmly aligned herself with the pro-Israel lobby. On the other side, Senator Dianne Feinstein has adopted a more independent position in support of Middle East peace.

2010-05-12-FeinsteinBoxer-Photo_Feinstein_Boxer.jpg

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An email from Senator Dianne Feinstein

The following email was sent by US Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office to constituents who emailed her on the topic of Israel and Palestine.  Her comments reflect a clear break from the positions of AIPAC and the pro-Israel lobby.

Key excerpt:

However, like you, I have grave concerns about the expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and I believe that this issue is a major stumbling block to a peace agreement.  In my view, settlement activity should be halted until an agreement is reached.  Neither side should take any actions which would prejudice the outcome of negotiations on the final status issues.

Full email:

From:    senator@feinstein.senate.gov
To:  Sanjeev Bery
Date:  Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 4:16 PM
Subject:  U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein responding to your message
Mailed-by:  feinstein.senate.gov

Dear Mr. Bery:

Thank you for writing to express your support for the Obama Administration’s position on the expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  I appreciate hearing from you on this topic, and welcome the opportunity to respond.

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