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2003-05-12

Israel Raids ISM Headquarters & Bars Peace Activists from Gaza

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The raid came hours after the Israeli military announced all foreigners entering the Gaza Strip will be required to sign waivers absolving the Israeli army from any responsibility if the army shoots them.

On Friday, Israel forces raided the West Bank offices of the International Solidarity Movement, an non-violent organization that often organizes international volunteers to act as ?human shields? between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

Israel has decided to deport two activists arrested during the raid, 28-year-old Christine Razowsky, of Chicago, and Australian Miranda Sissons, who works for the New York based Human Rights Watch. 22-year-old Palestinian Fida Gharib was also arrested.

The raid began when more than 20 Israeli army jeeps surrounded the ISM offices on Friday, before forcing entry into the building. They confiscated computers and documents.

In recent months, several members of the group have been killed and wounded during Israeli incursions into the West Bank and Gaza strip.

In March, an Israeli bulldozer crushed Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old from Olympia, Washington when she tried to prevent it from demolishing Palestinian homes. Last month the Israeli army shot an unarmed British peace activist from the group in the head. 21-year-old Tom Hurndull remains in critical conditions. In early Brian Avery was shot in the face in Jenin.

Also, the British government has demanded an investigation into the shooting death of British Cameraman James Miller, who was killed last week while shooting a documentary in a Gaza refugee camp. A recent confirmed that he was almost certainly killed by an Israeli soldier, despite the army’s assertions to the contrary.

Foreigners entering the Gaza Strip are now required to sign waivers absolving the Israeli army from any responsibility if the army shoots them. Visitors must also declare that they are not peace activists and not connected to the International Solidarity Movement. Foreigners are also being forbidden from approaching security walls near Jewish settlements and from entering parts of Rafah which the Israeli army considers to be a military zone.

  • Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement.
  • Hussein Khalili, ISM Coordinator in Nablus.

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