ISM: More on Tom Hurndall
More on Tom Hurndall
1) Download flyers
2) Soldier 'tried to cover up killing of British activist' - The Telegraph
3) The Case That Wouldn't Close - Dissident Voice
4) Chicago vigil report
1) Dowload Rachel / Tom flyers
At the following link you can download Rachel and Tom flyers that you can hand out at your events or anywhere! Help us wake the world up to what's happening in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by sharing the words, life and sacrifice of these two beautiful individuals.
Thank you to Abbas Hamideh for the files.
Also: To our friends in the US,
As the presidential primaries get under way, please consider attending these public events when they come to your area. Ask the presidential candidates if they plan on seeking justice for Rachel Corrie?
Note: Questions to presidential candidates about the Middle East and Palestine, while important, are inviting a prepared statement/ position on Israel / Palestine. Ask them, instead, if they ready to put the interests of US citizens above the interest of a foreign belligerent state? Ask them if they will stand by the Corrie family in their struggle to get justice for their daughter. Please see stories below.
2) The Telegraph: Soldier 'tried to cover up killing of British activist'
18/1/2004: The Israeli soldier accused of killing Tom Hurndall, the British peace activist who died last week, tried to cover up his crime by asking for his commander's permission to shoot an "armed man" moments after he had already fired the fatal shot. Read full story at:
The Case That Wouldn't Close
by Sheila Samples
January 17, 2004
First Published in www.axisoflogic.com
"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." -- Robert F. Kennedy (From the Tom Hurndall website)
Tom Hurndall is dead.
Nine months after being shot in the head by an Israeli soldier which left him in a coma, two months after his 22nd birthday, and one day after his mother knelt at his bedside and whispered the good news that his assailant had finally been arrested, Tom Hurndall's name was added to a growing, but mostly unmentioned, unheralded and unknown list of innocents slaughtered by Ariel Sharon's brutal IDF (Israel Defense Forces).
Sadly, neither the young British photographer's meaningful life nor his meaningless death created a discernable blip on the world media screen. April 11, 2003 -- the day an IDF sniper atop a tower in Rafah took careful aim with a telescopic lens and put a bullet into Herndall's forehead -- was just another day in Gaza wherein the streets and alleys of its towns are strewn with the dead, most of whom are guilty of the heinous crime of daring to breathe while Palestinian.
According to Israeli officials, outsiders such as Hurndall, spurred to action by a love of humanity and by outrage at continuous, brutal, unchallenged attacks upon that humanity, put themselves in the crossfire. They are to blame for their own demise.
Stuff happens. Case Closed.
Hurndall joined the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) peace organization just a week prior to the attack. According to his mother, Jocelyn, entries in his journal indicate that it was obvious from his arrival that it was open season on international peace activists.
"Within his first two hours in Rafah he was shot at repeatedly," she said. " He said they had huge bulldozers coming at them, sand bombs thrown at them and gas..."
It must be true. Just a week before, on April 5, 2003, Brian Avery, 24, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, was critically injured in a hail of machine-gun fire in Jenin from an advancing Israeli armored personnel carrier, although he stood in his orange ISM jacket with arms raised above his head. Eyewitnesses say after shooting Avery in the face, the driver of the APC rolled on by, unconcerned that an unarmed civilian lay in the road behind him in a pool of blood. An IDF investigation revealed it was a regrettable "accident." Case closed.
And earlier, on March 16, 23-year-old peace activist Rachel Corrie, a university student from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death in Rafah by an Army bulldozer as she attempted to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home. A mere three months later, after a military police investigation, Israel's Military Advocate General, Major General Menahem Finkelstein, found there was no misconduct on the part of the bulldozer driver -- in fact they had been so certain of his innocence, he was back at work the next day, mindlessly destroying the homes and lives of Palestinians. Finkelstein found that Corrie and other ISM victims were guilty of "illegal, irresponsible and dangerous" behavior. Case closed. What is going on here? Why is there a blanket of silence from countries whose citizens are slain in broad daylight in defiance of international law, backed up with crime-scene photographs and legions of eye-witnesses? Since when does the United States government refuse to investigate the obvious cold-blooded murder of its citizens -- refuse to respond to parents who seek their help? Why are there no bellows of outrage from the British government, not only for Tom Hurndall, but for 54-year-old Iain Hook, who headed the UN program to rebuild Jenin and was shot in the back and killed in November 2002?
Edward Said, Palestinian-born Columbia professor and intellectual conscience of the Middle East, has answered that question many times over. In a penetrating piece in the May 6, 2002 issue of The Nation, Said pointed out, "the monstrous transformation of an entire people by a formidable and feared propaganda machine into little more than militants and terrorists has allowed not just Israel's military, but its fleet of writers and defenders to efface a terrible history of injustice, suffering and abuse in order to destroy the civil existence of the Palestinian people with impunity."
The diabolically astute "let's kill the Palestinians and torture everybody else" Alan Dershowitz seems to back up Said's premise. Dershowitz has come up with a road map to peace he says is guaranteed to curb terrorism. He says -- now, stay with me here -- there's no reason for Palestinians to die one at a time by blowing themselves up. Israel should publish a list of all the villages inhabited by Palestinians -- sort of a "to do" destruction-derby list. Then, any time there's an "act of terrorism," Israel would just destroy an entire village. The inhabitants would be given a couple of hours to vacate their property.
Speaking of property, Dershowitz has an even better idea if the first one doesn't fly. He says Israel could announce in advance that "every act of terrorism will result in an automatic and permanent decrease of a specific portion of the land mass that eventually would constitute the Palestinian state." In the event of a terrorist act, Dershowitz says, that land would be immediately annexed to Israel and become a permanent part of the Jewish state. Neat, huh? Sounds like a plan to me...
With plans like that floating around, is it any wonder that investigations into the deaths of peace activists are open and closed in such a cavalier fashion? Do we not at least sense why the world remains shamefully silent? Palestinians -- and those who would protect them -- are, in Said's words, "nothing but rats and cockroaches that can be attacked and killed...without so much as a word of compassion or in their defense..."
In May 2003, just four months before he succumbed to lukemia, Said met with Rachel Corrie's parents during one of his cross-country lecture jaunts. They told him that, upon returning to the US with their daughter's body, they immediately sought out their US senators, Democrats Patty Murray and Mary Cantwell, and told them their story. After receiving expressions of shock, outrage, and anger as well as promises of investigations, the two legislators returned to Washington. The Corries never heard from them again. The promised investigation simply didn't materialize.
"As expected," Said explained, "the Israeli lobby had explained the realities to them, and both women simply begged off. An American citizen willfully murdered by the soldiers of a client state of the US without so much as an official peep or even the de rigeur investigation that had been promised her family."
Yet, the Hurndalls refuse to remain silent. They refused to accept an initial IDF report exonerating Israeli soldiers from blame. The case of Tom Hurndall became the case that wouldn't close. After relentless campaigning and exerting pressure upon both Britain and Israel, and after launching a months-long investigation on their own, which yielded 14 eye-witnesses, photographs and ballistic evidence, Israel arrested a soldier just one day before Turndall died, charged him with aggravated assault, and promised a "vigorous" investigation.
Even with Israel's dismal track record on investigating its own atrocities, one can always hope that Tom did not die in vain; that he will receive the justice and honor he so richly deserves. And -- by extension -- so will the valiant Rachel, Iain and Brian.
Only then will the case be closed.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma based freelance writer, a former US Army Public Information Officer and a contributing editor of Axis of Logic, where this article first appeared. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
4) Chicago vigil report
The Chicago chapter of ISM held an Emergency Response Action on January 15 for Tom Hurndall. Approximately 25 people conducted a solemn procession from Tribune Plaza to the Israeli Consulate. A vigil was conducted outside the consulate and Brian Avery delivered the following letter to a representative of the Israeli Consulate.
January 15, 2004
To Whom It May Concern,
We come to you today with a message that we ask you to forward to Ariel Sharon and other Israeli government officials.
Today we mourn the death of our beloved British comrade Tom Hurndall. He, as you well know, was shot in the head by an Israeli Defense Forces sniper in Rafha (Gaza) on April 12 of 2003. While we applaud the arrest of the soldier that pulled the trigger that fateful day, we know and you know, that the decision to murder Tom was not taken without orders from the Israeli military command. We call for the prosecution of the soldier and a full independent investigation to determine who gave the order to murder Tom Hurndall.
We also call for a full independent investigation into the attempted murder of Brian Avery in the city of Jenin on April 5, 2003. Numerous witnesses have testified that Avery, who was wearing a bright reflective vest and had his hands in the air, was gunned down by an Israeli armored patrol as he and a colleague stood in an empty street, and was offered no medical assistance whatsoever by the Israeli soldiers. The report issued by the IDF was of a clearly biased nature and found to contain numerous inconsistencies which when corrected would clearly indict the Israeli soldiers for this crime. We demand a new inquiry into this case and the full prosecution of those involved.
In addition to that unfortunate loss of our gentle brother Tom, we know that since that fateful day last April 12 over 407 Palestinians have died at the hands of Israeli Defense Forces, nearly all of which civilian casualties. Indeed, the Palestine Red Crescent Society states that since September 29, 2000, there have been in the West Bank and Gaza 2,648 Palestinian deaths and 24,407 injured at the hands of the Israeli Occupation Forces.
We call upon Israeli military personnel to refuse to serve in the occupied territories of Palestine and offer our utmost support of the increasing numbers of those who have already done so. We will call upon our fellow U.S. citizens to demand that their elected officials stop all U.S. tax-funded aid to Israel until the illegal occupation of Palestine ends. We call upon the Israel government to immediately cease construction of and tear down the Apartheid Wall and to stop the land theft that has taken place during its construction. We will call on our elected officials to refuse campaign contributions from Israeli lobby groups who support these policies and urge them to condemn the illegal occupation of Palestine, now in its 36th year.
Finally, we have a message that we wish to make clear to the Israeli government and Israeli Occupation Forces: while you may attempt to intimidate international citizens performing human rights work inside occupied Palestine, while you may injure us, while you may even kill, us, we will continue our nonviolent support of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and freedom, and we will not stop until this violent and blood-soaked occupation comes to an end. We will continue to stand in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters, regardless of your tactics against us.
Brian Avery & Kevin Clark
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT