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Vancouver, January 15, 2003
delegate asks Alexa McDonough to take a meaningful stand on the
Israeli Apartheid Wall
Drew's surprise meeting with the Federal NDP leader in the West
Bank leads to discussion of Wall's impact on Palestinian communities
and the exposure of Israeli lies.
Solidarity Movement (ISM-Vancouver) volunteer Drew was accompanying
Palestinian farmers to a peaceful demonstration against the construction
of Israel's Apartheid Wall in the small Palestinian village of Rasatiye
(near Tulkarim) when Federal NDP Leader Alexa McDonough unexpectedly
appeared on a tour of the West Bank.
challenged Alexa to take a stand on this issue in Canada and for
the NDP to adopt a meaningful policy and she basically said that
she was on side," reports Drew.
community opposition to the wall is strong...they know that their
land is part of Sharon's plans for a greater Israel, however, as
Palestinians they are not."
to McDonough's arrival, the situation at the demonstration was deteriorating
as Israeli soldiers threatened Palestinian villagers and ISM volunteers
with violence unless they dispersed and stopped impeding the construction
of the Wall.
Earlier that day, a Palestinian farmer had been injured and taken
to hospital when an Israeli soldier deliberately aimed and shot
him with a tear-gas canister. "A shot rang out that was followed
by screaming," said Drew. "I saw the man's son pick
up a hot tear gas canister and lob it away from area of the fallen
demonstrators were giving up hope, several vehicles with UN and
Canadian flags approached the scene. Drew quickly pulled out
his Canadian passport and waved it at the cars, which then stopped.
Much to his surprise, the Federal NDP Leader and her aids emerged
from the vehicles.
international volunteers tried to explain that the peaceful community
was threatened by the construction of the Wall, but were stymied
by a Hebrew interpreter (who had a Canada flag on his jacket). "He
insisted that Alexa and company go and speak with the Israeli soldier
in charge to assess the situation," Drew reports. "The
soldier replied with lies about how the community was to be compensated
and that there was local support for the Wall being built."
demonstrators interjected that he was lying and the situation became
tense. Someone from ISM challenged him to tell us what the army
had been up to that morning and why a local man was on his way to
hospital. He replied that the army had nothing to do with it. A
local Palestinian who works with ISM then displayed video documentation
of the events on his digital video camera. "It covered the
shooting of the man and blood-curdling screams that followed,"
was when Drew urged McDonough to take a stand on the Wall in
Canada and for the NDP to adopt a meaningful policy on Palestine.
soldiers left shortly thereafter," said Drew. "Perhaps
they were frightened by our power to bring Canadian representatives
out of nowhere."
Drew, a resident of Delta BC, is currently an ISM-Vancouver Delegate
to Palestine. He is working with other Canadian and international
volunteers to support the Palestinian non-violent resistance to
the occupation. Drew was previously a UN Accredited Electoral
Observer of the UN Consultation on East Timor in 1999.
Drew is available for interviews by phone and email.
Drew's eyewitness reports are available online at valis.indymedia.org/ism-vancouver.
more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Reem, Coordinator of ISM-Vancouver by email at