ISM Update of 7 March 2003: Susan Barclay
ISM Update of 7 March 2003: Susan Barclay
Susan Barclay: Interior Ministry Presents Case for Re-Arrest
Today in Haifa the Ministry of the Interior presented its case for the re-arrest of American ISM activist, Susan Barclay, who was arrested on Thursday 20 February at Howarra Military Checkpoint and detained for a week before a failed deportation attempt on the morning of February 28.
Yesterday the Ministry of the Interior tried twice to have Susan arrested in hearings in Jerusalem and Hadera but failed because the judges ruled that they did not have the authority to hear the case. The second of the hearings, which took place between 6 and 9 pm last night, was attended by Mr. Hertzel Gedj, the second most senior civil servant in the Interior Ministry.
"We must educate her," Susan's lawyer heard Mr. Hertzel say when explaining to Interior Ministry lawyers the reasons for seeking her arrest.
In a memorandum presented to the court today, the Ministry of the Interior argued that Susan represented a threat to the security of Israel for the following reasons: 1.. The Security Forces have information that, while she was in the Occupied Territories, she was involved in demonstrations against IDF soldiers and also provocations. 2.. It is also known that she stayed in the houses of suicide bombers who committed terrorist acts as a sign of solidarity and she has ties with Palestinians suspected of terrorism. 3.. It is also known that she has been collecting information on an Israeli Officer. While in Nablus Susan was involved in several demonstrations against human rights violations committed by the Israeli Army against the Palestinian population of Nablus and its surrounding villages. In all of these demonstrations Susan and her fellow ISM activists did not display any verbal or physical violence towards the soldiers of the occupying Israeli army. It is not clear what the Interior Ministry means by "provocations". While it is certainly the case that several of these demonstrations provoked violent reactions from Israeli soldiers, including threats, tear gas, sound bombs, kicking, live ammunition being fired over the heads and at the ground in front of the demonstrators and Palestinian members of the ISM members of the ISM being snatched from the crowd for punishment, it was never the intention of the ISM to provoke such violence.
Susan and other ISM activists routinely stay in the homes of families of late suicide bombers as they stay in the homes of others whose houses the Israeli Army have earmarked for demolition, either as part of its policy of collective punishment or because it sees fit to destroy the building for other reasons (making room for settlement expansion or settler roads, creating clear fields of fire into civilian areas or making room for the "Apartheid Wall" Israel is currently building have all been cited as justification for such demolitions). In cases where they stay in the family homes of suicide bombers, they do not do so in solidarity with the suicide bombers (who are already dead) but to protest the policies of collective punishment of innocent people (including women and children) who are being woken in the middle of the night, forced from their houses at gunpoint and made homeles
The Israeli Officer on which Susan and other ISM activists have been collecting information is Ariel Ze'ev, a self confessed sadist who has boasted to them that he is not human and enjoys making people suffer. ISM activists monitoring Azmut checkpoint have seen him and the soldiers under his command terrorise people traveling between Nablus and the villages of Salem, Deir Hatib and Azmut on numerous occasions. Frequently, they have witnessed beatings of travelers, including of women and the elderly, the detention of the sick and infirm at the checkpoint for hours at a time, guns being pointed at children, parents being assaulted and humiliated in front of their children and groups of men being taken to undisclosed locations by Ariel and his men.
A hearing will be scheduled on Sunday or Monday in Haifa to hear the case for her re-arrest. While Susan could avoid the prospect of re-arrest by leaving the country, she is resolved to attend the hearing and defend herself against the accusations made against her. Currently, thousands of Palestinians are serving sentences in administrative detention without trial on the grounds that they are a threat to Israel's security. In such instances the cases against the prisoners are held on secret files to which the public has no access.
Because Susan is not a Palestinian, she is not subject to such arbitrary persecution and so the State of Israel must make public the grounds upon which they claim that she is a threat to national security.