Don't mourn for Rachel Corrie.
The 23-year-old American "peace activist" was fatally injured when she purposefully
obstructed an Israel Defense Forces bulldozer engaging in tunnel- and mine-clearing
operations. What the Israelis graciously called a "regrettable accident"
should never have occurred, because Corrie should have first been arrested,
either by Israel or the United States.
The tunnels Corrie was protecting are underneath the Israel-Egypt border.
These elaborate structures, often wood paneled and with electricity, communications
equipment and even elevators, are typically dug inside residential homes
and concealed under bathrooms, living rooms and bedrooms. They are used to
smuggle weapons and explosives -- not to mention drugs and prostitutes --
from Egypt into Gaza.
Corrie, recently seen in a wire service photo angrily burning an American
flag, was acting on behalf of the radical Arab-led International Solidarity
Movement (ISM), an outfit dedicated to support the "right to resist" what
it calls "the occupation of Palestine." The group's members once acted as
"human shields" to protect Yasser Arafat from Israeli forces and last year,
during the standoff at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, did the same
for hostage-holding terrorists holed up inside.
Corrie's own sentiments were made clear in her writings.
In an email, she makes reference to Arab "homes in historic Palestine --
now Israel," thus reflecting the widely-held Arab view that "Palestine" means
the entirety of Israel. In her diary, published on the web by the "nonviolent"
ISM, Corrie writes sympathetically of the killing of Israelis by terrorists.
"[T]ry to imagine, please, the courage it requires," she gushes. Yes, imagine.
Corrie and other "activists" are, of course, entitled to their violent views.
But though Americans and Israelis put a premium on political "free expression,"
let's be clear: When those views are manifested as conduct, they are far
outside the bounds of protected speech. As the United States Supreme Court
once stated: "We cannot accept the view that an apparently limitless variety
of conduct can be labeled 'speech' whenever the person engaging in the conduct
intends thereby to express an idea."
Corrie brings to mind another politically motivated young American who acted
to aid and comfort the enemy -- John Walker Lindh. In an attempt at dismissal
of his indictment, Lindh's
lawyers made first-amendment noises about his "right to associate with unpopular
and disfavored groups." The arguments, of course, didn't fly, and Lindh was
successfully prosecuted for conspiring to provide support to terrorists.
ISM does likewise. By impeding the destruction of smuggling tunnels, its
members give active support to groups like Hamas, a terrorist organization
responsible for the murders of Americans as well as Israelis.
Since American fighting forces are currently engaged against terror worldwide,
ISM's actions could well be described as treasonous. The group's members
could also be fairly characterized as enemy combatants -- particularly by
Israel. In analogous circumstances, a senior U.S. defense official last month
said that foreigners who go to Baghdad to volunteer as human shields could
be considered war combatants "since they're working in the service of the
Those who interfere with fighting troops bear responsibility for whatever
fate they suffer. Officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base, for instance,
revealed recently that they will not rule out the use of deadly force against
protesters -- protestors, mind you, not active collaborators with the enemy
in a war zone -- who infiltrate the military complex in time of war. "This
is not fun and games anymore," said Vanderberg's Maj. Stacee Bako. "They're
Of course, like the Israelis, we Americans don't use lethal force unnecessarily
against such people, but neither are we the guarantors of their safety. U.S.
General Tommy Franks recently said that we will "do our best" to avoid making
casualties of human shields in Iraq but added that "I will tell you, we will
not be 100% successful." Israel, battling relentless terror in its backyard,
Of Rachel Corrie, Saddam ally Yasser Arafat said: "Our people embrace her
and offer her our blessings." But as American and Israeli troops man the
front lines against terror, those outside of Arafat's circle will save our
blessings for them.
If Corrie hadn't lost her life giving aid and comfort to the enemy, she should
have been arrested -- either by the Israelis, or the moment she got home.
Steven Zak is an attorney is California.
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