The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led movement of Palestinian and International activists working to raise awareness for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation.
On 14 Feb 02 ISM faced two almost simultaneous crises in Rafah and Nablus. The first incident involved peace activists trying to stop the bulldozing of several Palestinian homes in Rafah. The activists were fired at with warning shots and engaged in a stand-off with a tank, which was also in the area. IMS contacted the US Consulate to inform them of the presence of its nationals at risk. However it was the first time a consulate has stated explicitly that it will take no responsibility whatsoever for the welfare of its nationals performing peace work in the Occupied Territories. The activists were forced to retreat to safety, the homes were destroyed.
Elsewhere 12 ISM activists were trying to deliver chocolates to detained families in East Nablus. As the activists approached the house they were confronted by Israeli soldiers who seized Hussein Khalili, a Palestinian member of the ISM, before firing warning shots at the rest. Khalil was threatened with detainment, very roughly treated and verbally abused. When a brave attempt to intervene by an Israeli ISM activist failed, the combined efforts of ISM Media Centre, the Hamoked and Gush Shalom human rights organisations, were able to alert global support to Hussein's plight and issued an appeal to phone the District Coordination Office of the Israeli Army in the Nablus area to demand Hussein's immediate release. Several hours later he was released, calls continued to flow in till the early hours.
ISM activists have come under increasing pressure from the Israeli Occupying Forces in an effort to intimidate them. It is testament to the desire of Palestinian, Israeli and internationals to work together for peace in the Middle East, that ISM volunteers continue their amazing work. Read full report.