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"Israeli measures to silence the voices of truth"

The PA condemns "Israeli measures to silence the voices of truth"

Anna Nillson from Sweden and Anna Lenna Di Govani from Italy are the latest in a growing number of human rights volunteers that Israel has denied entrance to as a way of preventing them from entering the West Bank and Gaza.

The Palestinian Government issued a statement yesterday "Condemning Israeli occupation measures which aim to silence the voices of truth".

According to the Palestinian Minister of State, Quaddura Faris, "The Israeli government is trying to cover up its crimes against the Palestinian land and people, especially those crimes relating to the settlement project known as the Wall. They are doing this by following, arresting, and deporting members of international solidarity movements. The Israeli government is afraid that these people explain Israeli policies and reveal Israeli crimes to the public in their countries. The Palestinian government appreciates the position of all who stand in solidarity with legitimate Palestinian rights."

Anna joined other internationals including Israelis, and Palestinians in a three week march last summer along the route of the Israeli Apartheid wall. The Freedom March was part of a campaign organized by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) a Palestinian led organization supporting nonviolent resistance to the Israeli Occupation. Yesterday she attempted to reenter the country only to discover that she had been added to Israel's Kafkaesque blacklist of people considered "security threats" by the state of Israel. Anna was denied entry and sent to Ethiopia. ISM has documented over one hundred such cases since April of 2002.

Pat O'Conner an ISM volunteer who is currently awaiting deportation in Maasiyahu Prison explains: "Israel denies access to the occupied territories to any international visitor who they feel takes a position in solidarity with the Palestinian people while internationals coming to support the settlers are welcomed".

O'Connor was arrested on January 24 by Israeli security agents after planting olive seedlings in the village of Biddu with Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights supporters. During the arrest, the security agents claimed that he was carrying a false Irish passport. However, the Irish embassy has confirmed the validity of O'Connor's passport. Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority has issued a letter acknowledging Mr. O'Connor's human rights work and inviting O'Connor to remain in the Occupied Palestine Territories. Still, Israel is deporting him.

Israeli attorney Gaby Lasky states "that "Israel conveniently turns humanitarian activists into security threats with the cynical use of 'security considerations'." She is demanding that Israel declassify the blacklist and publish the criteria determining who should be denied entry.


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