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Woman Defies Israeli Order To Leave West Bank

International Solidarity Movement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Eric Laursen (917) 806-6452 September 24, 2002 Kate Crane, (917) 374-7087

California woman defies Israeli army, continues human rights mission

Claire Peak vows to stay in Palestinian village after soldiers detain her and co-workers, threaten them with deportation

HARES, OCCUPIED PALESTINE - Claire Peak, a resident of St. Helena, Napa County, California, who was detained by Israeli Occupation Force soldiers and told to leave the West Bank last Thursday, has vowed to defy the ban and remain.

Peak, a member of the International Women's Peace Service, has been living since last month in a house the IWPS maintains in the West Bank village of Hares, documenting and attempting to intervene in human rights abuses by the IOF and helping to build awareness of the plight of Palestinians in the area.

A 30-year-old British citizen who conducted TV cooking shows in St. Helena, Peak was detained along with two other IWPS workers - a Canadian citizen, Mariam Bhabha, and an Irish citizen, Joan Phelan - while videotaping a group of Israeli soldiers shooting into a residential area of Hares.

When they questioned the soldiers about what they were doing, and videotaped the interchange, they were detained and held at a police station for more than five hours.

Soldiers took their cameras from them and they were forced to submit to strip searches. Soldiers also attempted to make them sign statements in Hebrew that they could not read.

When Peak and her co-workers were released, they were not charged with any crime but were given notices to stay out of various parts of the West Bank for periods ranging from 15 to 180 days. The IOF soldiers did not give them copies of the documents.

Peak has instead decided to remain at the IWPS house in Hares, as the order to leave would have left it staffed by only a single international worker. IWPS Palestine ( is an international team based in Hares for three continuous years starting in August 2002.

The Hares project provides a working model for the development of a wider IWPS that will provide Peace Teams to actively serve in other areas where massive, violent, human rights abuses occur.

To contact Claire Peak or co-worker Angie Zelter at IWPS house Hares, call 972-9-2516-644; or mobile phone 972-55-376-204. Photos available through press contacts.

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Palestine - Press Release 15 - IWPS detainees.doc

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