Israel Bans US Peace Activist

July 24th, 2004 - by admin

George Rishmawi-IMEMC & AP – 2004-07-24 11:43:40

JERUSALEM (July 24, 2004) — An Israeli court rejected an appeal submitted by the lawyer of the American peace activist Jamie Spector, against an order barring her from entering Israel.

Judge Sara Dotan rejected the appeal because of Spector’s activities with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) her Lawyer said. The decision against Spector, 32, a Jewish social worker from San Francisco, came just two days after another judge overturned a similar ban against a member of the same organization, the International Solidarity Movement.

Spector arrived in Israel on July 10 to take part in nonviolent protests against the separation wall Israel is constructing in the West Bank. She has been held in detention since defying the order to leave, said Gaby Lasky.

“I have not, at any time, been involved in anything illegal,” Spector told The Associated Press after the ruling. “Palestinians have a legal right to protest, and I have every right to aid them in nonviolent legal actions,” she said.

Israel Has Not Explained Why Spector Was Detained
Tova Ellinson, spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Interior, said airport officials stopped Spector in accordance with a security recommendation. She declined further comment.

Judge Sara Dotan ruled that activists of the Solidarity Movement should be denied entry because their actions disrupt military operations and put soldiers at risk, Lasky said. The ruling did not relate to her Jewish origins.

Another ISM activist, Ann Robinson-Petter, was granted permission to enter Israel on Wednesday, after being held in detention for nearly a month.

Robinson-Petter, 44, a graphic designer from New York City, was released and allowed to enter the country on condition that she stay at least one kilometer from the security fence and that she not participate in demonstrations and not to enter the Palestinian areas. Lasky said she was unaware of any difference between the two cases.

Other ISM Volunteers Killed by Israeli Troops and Contractors
An appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court is being considered, she said. The ISM activists, whose goal is to enable the Palestinians to conduct nonviolent resistance to the occupation sometimes place themselves between Palestinians and Israeli army in an effort to deescalate the situation and protect civilian homes of being demolished by the Army.

In March 2003, Rachel Corrie, 23, of Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in a Gaza refugee camp while trying to stop soldiers from demolishing a house. Her death was ruled accidental, as Israel refused to open an independent investigation, despite the many demands, and was satisfied with the Army’s report.

British photography student Tom Hurndall was shot in the head in April 2003 and died nine months later. An Israeli soldier is on trial for manslaughter in the shooting.

According to an ISM source, two were killed, few injured, many were beaten by the Israeli army, and over 65 [that the ISM knows of] have been turned away at the airport, 36 of them received deportation orders. Besides, almost double this number of activists have been arrested and deported.

The Israeli Authorities have raided the main office of the ISM and confiscated a lot of its content in May 2003. Reasons behind this raid were not clarified yet.

The ISM is currently running a campaign titled, “Freedom Summer 2004” in which the wall is its main target.

As part of the campaign, the ISM started series of actions against the wall in different West Bank towns and villages.

The campaign will be concluded with a 21 days march along the route of the wall from Jenin area to Jerusalem to protest the construction and demand Israel to adhere to the International Court of Justice ruling that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.