Here you can find news about ISM-Vancouver activities. For the latest news about ISM campaigns in Palestine, please visit their website at www.palsolidarity.org. For general news about the situation in Palestine, we suggest you visit electronicintifada.net.

News Release

For Immediate Release
Vancouver, January 7, 2003

Vancouver activist witnesses Israeli police aggression first-hand

Israeli Border Police attack a peaceful group of Palestinian villagers and international volunteers near the “Apartheid Wall”

Drew, in Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), reports that Israeli Border Police in Jayus (near Tulkarem) threatened and attacked a non-violent delegation that was attempting to negotiate with them. The police were "pointing machine guns at us, using tear gas and hit one of the negotiators with a concussion bomb," Drew stated.

The incident began when Israeli police detained three Palestinian youth who walked by on their way to visit a friend who lives near the Apartheid Wall. The ISM team and a number of people from the nearby village approached the Border Police to inquire about the status of the detained youths.

The reply of the Border Police was a swift attack on the ISM team and the villagers. "Two tear gas canisters were thrown in our direction. Border Police and private security pointed automatic weapons and threatened to shoot the non-violent team for wanting to discuss the situation," said Drew. One of the negotiators narrowly avoided being injured when she was hit on the head with a concussion grenade that exploded at her feet.

Eventually, the ISM team did succeed in talking directly with the police and they were joined by the frightened mothers of the two youths. In consultation with the villagers, the ISM team negotiated to withdraw from the scene in return for the youths' release. The youths were freed and disappeared quickly into the village.

"However, the anxiety that the Wall's construction has brought still exists" Drew explained. "Armed private security forces, the infamous Border Police and regular soldiers are denying Palestinians access to their lands daily. They have destroyed and blockaded roads into agricultural areas (and whole communities), ruined irrigation systems and detained and beaten Palestinians in the area of the Wall."

Israel's "security fence," known as the Apartheid Wall by Palestinians, will mean de facto annexation of more than 10% of the West Bank. This includes theft of important water sources and much of the best agricultural land of the West Bank.

Drew, a resident of Delta BC, is currently an ISM-Vancouver Delegate to Palestine. He was a UN Accredited Electoral Observer of the UN Consultation on East Timor in 1999. Drew has been working with other Canadian and international volunteers to support the Palestinian non-violent resistance to the occupation.

ISM delegates document and report humiliation and injustices Palestinians face daily from Israeli occupation forces and settlers. Activists accompany Palestinians trying to access food, water and medical attention; assist farmers to work their lands safely; and protect Palestinian homes from demolition.

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Drew is available for interviews by phone and email. Drew's eyewitness reports are available online at valis.indymedia.org/ism-vancouver.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Reem, Coordinator of ISM-Vancouver by email at
info@ism-vancouver.org
.


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