The ongoing suppression of the Palestinian grassroots resistance has
included targeting international solidarity activists. Numerous
volunteers with the International Solidarity Movement have been
arrested or deported in past months.
A tactic of challenging the occupation and the Israeli authorities is
via legal measures.
As Israel’s crackdown on popular resistance escalates, International
Solidarity Movement activists are working on the ground to fight the
authorities’ attempts to arrest, imprison and deport us – all
strategies employed by Israel in their attempts at disconnecting us
from our role in the struggle against apartheid. Legal challenges are
an important battle field in non-violent resistance because often the
occupation is forced to change their policies when these are held up
The past six months have seen a surge in Israel’s crackdown on
Palestinian and international activists involved in the popular
resistance, marked by a wave of arrests targeting grassroots
organizers from the popular committees of Bil’in, Ni’lin, Al Masara
and Nablus and international activists involved in these regions’
struggles. Several ISM activists have been illegally abducted by
Israeli forces and continue to fight lengthy legal battles against the
Israeli state for these cases, in addition to the frequent arrests of
activists at the growing number of West Bank demonstrations that the
military has struggled in vain to crush.
American ISM activist Ryan Olander was arrested on December 18 in
Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem. He was then illegally re-arrested by
“Oz” immigration unit the following day, just moments after his
release. He spent 29 days in Ramle Givon detention center resisting
deportation before he was released. On June 3 the Israeli District
Court ruled in Olander’s favor, the precedent-setting ruling
articulating that the police and “Oz” immigration unit practices were
illegal. This victory paves the way for a legal grounding for future
activists (see: http://palsolidarity.org/2010/02/11278/).
Czech activist and ISM media co-ordinator Eva Novakova was kidnapped
by Oz forces in a night raid operation on her Ramallah apartment on
January 11. Australian activist and ISM international co-ordinator
Bridget Chappell and Spanish activist Araidna Jove Marti were abducted
by Israeli military forces in a similar night raid on the ISM media
office in Ramallah on February 7 (see: http://palsolidarity.org/2010/02/11224/).
All three activists pursued the issue in the Israeli Supreme Court,
bringing Israel’s repreated violation of the Oslo accords in to focus.
In the case of Chappell and Marti, the State Prosecutor was forced to
admit the their arrests had been outside the legal framework, with the
judge declaring their detention illegal.
These legal battles, taking the Israeli power structures on at their
own game, constitutes a form of “resistance” that has the potential to
set decisive precedents and alter Israeli policy, while at the same
time exposing the level of corroboration between various Israeli
departments in the occupation’s implementation.
This kind of legal work comes at a high price tag, we currently owe
around 18,000 NIS to our lawyers. The ISM is asking its supporters to
donate now to support the work of the ISM’s solidarity with the
Palestinian movement against apartheid. Activist groups may consider
throwing fund-raising events to raise money, and continue raising
awareness for the cause. You can donate online via Paypal (not through
AJ Muste), please see http://palsolidarity.org/donate for details.