# 211 – Rachel Corrie Verdict by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 211 – Rachel Corrie Verdict

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409

August 29, 2012

I wanted to say ‘today’, but again we have a problem with the phone-line. I have no internet. So by the time I mail this, Tuesday will be ‘yesterday’.


Yesterday, an Israeli court finally gave its verdict on the death of Rachel Corrie. In 1993, as an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, young Rachel came to Israel and crossed into Gaza, joining her colleagues in protesting the destruction of a Palestinian home by the Israeli army. The ISM was warned that entering ‘that area’ was dangerous. In this case, it turned out to be tragically dangerous. Rachel was killed by an bulldozer, driven by an Israeli soldier.


The Corrie family finally brought a civil case against the Israeli army, and the verdict was ‘a tragic accident’. No fault found.

In the words of Rachel’s mother, this was a bad day for the law, and a bad day for Israel.

Could be. But I am not going to get caught in what already is the quagmire of the verdict’s post mortem.

But I DO want to illustrate again why I write this letter, and why I do NOT allow it to be either called ‘a blog’ or become one.


I write this because we all typically read only so much about what is going on ‘over there’. That’s normal.

What is frustrating is that, with this limited knowledge, we then start pontificating about Israel. We form biased opinions, based on ignorance, misguided advice, perhaps even anti-Semitism (even the unconscious version).

I would perhaps do/say the same. But I happen to live here, and I travel. I believe I see things a little more plainly and informed than ‘those outside’.


If I had a blog, written by ‘Stephen from Israel’, just like a letter written to a paper, or a message to a forum, many would think ‘Oh, he would say that, wouldn’t he?’

I want to give my words the best chance of being believable.

Many of you know me, or know someone who knows me. I think that works better, and that’s how I shall leave it.


I heard the news on BBC. I then listened to their ‘Have Your Say’ on the Corrie subject. Nearly every contributor was someone whose words were ‘predictable’. I was constantly thinking ‘Oh, the would say that, wouldn’t they?’

The mother of the victim: cannot be objective.

The Israeli army representative: ditto


The British Member of Parliament. When I heard his name, Richard Burton (easy name to remember), I knew what he’d say. He’s head of the British-Palestinian Society, a virulent anti-Israel voice. Always has been. Very popular with the Guardian newspaper. So, ditto.

Co-worker at the ISO: ditto.


And a few others: the Israeli specialist in security matters, the left-wing Israeli student, studying in UK, who, despite intending to return to Israel, is very against Israel’s policies.

The Jerusalem Post’s military expert was one of the only who appeared to stick to facts, and not let emotions sway the day.


Words to the effect that the army’s warning about danger were fair – this was a war zone – in the 9 years since, hindsight has shown that this was mild compared to the horrors of the Middle East and the Arab Spring.

Burton kept on trying to put the ‘boot’ on the other foot, imagining the Palestinians saying that a part of Israel was a war zone, and the…well, you get the picture. That part was BS.


My last letter emphasised Israel’s democracy and fairness. Rachel’s mother and her team now have the right to go to the Israeli Supreme Court (where one of the judges is an Arab – he who helped put Israel’s President in prison). Not sure that would have been the case if left in the hands of the Palestinian legal system – or Syria – or Libya – or Iran. Need I continue?


All’s NOT fair in love and war.

Rachel’s family have every right to be angry, sad and vengeful.

But may I also bring you back to Danny Hillman, whose son was killed on the Lebanese border, as a direct result of the kidnapping of Gilad Schalit.

Danny said that had he been Gilad’s father (Noam), he would have done exactly the same – and admired the man for finally gaining release of his son.


But Danny was not Noam. And Danny felt that the Israeli government were totally wrong in appeasing Noam’s demands, and ending up releasing over 1,000 Palestinians, many of them killers, determined to kill again, to gain Gilad’s release.

In love and war, passion has to to be excluded in the negotiations.


Yesterday evening, Aviva and I walked along the new promenade in Herzlia. What a beautifully landscaped area! Admittedly, it was mid-week, so not so busy. And no fresh air-spoiling barbecues as we often have in our local sea front area. We stopped for a snack, watching the usual gorgeous sunset. I had one of the best creme brulées you’ll even taste. (That’s one of the ‘negatives’ of having a gastric band. I am limited to ordering what goes down, which means soups and such desserts).










The mobile was kept close; Eliana (mother of our granddaughter) is due to deliver a son today. Knowing her, there’ll be a delay and I’ll be abroad when it actually happens. With Shira expecting her first (girl) in November, it’s all happening.

See…it’s happening in Israel. But it could be anywhere.


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