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2001-12-27

An International Delegation of 90 Peace Activists Are Assaulted By Israeli Soldiers As Theytry to Cross the Border Into Gaza

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Dozens of international civilians traveling on a solidarity visit to Gaza yesterday were assaulted by the Israelimilitary as they attempted to cross the border between Israel and Palestine. The group, which was part of a largerInternational Solidarity Movement delegation, had been walking peacefully from one side of the checkpoint to theother, when soldiers guarding the post forcibly stopped them. With little warning, they began firing shots into theair and then descended upon the group, punching the men and body-slamming the women. At least one woman was latertaken to the hospital. Members of the group were then dragged and forcefully thrown onto their tour bus. Two Frenchcivilians were detained.

Prior to the assault, the international group had been planning to spend the day in Gaza, distributing humanitariansupplies and demonstrating their solidarity. They were scheduled to tour Gaza City, Khan Younis and Rafah, includingthe refugee camps. While they were initially processed and given permission to enter, the soldiers then changedtheir minds and blocked the group from going. It was at that point that approximately half of the delegation decidedto cross the checkpoint on foot.

The international group was comprised of women and men of all ages, from the United States, Belgium, Britain, andFrance.

Guests:

  • Georgina Reeves, Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People.
  • Brian Wood, International Solidarity Movement.
  • Mary Thomas, International Solidarity Movement

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