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Israel Barrs Canadian Activist & Journalist

Canadian Solidarity Activist And Journalist Barred From Israel

Sympathy With Palestinians Constitutes A "Security Threat"

A Montreal-based solidarity activist and alternative journalist was barred from entering Israel this past Saturday. Stefan Christoff, who is a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and a media activist, attempted to cross into Israel from Jordan.

Border officials held Stefan for several hours, where he was interrogated and thoroughly searched before finally being barred entry. Stefan was unilaterally deemed a "security threat" to Israel; no proof or explanation was provided. Border guards threatened to remove Stefan by force if he did not return to Jordan.

Stefan has been very active with Palestinian solidarity issues in Montreal, raising awareness as a radio journalist and a member of the ISM. Stefan's reports have been broadcast widely on community and alternative radio outlets all over North America. He is a producer and host at CKUT Radio in Montreal as well as a correspondent for Free Speech Radio News in the United States.

Clearly, Stefan's only threat is that he is sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, and that he was attempting to witness and report first-hand the day-to-day reality of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Stefan's refusal is part of the Israeli practice of systematically targeting Palestinian solidarity activists and alternative journalists. Israeli authorities have attempted to bar many from ever entering the country, while others are targeted for arrest for their work as observers and participants at non-violent actions against the illegal Israeli occupation. In one case, the Israeli Army murdered an ISM activist (Rachel Corrie), while another activist still lies in a coma as a result of an Israeli sniper bullet to the head (Tom Hurndall).

Canadian ISM members have previously challenged the "security threat" designation in Israeli courts when they were in Israel, and have won favorable decisions. With his forced removal from the Israeli-Jordanian border, Stefan cannot effectively challenge his barring.

The systematic barring of Palestinian sympathizers continues the Israeli policy of isolating Palestinians from the rest of the world. Individuals seeking to visit the Palestinian people have no other access except through Israel, as Israel controls all entrance and exit to and from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Canadian authorities are complicit in this process by not assertively defending Canadian nationals who are arbitrarily barred from Israel or forcibly removed. Moreover, based on previous cases, it is clear that information about non-violent activists in Canada is being passed on to the Israeli authorities.

ISM Montreal strongly encourages you to contact both Canadian and Israeli authorities to assertively and politely express your disapproval of the treatment of Palestinian solidarity activists, and in particular, Stefan Christoff. Always, please also denounce the context in which the barring of foreign activists occurs: the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel, and the courageous refusal of Palestinians to cede their right to self-determination.

--> Please phone, e-mail and fax the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Israeli Embassy to complain about the systematic barring of Palestinian solidarity activists and alternative journalists by Israel, and to denounce the continued occupation of Palestine by Israel.

* Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAIT) at: 613-944-6788, or toll free (from within Canada only) at 1-800-267-6788.

* Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv (www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/telaviv) Telephone : +011-972-3-636-3300 Fax : +011-972-3-636-3383 E-mail : taviv@dfait-maeci.gc.ca

* Israeli Embassy in Canada: 50 O'Connor Street, Suite 1005, Ottawa Ontario KlP 6L2 Tel: (613) 567-6450 Fax: (613) 237-8865 E-mail: embisrott@cyberus.ca

Please send copies of your correspondence to ism-montreal@resist.ca

More information about the International Solidarity Movement is available at: http://www.palsolidarity.org or http://www.ismcanada.org

To stay in touch about the activities of ISM Montreal, please e-mail ism-montreal@resist.ca or phone 514-781-2800.

The International Solidarity Movement is a Palestinian-led movement of Palestinian and International activists working to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation. The ISM utilizes nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge illegal Israeli occupation forces and policies.

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