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Five ISM Volunteers Snatched By Israeli Soldiers


Five ISM Volunteers Snatched By Israeli Soldiers


[AWARTA, Nablus] Five international ISM volunteers were snatched by the Israeli military at approximately 1230 hrs local time, while harvesting olives with Palestinian farmers in the village of Awarta, near Nablus. Two US citizens, one Briton, once Swede and one Irish national were standing on the side of the road, providing accompaniment to Palestinian farmers trying to harvest olives on their land despite the ban on Palestinian movement by the Israeli military, when they were taken.

The entire West Bank has been under lockdown since Wednesday, October 7, 2003 with no Palestinian vehicles allowed anywhere on main roads, gates to farmlands through the separation fence completely closed, and Palestinians not allowed outside their towns and villages. This lockdown is expected to remain in place until October 22, 2003. The siege was imposed less than two days after a complete closure, imposed on the Palestinian community while Jews celebrated Yom Kippur, was lifted. Despite this and persistent denial to Palestinians of access to their land, Palestinian farmers are determined to resist by making it to their fields.

On Wednesday, October 8, Palestinian farmers in Jayyous broke through the gates locking them out of their land to pour into their olive groves. International and Israeli civilians accompanied them and will continue to accompany farmers throughout the West Bank in their simple act of resistance. In some areas, the ISM is delivering food through barbed wire, gates and fences, to farmers sleeping out on their land. Meanwhile Gaza is completely closed to international witnesses as the Israeli military invades, bombs, demolishes and kills.

At the time of this writing the internationals have been released. The Israeli military has declared the olive groves of Awarta, a closed military zone.

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