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News Release

For Immediate Release
Vancouver, January 15, 2003

ISM-Vancouver 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.

International 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.

"I 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.

"The 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."

Prior 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 man."

As 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.

The 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."

Several 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," said Drew.

That 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.

"The 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.

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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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