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After Gaza death, activists resolute

American Rachel Corrie was killed Sunday in Gaza when an Israeli army bulldozer ran over her.

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The death of peace activist Rachel Corrie has done little to still violence in the Gaza Strip. An Israeli army raid into a Gaza shantytown early Monday left seven Palestinians dead, including the Islamic Jihad militant the troops were pursuing and a four-year-old girl.

Coming on the heels of Ms. Corrie's death Sunday, the battle and army seizure of land in the northern Gaza Strip underscores the question many activists had been asking themselves in the hours after the young American was killed: What next?

Just a day after Corrie's death, peace activists in Gaza and the West Bank already have their answer. Despite the risks and anxieties, they say their commitment to pursuing nonviolent resistance in the Palestinian territories has only been strengthened.

"We are determined to stay and maintain our presence," says Tom, a young British volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the group to which Corrie belonged. "None of us has had any sleep, so we haven't had anytime to process how we're feeling about this," he adds, "but it already feels like an enormous loss."

Set to graduate

Founded in August 2001, the Palestinian-backed ISM aims to raise awareness of the situation in the occupied territories through the media, divestment drives, and the use of international volunteers who come for limited periods of time.

Corrie, who arrived here in January and was to graduate this year from Evergreen College in Olympia, Wash., died trying to prevent an Israeli army bulldozer from demolishing a house in Rafah, where Gaza abuts the Egyptian border. The bulldozer ran over her.

The army described the incident as a "very regrettable accident," explaining that the bulldozer had very small windows. "We're dealing with a group of protesters who are acting irresponsibly, putting the Palestinians, themselves, and our forces in danger by intentionally placing themselves in a combat zone," says an army spokesman.


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