[ISM Media Office — Bethlehem, Palestine] The International Solidarity Movement supports non-violent resistance to the illegal and brutal occupation of Palestine. Palestinians have long been at risk of death, imprisonment and torture when they engage in acts of peaceful resistance. When internationals are present, that risk is somewhat reduced. But now the Israeli army is targeting international peace activists as well, violating international law and attempting to suppress all means of protest in the occupied territories.
On April 30, 2003 a suicide bomber and an accomplice tried to enter “Mike’s Place” bar in Tel Aviv. One murdered three people in addition to killing himself. The other escaped. They both held British passports. These activities are in complete contradiction to the purpose and commitment of ISM to non-violent resistance.
There have been media reports trying to connect these two men to ISM. There is no connection. They never tried to infiltrate ISM. They never contacted the ISM. They could have attended a memorial service for Rachel Corrie in Rafah that was open to anybody. As far as we know, the reports of them attending a demonstration sponsored by ISM are wrong. However, that too would have been open to the public.
As a policy, ISM requires two days of training for all of its activists. This functions as a screening in addition to training in non-violent peaceful resistance and orientation to the ISM guidelines. All of our groups function by consensus. This process discourages any individuals from acting impulsively. We know our activists, and none have engaged in or have been accused of engaging in, any aggressive, confrontational, or illegal activity.
General Yaalon of the Israeli Army gave an order on the eve of the Jewish festival of Passover to remove ISM from the West Bank and Gaza. This order long preceded the bombing in Tel Aviv. The Israeli army wants us to leave because we are providing witness to the atrocities committed by the Israeli army. Israel and the United States have gone to great lengths to ensure that no international observers would be sent to Palestine by The United Nations or any other objective international organization. ISM activists have come to provide witness to the cruelty, the brutality and the truth about this occupation and its purpose.
International Solidarity Movement
Beit Sahour, Occupied Palestine