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adas_46-48_New York City and Tri-State News 10/27/10 9:58 PM Page 48

A child’s drawing of Rachel Corrie facing the tank. and filming. As an Israeli citizen, she was not allowed to enter Gaza, but her camera crew was. Bitton directed filming there by telephone. Despite these and other difficulties, Bitton managed to do what the Israeli army’s internal investigation, which then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised would be �thorough, credible and transparent,� failed to do. Just how un-thorough was the IDF investigation is coming to light in the ongoing trial for the civil lawsuit that Rachel’s parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, have filed against the State of Israel for Rachel’s unlawful killing. Two of the three-

man Israeli investigative team testified that they never visited the site of the killing or interviewed any Palestinian witnesses, including medical personnel. Bitton did both, albeit by long distance. She interviewed onscreen the third member and commander of the investigative team, Shami Cohen, who looks ill at ease as he describes the inaccessibility of the scene and admits they did not question all witnesses. Dr. Samir Nasrallah owned the house Rachel was guarding, which the IDF has since demolished. In the film he walks through the rubble, re-enacting the time of her killing. Dr. Abu Nakira of Najar Hospital in Rafah, where the ambulance brought Rachel’s body, describes her wounds and shows her X-rays. Bitton includes graphic footage shot by Palestinian reporters on the scene. In Tel Aviv, Bitton interviewed Dr. Yehuda Hiss, chief forensic pathologist at the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine, who performed Rachel’s autopsy. Hiss was recently the subject of a lawsuit where he admitted to 125 cases of “organ harvesting,� removing body parts and selling them to medical institutions and universities. Rachel’s parents had requested an American diplomatic presence at the autopsy. Hiss tells Bitton that he contacted the embassy, but they were “not interested.� The civil trial has revealed that Hiss kept samples from Rachel’s body for “histological testing� without informing her family. (Advertisement)

The IDF denies any responsibility for Rachel’s death, unlike her teachers and mentors at Evergreen State College and the Palestinian founders of ISM, Ghassan Andoni and George Rishmawi, who accept a share of responsibility. Other interviews include IDF spokesperson Maj. Avital Leibovich, who claims there was “no direct contact between the bulldozer and the deceased�; a young, anonymous, religious IDF tank gunner stationed in Rafah at the time of Rachel’s killing describing shooting water tanks for fun; and ISM teammates who were eyewitnesses. Although Bitton was unable to interview IDF personnel involved in the killing, she managed to obtain written testimony from the IDF’s internal investigation, which is read by her friends; a clip from Israel Channel 2 archives of the D9 bulldozer operator; and, most amazingly, footage from an IDF surveillance camera, although the army has excised the moment of contact. The film includes scenes of Rachel’s neighborhood in Olympia, Washington; Jerusalem, where she underwent her ISM training; and the Rafah neighborhood where she lived in Gaza. Interspersed with all this are Rachel’s own words from Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie (available from the AET Book Club). They are read by her ISM teammates, her Evergreen State College teachers and, most poignantly, by her parents. The film concludes with Rachel’s words, “This has to stop.� �

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48

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

DECEMBER 2010

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  

Published to help provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.