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CPT member facing deportation+2 women went to war

ISM: CPT member facing deportation / Why two women went to war

1) Action Alert - CPT member facing deportation 2) Why two women went to war (Rachel Corrie & Private Jessica Lynch)_Naomi Klein

1) ACTION ALERT! Crackdown on the Christian Peacemaking Team in Hebron CPT member Greg Rollins facing deportation

A week after the raid on the ISM office in Beit Sahour, the army is targeting also the CPT (Christian Peacemakers Teams) - composed of North American and British religious pacifists, who have been based for much of the past decade at Hebron.

At 8:20pm on Tuesday, May 20, a group of eight soldiers entered the CPT apartments in the Old City of Hebron, for the second consecutive search in as many days. Soldiers looked at the passports and visas of the CPTers present, took photographs of the apartment and the CPTers themselves and examined the maps and pictures on the wall along with the contents of the filing cabinet.

CPTer Greg Rollins (a Canadian of Surrey, BC) was arrested on Sunday, May 18 when monitoring the detention of several Hebronites at the Beit Hadassa checkpoint, taken to prison and threatened with immediate deportation. The following alert is from the CPT. Please take action.


Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 03:30:16 -0000 From: "Christian Peacemaker Teams" CPTNet May 21, 2003

HEBRON: Urgent Action and Update Christian Peacemaker Teams member, Greg Rollins (Surrey, BC), remains in a holding cell near Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. So far the Israeli High Court has not ruled on the request for an injunction to block Rollins' deportation. The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz today quoted Israeli immigration spokeswoman Orit Friedman, saying, "[Rollins] is in our custody in the Ma'asiyahu prison and he will probably be flown out tomorrow."

IMMEDIATE ACTION: PLEASE E-MAIL, PHONE OR FAX ISRAELI MINISTER OF INTERIOR AVRAHAM PORAZ to express your concerns about the impending deportation of Greg Rollins and other peacemakers. Talking Points: Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams are committed to confronting all violence. We work to reduce violence through our physical presence. Rollins and other CPTers accompany Palestinian school children who must cross settler-controlled streets to get to school. Rollins himself has also stood and talked with Israeli soldiers to deter Palestinian youth from throwing stones at them. He also worked with a member of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron [TIPH] to calm a Palestinian woman attempting to attack two Israeli soldiers with a knife.

Contact Info: Interior Minister Avraham Poraz Phone 011-972-2-670-1400 (remember 7-10 hour time difference) Fax (from North America) 011-972-2-566-6376

The following sample letter was provided by Gush-Shalom. Please either use a version of this or compose your own.

Dear Sir I strongly protest the Government of Israel's crackdown on international peace activists in the Occupied Territories, and specifically the severe restrictions placed this week upon the humanitarian activities of the Christian Peacemakers Team in Hebron and the threatened deportation of CPT member Greg Rollins, a Canadian citizen - following upon the earlier attack upon the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The continued presence of international activists, committed to peace and non-violence, is beneficial to all including Israel. Their forcible removal, or severe restrictions placed upon their movements, may arouse the suspicion that your government and armed forces have something to hide from the world.

To learn more about the CPT, look in at and

2) Why two women went to war By NAOMI KLEIN, UPDATED AT 5:02 AM EDT Wednesday, May. 21, 2003, Toronto Globe and Mail

Jessica Lynch and Rachel Corrie could have passed for sisters. Two all-American blondes, two destinies forever changed in a Middle East war zone. Private Jessica Lynch, the soldier, was born in Palestine, W.Va. Rachel Corrie, the activist, died in Israeli-occupied Palestine. Ms. Corrie was four years older than 19-year-old Pte. Lynch. Her body was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza seven days before Pte. Lynch was taken into Iraqi custody, on March 23.

Before she went to Iraq, Pte. Lynch organized a pen pal program with a local kindergarten. Before Ms. Corrie left for Gaza, she organized a pen pal program between kids in her hometown of Olympia, Wash., and children in Rafah.

Pte. Lynch went to Iraq as a soldier loyal to her government. Ms. Corrie went to Gaza to oppose the actions of her government. As a U.S. citizen, she believed she had a special responsibility to defend Palestinians against U.S.-built weapons, purchased with U.S. aid to Israel. In letters home, she described how fresh water was being diverted from Gaza to Israeli settlements, and how death was more normal than life.

Unlike Pte. Lynch, Ms. Corrie did not set out to engage in combat; she went to try to thwart it. Along with fellow members of the International Solidarity Movement, she believed that the Israeli military's incursions could be slowed by the presence of highly visible "internationals," that Israel would not want the diplomatic or media scandals that would result if it started shooting U.S. and British college students.

In a way, Ms. Corrie was harnessing the very thing she disliked most about her country -- the belief that American lives are worth more than any others -- and trying to use it to save a few Palestinian homes from demolition.

Believing her florescent orange jacket would serve as armour, that her bullhorn could repel bullets, she stood in front of bulldozers, slept beside wells, and escorted children to school. If suicide bombers turn their bodies into weapons of death, Ms. Corrie turned hers into a weapon of life, a "human shield."

When that Israeli bulldozer driver pressed the accelerator, her strategy failed. It turns out that the lives of some U.S. citizens -- even beautiful,young, white women -- are valued more than others. And nothing demonstrates this more starkly than the opposing responses to Ms. Corrie and Pte. Lynch.

When the Pentagon announced Pte. Lynch's rescue, she became an overnight hero, complete with "America loves Jessica" fridge magnets, stickers, T-shirts, mugs, country songs and a made-for-TV movie. According to White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, President George W. Bush was "full of joy for Jessica Lynch." Her rescue, we were told, was a testament to a core American value. As Senator Jay Rockefeller said, "We take care of our people."

Do they? Ms. Corrie's death was met with almost total official silence, despite the fact that witnesses claim it was a deliberate act. Mr. Bush has said nothing about a U.S. citizen being killed by a U.S.-made bulldozer bought with U.S. tax dollars. A congressional resolution demanding an independent inquiry into Ms. Corrie's death has been buried in committee, leaving the Israeli military's investigation -- which conveniently cleared itself of any wrongdoing -- as the only official probe.

The ISM activists say this non-response sent a dangerous signal. According to Olivia Jackson, a 25-year-old British citizen still in Rafah, the Israel military "waited for the response from the American government, and the response was pathetic. They have realized that they can get away with it, and it has encouraged them to keep on going."

On April 5, Brian Avery, a U.S. citizen, was shot in the face. On April 11, Tom Hurndall, a British ISM activist, was shot in the head and left brain dead. Next was James Miller, a British cameraman shot dead while wearing a vest that read "TV." Witnesses said the shooters in all three cases were Israeli soldiers. There is something else Pte. Lynch and Ms. Corrie have in common: the military's distortion of their stories.

According to the Pentagon, Pte. Lynch was captured in a bloody gun battle, mistreated by sadistic Iraqi doctors, then rescued in another storm of bullets by heroic Navy SEALs. But another version has emerged: The Iraqi doctors who treated her found no evidence of battle wounds, and they donateed their own blood to save her life. And witnesses have told the BBC that the SEALs already knew there were no Iraqi fighters in the area.

While Pte. Lynch's story has been distorted to make its protagonists appear more heroic, Ms. Corrie's has been twisted to make her and her fellow ISM activists appear sinister.

For months, the Israeli military had been looking for an excuse to get rid of the ISM "troublemakers." It found it in Asif Mohammed Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, the two British suicide bombers. It turns out they had attended a memorial to Ms. Corrie in Rafah, a fact the Israeli military has seized on to link the ISM to terrorism. ISM members say that the memorial was open to the public, and that they knew nothing of the British visitors' intentions. The ISM says it is opposed to the targeting of civilians, whether by Israeli bulldozers or Palestinian bombers. And many ISMers believe their work can reduce terrorist incidents by demonstrating that there are ways to resist occupation other than the nihilistic revenge offered by suicide bombing.

No matter. In the past two weeks, half a dozen ISM activists have been arrested, several have been deported, and the organization's offices have been raided. The crackdown is now spreading to all "internationals." On Monday, the United Nations special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process told the Security Council that dozens of UN aid workers had been prevented from getting in and out of Gaza.

On June 5, the 36th anniversary of the Israeli occupation, there will be an internationally co-ordinated day of action for Palestinian rights. One of the key demands is for the UN to send a monitoring force into the occupied territories. Until that happens, many activists are determined to continue Ms. Corrie's work. More than 40 students at Ms. Corrie's college, Evergreen State in Olympia, have already signed up to go to Gaza with the ISM this summer.

So who is a hero? During the war on Iraq, some of Ms. Corrie's friends e-mailed her picture to MSNBC asking that it be included on the station's "wall of heroes," along with Pte. Lynch. The station didn't comply, but Ms. Corrie is being honoured in other ways. Her family has received more than 10,000 letters of support, communities across the country have organized dozens of memorials, and children all over the occupied territories are being named Rachel. It's not a made-for-TV kind of tribute, but perhaps that's for the best.

Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo and Fences and Windows.

© Scoop Media

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