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, May 7, 2003

TERRORISTS!!! Do we have your attention now?

ISM-Vancouver wonders why the Israeli army's shooting and killing of international human rights volunteers and journalists is so much less newsworthy than their insinuations about a "connection" between ISM and the so-called "British suicide bombers?"

VANCOUVER, MAY 7 - For the past several days, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have attempted to conjure up a connection between the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the alleged British suicide bombers using crude innuendo and unsubstantiated rumours.

These insinuations have been parroted by irresponsible reporters who either slavishly accept the sensational pronouncements of a military renowned for its disinformation or who willfully seek to slander the international peace and human rights activists working in Occupied Palestine.

The IOF have a long history of brutality and abuse of fundamental human rights during their illegal military occupation of Palestine. They have killed more than 2000 Palestinian civilians and demolished more than 3000 civilian homes and shops since September 2000. The ISM has supported the Palestinian non-violent resistance to the occupation and has toiled tirelessly to draw attention to the forgotten plight of Palestinians.

IOF practices in Occupied Palestine are so racist and so far outside international law that even the IOF realizes that its propaganda branch and array of international apologists are not enough to defend Israeli Apartheid while the world is watching. The only way it can continue the oppression unnoticed is to remove any remaining international presence from the West Bank and Gaza.

For more than a year, the IOF have actively been trying to prevent the work of ISM peace and human rights activists - at least fifty have been arrested and deported in that period and hundreds more have been denied entry at the border. On April 16 - more than two weeks before the Tel Aviv suicide bombing - Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Lt. General Moshe Yaalon announced that he had given the order to "take the ISM out" because they "injure [the] freedom of action" of his troops.

Consequently, reports that the suicide bombers gained easy access to Israel "posing as peace activists" are laughable. Such a "cover story" would have only resulted in their immediate arrest and deportation.

Despite the constant threat of arrest and deportation, ISM activists have continued their important work of accompanying Palestinian ambulances, students and teachers (who are constantly harassed by soldiers), opposing home demolitions, delivering food and medicine, as well as documenting the many human rights abuses by the IOF.

Because the ISM were not cowed by the army's intimidation tactics, the IOF has recently escalated their campaign to include the maiming and killing the international volunteers. The IOF disregard for Palestinian life is now being applied to international civilians.

On March 16 2003, American Rachel Corrie of ISM was crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer in Rafah when she attempted to stop it from demolishing a civilian home. She and seven other activists had been blocking bulldozers at the scene for several hours, so the driver was well aware of their presence. Rachel was wearing a fluorescent orange jacket and was in full view of the bulldozer driver when he drove over her.

In Jenin on April 5 2003, another ISM volunteer, Brian Avery of New Mexico, was shot in the face by a heavy machine gun mounted on an Israeli Armed Personnel Carrier. He too was wearing a high visibility vest and, according to witnesses, had his hands raised when he was shot at without warning. He sustained serious injuries in the attack and is currently in hospital.

On April 11, 2003 a third ISM volunteer, Tom Hurndall from Great Britain, was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper in a Rafah guard tower when he attempted to help two young Palestinian children to move out of the line of fire. He was wearing a high visibility jacket and the Israeli regional military command had been made aware of his presence in the area by the British Embassy. He has been declared brain dead.

In the last three weeks the IOF has also killed two international journalists in the West Bank and Gaza -- both were clearly identifiable by clothing emblazoned with PRESS and TV. And just yesterday in Gaza, Israeli soldiers fired on, and held up at gunpoint, a convoy of British diplomatic vehicles carrying the parents of Tom Hurndall as they travelled to the spot where their son was critically injured.

The relentless attacking and murdering of aid workers, peace activists and journalists have brought some attention and mild censure to the IOF from foreign governments. In order to shift the spotlight from its war crimes, the IOF has launched this outrageous smear campaign against the very people who are protecting human rights in Occupied Palestine.

We call on the Israeli military establishment to take a good look in the mirror. This military occupation is a tragedy of errors and baseless attacks on peace activists will only hasten the speed with which your own brutality is coming into focus for the international community.

We call on the media and the international community to hold the IOF to account for its appalling and criminal attacks on Palestinian civilians, international human rights observers and journalists.

ISM-Vancouver volunteers Jean McLaren, Carel, Gordon and Drew have recently returned from the war zone in Palestine and are available for interviews in person or by phone.

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


Recent
ISM-Vancouver News Releases:

May 10, 2003
Israeli army declares war on international human rights workers

May 7, 2003
TERRORISTS! Do we have your attention now?

Apr. 16, 2003
Is there another war still going on?

Mar. 18, 2003
IOF disrupts memorial for Rachel Corrie in Gaza Strip

Mar. 8, 2003
Israeli army attacks the traditional economy of Nablus

Mar. 6, 2003
Old city of Nablus under seige in Occupied Palestine

Jan. 15, 2003
Another Palestinian child is murdered - who cares?

Jan. 14, 2003
ISM-Vancouver volunteer asks NDP Leader to take a stand on Palestine

Jan. 7, 2003
Vancouver activist witnesses Israeli aggression

Dec. 27, 2002
ISM-Vancouver Delegate arrives in Palestine