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ISM Bethlehem office raided by the IOF

End the occupation | 09.05.2003 15:44

Bad news from Beit Zahour. ISM office raided. Two female internationals arrested and Palestinian 'employee' detained.

IDF raids ISM office, holds two foreign volunteers

By Haaretz Staff

Israel Defense Force troops raided the Bethlehem office of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Friday, detaining three people for questioning and confiscating computer disks and other equipment.

According to Israel Radio, Palestinian sources said that two female foreign volunteers were taken away from the site and a Palestinian employee was detained for questioning.

The IDF reported that two woman, in the country illegally, had been taken away for questioning.

The raid comes a week after Israel decided to crack down on foreign volunteers in the territories, after it became apparent that the two British men involved in the suicide bombing last week on a Tel Aviv pub had posed as volunteers while in the Gaza Strip.

Israel decided that it bar pro-Palestinian activists from entering the country and will try to expel at least some of the dozens of activists who are already here, according a plan drafted by the Israel Defense Forces and the foreign and defense ministries.

Most of the activists, who come from Europe, Canada and the United States, belong to the ISM.

Their goal is to act as "human shields" for Palestinian individuals and houses during IDF incursions into Palestinian towns, and they have often been involved in confrontations with IDF soldiers. They also try to help Palestinians pass through IDF roadblocks.

Some two months ago, an American ISM activist, Rachel Corrie, was run over and killed by an IDF bulldozer in Gaza. Her colleagues accused the bulldozer driver of having run her over deliberately. The IDF denies the accusation and decided not to indict the driver. In two other recent cases, international activists have been seriously injured by IDF gunfire during confrontations in the territories.

The IDF charges that many of the self-proclaimed peace activists are "provocateurs" and "riot inciters" who deliberately interfere with the IDF's work, with the goal of blackening Israel's image. Army sources noted that in one case, they discovered a wanted terrorist being hidden by ISM activists in Jenin. The sources said the activists received training overseas in how to deceive border control officials at Ben-Gurion International Airport in order to be allowed into the country.

Furthermore, both the army and the Foreign Ministry fear that additional foreign citizens might be killed or wounded by the IDF if the ISM's activities are allowed to continue.

Last week's bombing in Tel Aviv, which was committed by two men who entered Israel on British passports, added a new reason to the authorities' desire to clamp down on the foreign activists - fear that other terrorists from overseas might enter the country under the guise of peace activists.

End the occupation


Display the following 5 comments

  1. Accountability — Kelly
  2. ISM Media Office Shut Down By IOF — Ceri
  3. Accountability, eh Kelly? — freethepeeps
  4. Hi — Hi
  5. yeah hi — nodboss