ACTIVISTS TOLD THEY ARE UNDER ARREST, BUT NO FORMAL CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST THEM
The Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) has formally announced its intention to forcibly deport Alice Coy and Nicholas Durie (UK) after detaining the two for 20 hours at Erez Checkpoint at the border of Gaza Strip. Coy and Durie currently have no formal connection with ISM but have worked in Rafah for several months.
At around 9:00 PM, the two arrived at Erez Checkpoint, intending to visit Rafah for a week to see friends before returning home. At 1:30 AM this morning, Coy informed ISM Rafah that Durie had been under questioning for three hours. Coy herself resisted questioning. When Coy called at 1:30 AM, police had just arrived at Erez.
The presence of police indicates impending arrest since the Israeli military can detain but not arrest people and must turn them over to the police if they wish to formally arrest them. In the end, the purpose of the police appeared to be limited to emotional pressure. The activists have been told they are under arrest but believe this to be untrue as no formal charges have been brought against them and as there are no grounds for legal action against them.
From 1:30 AM 4:30 PM today, their phones were confiscated, giving them no means of contacting friends, activists, or lawyers. Shortly before their detention, Coy called the British Embassy to inform them of their situation.
This is the most extreme example of the increasing restrictions at Erez Checkpoint directed at ISM and all internationals wishing to enter the Gaza Strip. For the past week, visitors have been experiencing abnormally long waits of up to 7 hours while attempting to cross both in and out of the Gaza Strip. Some have been interrogated. In addition, all people entering the Gaza Strip are now required to sign a document stating their lack of involvement with ISM and waiving the IOF’s responsibility for their physical safety.
The intentions of the Army seem clear: to rid the Gaza Strip of internationals so as to continue their bloody agenda unchecked. Some speculate that the IOF is preparing for a campaign of even more extreme measures against Gaza residents and hopes to clear the area of international eyes.
ISM Rafah is now more than ever committed to remaining on the ground, as international presence there is now more necessary than ever.
For more information, contact Laura at 054-635-622.