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Vancouver, May 7, 2003
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Gordon, ISM-Vancouver spokesperson, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Reem, Coordinator of ISM-Vancouver, at email@example.com.