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Soldiers Arrest ISM Coordinator and Journalist

ISM Arrest update / Press release / Israeli Army Chief of Staff on ISM

1) Arrest update

2) Press Release: Israeli Soldiers Arrest ISM Coordinator and Journalist

3) Israeli Army Chief of Staff interview about ISM transcript

1) Friends, Thank you to those of you who are making phone calls. Some of you have reported that the police station is claiming that Osama and Thomaso have been "released". Please note that Thomaso has only now 15:30GMT been released after having to sign a statement that he will not enter "Judea and Samaria" (West Bank) -- thereby ensuring that one more journalist will not be seeing what the Israeli military is doing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Osama is still being held and the Israeli authorities are being clear on what they plan to do with him. His charge is "photographing in a closed military zone." Please note that the Israeli military entered a Palestinian city and refugee camp. The Israeli military was in a civilian area. Osama and Thomaso were in a civilian area where soldiers were terrorizing the Palestinian population when they were snatched.

Please continue to direct your calls to the Ariel police station. As them why they are harassing and abusing peaceful people?

+972-3-906-5530 (Prisoner information) +972-3-903-5444 (General information) +972-50-374-237 (Ariel police spokesman)

Osama Qashoo - ID# 906848627

Some of you have asked about contacting Israeli embassies in your own countries. While we feel it will be most effective to keep the pressure on the Ariel police station right now, if you cannot make an international call, please do contact your local Israeli embassy - http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0czk0

With many thanks, ISM

2) Israeli Soldiers Arrest Ism Coordinator And Journalist

[Nur Shams Camp, TULKAREM] Israeli soldiers snatched a Palestinian ISM coordinator and an Italian journalist yesterday whilst they were trying to document and stop soldier abuse of Palestinian civilians, including the terrorization of a 15-year-old boy.

At a little before 7:00pm on Tuesday April 22, three ISM volunteers (1 Palestinian, one American and one Italian) and an Italian journalist were called to the scene of Israeli military harassment of Palestinian civilians in the Nur Shams refugee camp. A group of Palestinian women were being detained, a 4-year-old girl had been hit by an Israeli military vehicle and a 15-year-old boy was being held, had reportedly been beaten, and was being used as a human shield. The ISM witnessed Israeli soldiers using the young boy as a shield to walk in front of their guns, into an area of the camp. The two people with the cameras, ISM coordinator, Osama Qashoo and the Italian journalist, Thomaso Besavi were grabbed, thrown into a military vehicle and taken to an Israeli military base. They are currently being held at the police station in the illegal settlement of Ariel. Thomaso is being threate

Last week Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Lt.-General Moshe Yaalon stated that he had given orders to have ISM volunteers removed from the West Bank and Gaza, because we "limit [their] freedom of action." Israeli military "freedom of action" includes stranglehold sieges on the Palestinian civilian population and military operations that violate the sanctity of home and community and oppress, injure and kill Palestinian civilians in areas where the Israeli military has no sovereignty but are foreign occupiers. The only danger the ISM and journalists pose to the Israeli military is that they witness the human rights abuses and violations of international law perpetrated by Israeli soldiers against civilians and have shed some light on the brutality of the Israeli occupation that the Israeli military and government would prefer the world did not see.

END

3) Galei Tzahal (Israeli Military Radio) Transcript of an excerpt from the program Open line with the Chief of Staff

On Passover Eve, April 16, 2003 at 08:00, the program Open Line with the Chief of Staff was broadcasted, during which Lt.-General Moshe Yaalon spoke with soldiers and commanders about current events. The Chief of Staff addressed questions by the programs presenter, Dalik Vilenitz, about the activists from a human rights organization (ISM) in the Palestinian territories:

Dalik Vilenitz: One of the conclusions from the whole course of the intifada, and were seeing it now in the war in Iraq, is the question of the IDFs image. The IDF is currently facing problems, one of which is the overseas volunteers. Im talking about the ISM organization, whose people are in the territories, on the combat line. Some of them have been injured, which has led to strong shock-waves throughout the world. How is the IDF coping with this matter?

Chief of Staff: First of all, you said intifada. Intifada, this is the Palestinian story. I claim that this isnt an intifada, because an intifada is a peoples uprising, while here what we have experienced since September 2000 is a proactive attack and a strategic decision by the current Palestinian decision-maker, who took a decision to embark on a terror assault against us. And this is connected to that organization, ISM, an organization with volunteer activists from all over the world, who prepare their peace activists, and they came here after accepting the Palestinian story. Ostensibly, as they see it, we are the aggressors and they are the victims. In factual terms, the ones who started this aggression are the Palestinians. Thos who initiated the incidents in Rafiah, in a place where unfortunately two of those activists were wounded, were the Palestinians. An American woman activist was killed there by an IDF bulldozer which did not see her and a British activist was wounded in the head, apparently by our forces, although we are unable to authenticate this conclusively, who entered an area where a terrorist was standing and firing at our forces. One of our snipers fired towards the terrorist who was shooting at him, in an area where we have responsibility under all the Israeli-Egyptian agreements. There are incessant terror operations there, stemming from the Palestinian terror organizations need to smuggle weaponry from Egypt into the Palestinian-held area, and they now find it hard because of our operations there.

And all of a sudden these activists appear in the area. On the face of it, they are protecting the Palestinians from us. First of all, they create the negative image we have, because it certainly strengthens the Palestinian story, which according to my understanding is fabricated in this context. And as a result of this, they also impede the operations of our forces. As for the bulldozer story, the bulldozer was being used in an operation intended to flatten the ground so the terrorists would not be able to approach the axis of our action on the Israel-Egypt border. It did not see the activist, who was standing in a dead zone in terms of vision, and she was killed.

Their spokesperson says about this that the bulldozer was supposed to destroy a house and that she was protecting the house "a lie". Their spokesperson reported that the bulldozer drove back and forth over the body, we saw the body, regrettably she was killed, and no such thing happened. We also encountered an incident in Jenin some time ago, during operations to arrest an armed terrorist, and he was in the office of that organization.

I have just given an order to remove the organization's activists from the area, firstly for their own benefit - they are endangering their own lives in a superfluous way - but are also creating provocations that injure our freedom of action on the ground. And so its advisable that they get out of the area.


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