Max Blumenthal reports on the suit which Rachel Corrie’s family is pursuing against the Israeli government. Oblivious to the Geneva Conventions, Israel colonel, Yossi, attests under oath that “There are no civilians during wartime”. Blumenthal notes that there are no Israeli reporters present in the courtroom, that ‘the case has been virtually ignored inside Israel’.
The Corrie family have been hampered in their search for justice for their courageous daughter, Rachel, by Israeli authorities, the US congress and executive courtesy of the malevolent control the Israel lobby has over them.
A 2003 bill introduced in the House International Relations Committee calling for a thorough Israeli investigation in Corrie’s killing and for American efforts to prevent such killings from happening again garnered 78 signatures in support (Rahm Emanuel was the only Jewish signer). However, Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, one of the Israel lobby’s closest allies in Congress, prevented the bill from getting out of the committee. President George W. Bush could have pressed for a full floor vote on the bill but he did nothing. The bill died as a result.
Having been obstructed by the Israelis’ opaque investigation and betrayed by their own government (with notable exceptions like former Rep. Brian Baird), the Corries have been forced to take matters into their own hands.
Blumenthal details another aspect of the case pursuant to Rachel’s murder – the abuse of her body. After obstructions by the Israeli regime in transporting her body to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv where all bodies of victims meeting uncertain fates are sent for autopsy, against her parents’ wishes, Rachel’s corpse was autopsied by the notorious Dr. Yehuda Hiss.
Who is Dr. Hiss? The chief pathologist of Israel for a decade and a half, Hiss was implicated by a 2001 investigation by the Israeli Health Ministry of stealing body parts ranging from legs to testicles to ovaries from bodies without permission from family members then selling them to research institutes. Bodies plundered by Hiss included those of Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. He was finally removed from his post in 2004 when the body of a teenage boy killed in a traffic accident was discovered to have been thoroughly gnawed on by a rat in Hiss’s laboratory. In an interview with researcher Nancy Schepper-Hughes, Hiss admitted that he harvested organs if he was confident relatives would not discover that they were missing. He added that he often used glue to close eyelids to hide missing corneas.
When Craig and Cindy Corrie learned that Hiss would perform an autopsy on their daughter, they stipulated that they would only allow the doctor to go forward if an official from the American consulate was present throughout the entire procedure. An Israeli military police report stated that an American official did indeed witness the autopsy. However, when the Corries asked American diplomatic officials including former US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzner if the report was true, they were informed that no American was present at all. The Israelis had lied to them, and apparently fixed their own report to deceive the American government.
On March 14, during the first round of hearings in the Corries’ civil suit, Hiss admitted under oath that he had lied about the presence of an American official during the autopsy of Rachel Corrie. He also conceded to taking “samples” from Corrie’s body for “histological testing” without informing her family. Just which parts of Corrie’s body Hiss took remains unclear; despite Hiss’s claim that he “buried” the samples, her family has not confirmed the whereabouts of her missing body parts.
The Corrie family deserve the truth from the duplicitous, prevaricative Israeli regime and the support of their own government. What is the use of government if it is unwilling to protect its citizens from murder, when it chooses to protect the murderer with which it is already complicit through bounteous guaranteed military aid and an extraordinary special relationship? Supporting the Geneva Conventions and human rights law would naturally highlight America’s multiple abuses against its own civilians domestically, along with civilians in foreign nations where it has exercised its vile preemptive doctrine and impunity, travesties shared with and practised by its warmongering, human rights abusing settler colonial cronies and imperial consorts.