The Rachel Corrie Brigade will be formally inaugurated this coming Monday.
Hebron, March 8 – In pursuit of the advantages of diversified manpower, the militant organization that governs the Gaza Strip and several strongholds in the West Bank has established a new unit of about 4,000 personnel, all of whom are activists in various human rights organizations.
The Rachel Corrie Brigade, named for an American activist who was killed when she stepped in front of an IDF bulldozer in 2003, will be formally inaugurated this coming Monday, on the fourteenth anniversary of her death. Like its namesake, the members of the Rachel Corrie Brigade hail primarily from numerous international organizations that monitor or try to impede Israeli security operations, under the pretext of defending Palestinian human rights.
That combination of experience, intelligence, and dedication is exactly what Hamas is looking for in recruits, confirmed Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Hamas spokesman. “This opportunity has been staring us in the face forever,” he admitted, with evident chagrin. “We finally realized how perfectly aligned these activists are with our vision, and set up a recruiting and training program. It’s been tremendously successful – even a bunch of journalists have signed up.”
Of the estimated nine thousand human rights volunteers in the country, one third have already registered. “We have some logistical concerns, of course,” explained al-Zahar. “The volunteers in Gaza cannot easily train with their counterparts in Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, Qalqiliya, or Tulkarm. That means the term ‘brigade’ is more of a formality than an organizational reality, but as every one of our new recruits knows, if we say it’s true, it’s true. That’s holds whether we’re talking stories of Israeli atrocities and war crimes or the fact of the Rachel Corrie Brigade.”
In its recruitment efforts Hamas focused heavily on groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières, and the International Solidarity Movement, Corrie’s group. Many of the recruits already participated in activities run formally or informally by Hamas, such as protests against Israel’s security barrier, the hurling of rocks and firebombs, harassment of Jews living near Palestinians, hurling verbal abuse – and sometimes heavy objects – at IDF soldiers, and other “resistance” operations.
“Normally we’re allies with, but not members of, Hamas,” explained Omar Shakir, an Amnesty International operative. “We produce and distribute their propaganda, and they kill Jews. We each do what we do best. But so many of us want to do more, and now the movement is providing this opportunity for us to do so.”
Shakir declined to comment on the plight of Palestinians in Syria, thousands of whom have been killed in that country’s civil war, and many of whom remain besieged and starved.
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