Twenty years ago today, on March 16, 2003, word came to us that our daughter Rachel had been killed in Gaza. She had been run over by an Israeli military-operated and U.S. made and funded Caterpillar D9R bulldozer, as she stood to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home in Rafah. Members of the family watched the bulldozer approach through a hole in their garden wall.
Our family’s journey without Rachel, but with her spirit large in our lives, began on that day.
—excerpt from a letter from Rachel Corrie’s parents
Cindy and Craig Corrie join us on A Public Affair to share their daughters story and tell us how they continue to fight for justice and peace in Palestine and the middle east. More information about Rachel and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Justice and Peace can be found here: rachelcorriefoundation.org
Sunday, March 12: WORT interview with Masafer Yatta Activist Thursday, March 16: Cindy and Craig Corrie on WORT Thursday, March 16: Tantura Film and Discussion
On Sunday March 12 at 5 pm, tune into WORT’s World View program for a taped interview with Masafer Yatta activist Ali, who will discuss the current situation of Israeli army and settler attacks and Palestinian resistance there. (The interview will be aired after the news.)
Thursday March 16, 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie in Rafah. We continue to mourn her loss and celebrate her life. We will never forget her.
Locally, we invite you to tune in to WORT Radio’sA Public Affair with host Allen Ruff at 12 noon on Thursday March 16, 89.9 FM or listen on line for a live conversation with Rachel’s parents Cindy and Craig.
A Public Affair with host Allen Ruff
WORT 89.9 FM Madison
Live Interview with Cindy & Craig Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie
Thursday, March 16, 2023 10-11 am PDT; Noon-1pm CDT; 1-2 pm EDT
The Corries will talk with host Allen Ruff about their daughter, 20 years of the Rachel Corrie Foundation, RCF’s kinship with the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, and the foundation’s commitment to Gaza and to Palestinian rights today, as startling events continue to unfold in the region.
At 9 pm CT on March 16, we also invite you to join a zoom showing and discussion of the new film Tantura, about the 1948 massacre in that village, co-sponsored by the Rachel Corrie Foundation as part of a year-long commemoration.
Mideast Focus Ministry 10th Annual Film Series
Break the Silence – Stories of Occupation Tantura: Film & Discussion
Our colleagues at the Mideast Focus Film Series at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle will commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Rachel’s death with a film screening and discussion of the film Tantura:“When Israeli graduate student Teddy Katz meticulously documented a massacre of Palestinian civilians surrounding Israel’s independence, he was initially celebrated for his groundbreaking work. But soon, he was stripped of his degrees and was publicly shamed as a fraudulent traitor. Decades later, incendiary new evidence emerges to corroborate Teddy’s initial findings, not just vindicating him, but raising profound questions about how Israelis—and we all—deal with the darker chapters of history.”
The discussion will feature a pre-recorded interview with director Alon Schwarz.Continue reading →
A fundraiser by the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
Our goal is to raise $10,064 to renovate a family apartment in the Tal al Sultan neighborhood of Rafah, where in 2005 we funded a playground for local children.
This family consists of a father, mother and three children. The father has become disabled and the mother works to try to keep the family afloat. Their small apartment is desperately in need of roof repairs, interior renovations to the main living area and bath, and the addition of another room — especially now that the cold and rains of winter have arrived.
The building condition directly affects the family’s health and well being. The family covers the roof panels with cloths to try to keep out the rain, but that’s not enough to keep the rooms dry. They cannot afford to repair the concrete ceiling.
The family was nominated by the Al Amal Society for Rehabilitation, a Palestinian Non-Government Organization in Gaza that has partnered with Rebuilding Alliance since 2017. Our grant will be transferred to and administered by this partner organization. Rebuilding Alliance’s Site Engineer, Heba El Khozondar, will supervise the project to sign-off for each phase.
The project will have three construction phases, each commencing as soon as enough funds have been donated:
▪ Phase 1: $3,080 Poured concrete roof repair
▪ Phase 2: $3,555 Main Living Space
▪ Phase 3: $3,429 Adjacent new room $10,064 Total
The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is partnering with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to provide back-to-school backpacks to 2000 poor children in Gaza, including Rafah and Rafah camp which suffered significant damage and casualties in the latest Israeli assault.
Our goal is to provide at least 100 Gaza-produced backpacks that MECA will distribute at schools and kindergartens in Rafah. The backpacks cost $17.50 each for a total of $1,750. MRSCP will match half the cost of the first 100 backpacks before the end of August, when school resumes in Gaza. 100 percent of your donation will go to this project.
The people of Gaza suffered terribly from the recent Israeli bombardment, which was just the latest in a series of what Israeli officials callously refer to as “mowing the grass” — periodic military assaults on the two million people (one million of them children) with no safe place to hide in what has been called the world’s largest open-air prison.
But even when bombs are not falling, Gazans struggle to survive under the Israeli land, air and sea blockade that deprives them of safe drinking water, medical care, employment, and fuel, and which kills and traumatizes them day in and day out through this cruel policy of deliberate deprivation.
Your tax dollars are paying for this outrage. Please consider partially offsetting them by contributing to the backpack campaign.
School Backpacks for Gaza!
Send a check payable to “MRSCP”
and marked “Backpacks” to:
Urban Triage will be distributing shoes and coats to families on Saturday, September 24th, for their Back to School Give Back event!
“Help us in keeping kids warm during this upcoming Wisconsin winter season, where weather conditions can change rapidly and temperatures can reach to -20, with wind chills down to -40! Adequate shoes and coats can prevent hypothermia and frostbite. With your donations, Urban Triage will distribute shoes and coats to up to 75 families at Penn Park on Saturday, September 24th, from 2:30 to 4:30 PM.
Israeli Forces Keep Killing Americans While U.S. Officials Give Them a Pass
Rachel Corrie stands in front of an Israeli bulldozer to protest the destruction of Palestinian homes along the Rafah-Egypt border on March 16, 2003. Corrie was killed later the same day.
Photo: Courtesy of the Corrie family
Nearly two decades before Israeli forces killed Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, shooting a single bullet into her head while she was reporting from the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, an Israeli soldier drove a bulldozer over American peace activist Rachel Corrie, crushing her to death.
Both killings left little real doubt about the dynamics at play. Abu Akleh was standing with a group of colleagues, wearing a vest clearly marked “PRESS,” nowhere near the fighting that had taken place earlier that morning. Corrie was nonviolently protesting the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home in Gaza. She was wearing a fluorescent orange jacket with reflective stripes and had been on the scene for several hours, at times speaking into a megaphone.
In the moments before her death, Corrie was standing in the path of the bulldozer as other activists had been doing throughout the day. As the driver pushed the machine forward, she climbed onto a mound of dirt so she would be clearly visible, according to witness testimony reviewed by The Intercept. The driver kept advancing. When she fell to the ground, the dirt engulfed her, but the driver moved several feet forward before backing off, effectively crushing her twice. The possibility that he did not see her, as he later claimed, defies all credibility. Still, the Israeli government never took responsibility for her death, and while the U.S. government rejected the results of the Israeli investigation, it did nothing to ensure that such a killing would not happen again. So it did.
Rachel Corrie lies in the dirt, waiting for medical help with three other International Solidarity Movement activists, after she was crushed under an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza, on March 16, 2003.
Photo: International Solidarity Movement/Getty Images
Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003, when she was 23. Twelve years later, on the anniversary of her death, her parents and sister met with Antony Blinken for the last time. The deputy secretary of state spoke to them in the sincere way they had come to know well. “Come back anytime,” he told them as the meeting came to a close.
The Corries didn’t want to come back. They had been meeting with Blinken for years, and they were tired. When he asked, earnestly, “What can I do for you?” they felt frustrated. “I appreciate your kindness,” Craig Corrie told Blinken. “I’m glad you are personally engaged. But unless you engage your institution, it doesn’t do me any good.”
“He’s asking, what can I do for you,” Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother, told The Intercept. “But there’s a point at which it’s like, what are you guys going to do?”
“I can’t tell you what tools you have to use,” echoed Sarah, Rachel’s sister. “You need to be telling us.”
Rachel’s killing had brought the Corries to hundreds of offices like Blinken’s over the years but nowhere closer to the accountability they were seeking. Blinken, today the secretary of state, was one of several senior U.S. officials who worked closely with the family during their yearslong crusade for justice and one of a number who now occupy top positions in the Biden administration. The Corries liked him, and they appreciated his efforts and warmth. In emails, he signed himself “Tony.” He always responded to their letters and regularly met with them for longer than scheduled.
Ultimately, however, Blinken failed them.
As they prepared to leave his office for the last time, Sarah told him: “There was a promise made to the president of the United States from Prime Minister [Ariel] Sharon of a thorough, credible, and transparent investigation. Your government said that that never happened; that promise was never fulfilled,” she recalled. “You’ve still got a problem here.”
Blinken nodded. “I know.”
“I think in some way I needed them to say no. If they weren’t going to do anything, that’s what I needed to hear out of that meeting.”
Walking away, Sarah knew she was done. Blinken had asked her to follow up with an email; she wondered why she should be the one do that, why one of the staffers in the room couldn’t take notes. “I felt like we could go on like this for the rest of our lives,” she said. “I think in some way I needed them to say no. If they weren’t going to do anything, that’s what I needed to hear out of that meeting.”
“Holding Israel Accountable” is the theme of the Rachel Corrie Commemoration sponsored by the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice and the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project. The commemoration honors the 19th anniversary of the death of the U.S. peace activist crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to peacefully prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home.
How do we hold Israel accountable for decades of oppression, displacement, land theft, occupation and loss? At this moment, what are the avenues for seeking peace with justice for Palestinians and Israelis? Five guests, representing many years of experience with this issue, will share their work and current perspectives.
Meet our speakers who represent years of experience with this issue and will on March 16th share their current work and perspectives on the question of Israeli accountability.
Amnesty International recently published a report calling “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians a cruel system of domination and a crime against humanity.” Rachel Corrie Foundation March 16th observances are about education, community building, and action. There is work for us all to do – locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. With perspectives as Palestinians in the diaspora, representatives of solidarity organizations, and scholars, our guest speakers will help those of us at the grassroots level think how to effectively challenge Israel’s apartheid system and crimes against humanity that Amnesty International, other human and legal rights organizations, the Palestinian people, and Israeli activists have called out.
If you can’t make the March 16th event but wish to contribute to our support for GCMHP in remembrance of Rachel Corrie and the many others lost, Donate Here. Under “Apply my donation to” select Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. Thank you!
Born and raised in Olympia, Washington, human rights activist and observer Rachel Corrie went to Gaza in 2003 with the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the long-entrenched and systematic oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian population, using non-violent, direct-action methods and principles. While standing in front of a home threatened with demolition by the Israeli military, Rachel was killed when run over by an armored Caterpillar D9R bulldozer operated by two Israeli soldiers. With annual March 16th remembrances, we at the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice seek to bring attention to the loss of lives, lands, freedoms, and opportunities that have continued since Rachel’s stand in Gaza in 2003 and to build and strengthen the community of constructive, nonviolent resisters of which she was a part.
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
We are delighted to again co-host our March 16 observance with friends at the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project. MRSCP was founded in 2003 by concerned citizens in Madison, Wisconsin, to forge person-to-person relationships with Rafah, Palestine, to increase public awareness of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and to influence public policy for the benefit of both peoples. Until COVID-19, MRSCP annually hosted an in-person Rachel Corrie commemorative event in Madison.
We are grateful for the support of the following partners who have helped with technical support and getting the word out!
The new unit providing clean water to the kids in Shuka, Rafah (MECA, 12/29/21)
Help us give the gift of Clean Waterto the Children of Rafah
There is a water crisis in Palestine that affects the health of virtually every adult and child. In the Gaza Strip poor sanitation and over-extraction have polluted the limited water supply. Israeli military attacks and the blockade have prevented repairs to water infrastructure. Water to Gaza is restricted and often too expensive for families to purchase from a safe source.
MAIA is Arabic for water, and the MAIA Project began when children at a UN school in Gaza picked clean drinking water as the one thing they wanted most for their school.
That’s why the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project joined with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) in 2010 to provide water filters to schools in Rafah. You can help today!
For a limited time we are offering a 22-oz. Trek II aluminum refillable water bottle with this Maia logo for all donations of at least $60.
Donations of $80 or more can also receive a GAZA logo pin. If you want the water bottle and/or pin, please mail a check and send us a phone number or email address with your request; we will contact you to arrange delivery.
Mail a check payable to MRSCP with the memo “water”. Send it to
P.O. Box 5214
Madison, WI 53705
The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is registered as a 501(c)(3) organization and your donation is tax deductible.
Our History with the Maia Project
• 2019 — 2020 Our current goal is to raise $16,000 for a large Maia filter at the Al Shuka Preparatory School. The siege of Gaza and lack of building materials forces this school to run in two shifts: the first one girls and the second co-ed. A total of 2,200 students and their families will be able to get clean water from this unit.
• 2018 — 2019 $16,000 for filters at two schools serving 3,250 students and their families in Rafah. A joint project of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, First Unitarian Society of Madison, Jewish Voice for Peace – Madison, and Madison-Rafah Sister City Project. Photos of the filters by Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance:
• 2011 $13,700 for a larger filter system at the UN Girl’s Elementary school in the Rafah Refugee Camp. This donation helped supply 1,800 young girls with a very basic human right; something children and parents in Wisconsin take for granted.
• 2010 $1,995 to install a desalination and filter system for the Tuyor Al-Jena kindergarten in Rafah, where children are now enjoying clean, safe water. It was donated in memory of MRSCP member Ken Coffeen.
Right now, near the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba and during Ramadan (Muslims’ most sacred time of the year), the Palestinian village of Sheikh Jarrah is being forcefully “evicted” by Israel as settlers try to STEAL the Palestinian homes. The government-sanctioned theft-in-progress sparked a Palestinian uprising against their brutal oppressors. Since then, at least an estimated 70 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been murdered by Israel’s death squad, otherwise known as the IDF.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Our struggles are all connected and none of us are truly liberated until the oppressed are liberated worldwide.
We can’t breathe in part because Palestine can’t breathe. Did you know that American police are trained to use the very same disgusting, inhumane tactics that IDF (Israeli soldiers) uses to terrorize Palestinians on a daily basis? Police brutality in America is directly linked to our government’s unwavering military, financial, and political support of Israel’s fascist regime — and we can stand for it no longer.
Join us as we stand with our comrades in Palestine fighting for their right simply to exist and to live free from Israeli tyranny. Bring your Palestinian flags, signs, and banners. Don’t forget to wear your keffiyahs!