The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-run organization that lures its members into war zones to act as human shields in obstructing counter-terrorism efforts.
- The Incident took place in the “Military Installations Area,” a strip of land located along the Egyptian border, at the southern part of the Gaza Strip, also known as the Philadelphi Road. This area is considered a hostile battlefield to Israeli soldiers because of the number of attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorists.
- Between 2000 and March 2003, the Military Installations Area/Philadelphia Road experienced the highest level of Palestinian terrorist activities
and was notorious
for being the main channel for smuggling terrorists and weaponry into
the Gaza Strip and the West Bank from Egypt. Since September 2000, these
terrorist activities included:
- 1,570 grenade attacks, using 5,715 grenades
- 1,360 live-fire machine gun and sniper attacks
- 184 anti-tank missile attacks
- 147 road-side explosive devices
- 41 mortar attacks
ongoing IDF operations in the Military Installations Area/Philadelphi
Road were meant to protect the border and prevent terrorist activities
civilians and IDF soldiers. These operations included:
- Observation posts
- Armored patrols
- Exposure and destruction of smuggling tunnels
- Terrain leveling and clearing of debris and explosive devices
- The D-9 armored bulldozer used by the IDF to clear terrain has an extremely limited field of vision. Shaded areas below represent blind spots for a D-9 bulldozer operator.
- Because of the height of the D-9 bulldozer—more than 4 meters/12 feet—the D-9 bulldozer operator has a limited line of sight and cannot see anything on the ground that is closer than 30 meters/90 feet.
- Established in August 2001, the ISM implements provocative and illegal methods to operate against “Israeli occupation.” The ISM presence had been noted in the incident area since late 2002.
- Other ISM activities reported by the AP include:
- Three ISM members were arrested while trying to prevent Israel from building a security fence between Israel and the West Bank
- 10 ISM activists holed themselves up in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem with dozens of other Palestinian terrorists in May 2002 during a standoff with Israeli soldiers. Even after an agreement was reached, the activists refused to leave the church.
- During an Israeli siege of Yasser Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah, several members of ISM sneaked past Israeli soldiers into the building.
- The IDF was engaged in a routine mission to level terrain and clear debris near the border, a preventative measure aimed at removing cover for terrorist attacks.
- The IDF used two D-9 armored bulldozers and one command APC. Each bulldozer was manned by two IDF personnel: a commander and an operator, each of whom was an experienced bulldozer operator in his 30s.
- On March 16, several ISM protestors entered a closed military zone and interfered in this routine mission. The IDF attempted to remove the protestors with shock grenades, tear gas and warning shots. After these multiple warnings and attempts to remove the protestors, the protestors still refused to leave the site.
- ISM protestors claim that the driver of the IDF bulldozer saw Rachel Corrie standing in his path and ran over her deliberately. In fact:
- The bulldozer driver did not see Rachel Corrie – and was not aware of her proximity to the bulldozer.
- Rachel Corrie was standing behind an earth mound and was obscured from the bulldozer crew’s view.
- There was no direct contact between the bulldozer and Rachel Corrie
- Rachel Corrie’s death was a result of injuries she sustained when earth and debris accidentally fell on her.
- The irresponsible and dangerous conduct of ISM activists—blatantly ignoring IDF warnings, refusing to leave the area, and purposely putting themselves in harm’s way—is a major factor leading to the tragic result of this incident.