Support the International Solidarity MovementMay 12th, 2003
Support International Protection for the Palestinian People! Contact Congress and Make Your Voice Heard! Fax, call, and/or email your Representative in Congress and ask him/her to call on the State Department to 1) Submit a resolution to the United Nations to place an international protection force in the West Bank and Gaza that will protect the civilians of both Palestine and Israel until Israeli forces withdraw to the 1967 border. 2) Call on the Government of Israel to cease its attacks on Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps, and to pull its forces out of inhabited areas. 3) Call on the Government of Israel to end its detentions of and raids on activists with the International Solidarity Movement. 4) Undertake a full independent investigation into the killing of US peace activist and ISM member Rachel Corrie. To find fax and phone numbers for your Representative, enter your zip code at http://www.congress.org. If you'd like to call, the Congressional Switchboard is either 202-224-3121 or 800-839-5276. To send an email to your Representative, see http://www.cflweb.org/congress_merge_.htm. NOTE Faxing is considered to be the most effective way to influence Members of Congress. Phone calls are the next most effective way. Email is considered to be the least effective way. BACKGROUND The Israeli government has declared its intention to target international peace and human rights workers in order to end their nonviolent resistance to military rule and the measure of protection they offer the civilian population. On May 10, 2003, Radika, a US citizen, Charlotte, a UK citizen, and Osama, a Palestinian coordinator working with the ISM, were detained by Israeli forces near Tulkarem in the West Bank. Two British ISM-ers were detained at the Erez border crossing at the entrance to the Gaza strip two days previously; Nick and Alice are being held in a settlement in the Gaza Strip and have been told that they are being deported. On May 9, some 20 military vehicles, army jeeps and a large armored personnel carrier surrounded the ISM media office in Beit Sahour. Dozens of Israeli army, police, and border police then invaded the ISM office and the offices of the nearby Palestinian Rapprochement Center. Three women were arrested; one, Flo (Krisitin), a US citizen, remains in custody. She has been told that she will be deported. All the computers as well as ISM and PCR files were expropriated, paralyzing the movement's work. PRC and ISM are now in urgent need of computers as well as legal help to fight against the series of procedures that peace activists are facing. The raids come at a time of escalating brutality against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, who have been killed at a rate of two per day during the first ten days of May. Many children are among the dead and injured. Israel seems increasingly determined to prevent its acts from being witnessed by outside observers. An Amnesty International delegation was barred access to the Gaza Strip on May 9, a day after the Israeli government declared that any foreigners wanting to enter the Gaza Strip would have to sign a waiver stating that they are not peace activists and absolving the army from responsibility if it shoots them. As this regulation was being enforced, an autopsy revealed that James Miller, a British cameraman killed in a Gaza Strip refugee camp, had been killed by the Israeli army. The Israeli military assaults on ISM activists in the occupied West Bank and Gaza began with the brutal crushing to death of US citizen and ISM-er Rachel Corrie on March 16. She was killed by a bulldozer as she tried to stop the demolition of a home in Rafah. On May 3 the IDF fired on the parents of a British ISMer, Tom Hurndall, as they approached the spot in Gaza where their son had been shot by the army as he tried to protect Palestinian children from gunfire. He now lies brain dead in an Israeli hospital. ISM peace activists practice non-violent resistance to prevent demolitions of Palestinian homes, facilitate passage for Palestinians and ambulances at checkpoints, and protect their fields and olive harvests. Repeated US vetoes at the UN of an international protection force have prevented the fielding of an effective force to protect Palestinian civilians from attacks by Israeli Government forces and Israeli civilians from attacks by Palestinian groups. The civilian Palestinian population is defenseless against tanks, helicopters and jet fighters, and the only protection they now have are peace activists like the ISM who use non-violent direct action to dissuade Israeli forces from carrying out actions that are illegal under the Geneva conventions: home demolitions, curfews, collective punishments, and closures, among others. Since September 2000 alone, more than 2,300 Palestinians--a quarter of them children--and more than 600 Israelis have been killed, a direct consequence of the occupation. For up-to-date information, visit the ISM website at http://www.palsolidarity.org.