Israel to deport eight ISM activists

Peace activists holding up victory signs in court (Photo: ISM)

Today Tel Aviv District Court Judge Nissim Yeshaya upheld the deportation orders of eight International Peace activists who were working with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Of the eight activists, Tobias Karlsson (Sweden), Tarek Loubani (Canada), Fredrick Lind (Denmark), Bill Capowski (USA), Daniel Knutsson (Sweden), Alex Perry (UK), Saul Reid (UK) and Thomas Pellas (France) were arrested on July 9 while at a camp on Palestinian land in the village of Arrabony near Jenin slated to be confiscated by Israel for the building of the separation wall, and four on July 10 while helping to remove roadblocks near the city of Nablus calling attention to the restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement under the occupation. They were subsequently issued deportation orders by the Ministry of the Interior.

The Israeli military has claimed that the ISM and all peace activists are a security threat and the lawyer for the state used this as the argument for why the activists should be deported. No evidence as to the illegality of the defendants’ actions was presented.

Signed affidavits that the presence and work of ISM is important were submitted by prominent Israeli organizations and individuals such as Bat Shalom, MK Yossi Sarid and several Israeli professors. The judge sided with the state lawyers saying that under Israeli law the Ministry of the Interior has unlimited power to deport and revoke visas of internationals.

The policy of punishing international peace activists without any evidence other than labeling them a security threat is an expansion of Israel’s policy of using administrative detention to punish Palestinians the military labels a security threat. Currently there are over 1,000 Palestinians being held in administrative detention after having secret evidence used against them. Administrative detention is an indefinitely renewable six months of captivity. Many Palestinians have now been held in detention for years without any charge or knowledge of when they might be released.

After the ruling, a lawyer for the eight defendants requested a one- week stay on the deportations to allow time to file an appeal. The request was denied. Two Israeli citizens were also arrested with one of the groups of activists. Both were released without charge. Some of the activists reported being kicked and otherwise abused while interrogated after the arrests and at least one was severely beaten after they stopped eating in protest two days ago.

For more information please contact: Huwaida: +972-67-473308 ISM Media Office: +972-2-2774602