"I couldn't believe it. I was sure the bulldozer would stop," said Tom Dale, 18, a member of Rachel Corrie's group. "When we arrived she was still alive but had blood all over her face."
They counted on the Israelis' basic human values.
"[The Israeli troops] have shot over our heads, and shot near our feet — they have fired tear gas at us," said Michael Shaik, the group's media coordinator. "But we thought we had an understanding. We didn't think they would kill us."
They dared to protest because they know the Israelis play by civilized rules, rules not binding on the people they came to support. But no rule can protect people from their own foolishness.
On March 16, 2003, in the town of Rafah in southern Gaza, Rachel Corrie, 23, an "international peace protester," dropped to her knees in front of an Israeli bulldozer. The bulldozer was clearing away foliage used to hide bombs. She expected it to stop, but it kept moving, trapping her under its tracks. An ambulance took her to Ajar hospital, where she died.
The protesters called it murder, even though they repeatedly defied warnings to leave the area, and even though a preliminary investigation determined that the driver of the bulldozer could not see Rachel Corrie. According to the inquiry, "the windows of the bulletproof bulldozer are very small and the visibility is very limited, and the bulldozer operator did not see the woman."
Nevertheless the murder charge has persisted. The group to which Rachel Corrie belonged, the International Solidarity Movement, even published "before" and "after" pictures claiming to show that the bulldozer operator could in fact see her.