Home | Friday 21st November 2008 | Issue 656
SO SOLIDARITY CREW
Three activists with the International Solidarity Movement are beginning a hunger strike in Ben Gurion detention centre, after they were seized by the Israeli navy in Palestinian waters.
The three activists, together with fourteen Palestinian fishermen were seized when their boats were impounded off the coast of Gaza on 18th November. The internationals were accompanying the fishermen with the aim to prevent the routine harassment of fishing boats at the hands of the Israeli navy (see SchNEWS 653). The Human Rights Observers are Andrew Muncie from Scotland, Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian citizen, and Darlene Wallach, an American citizen.
According to Wallach, “We were fishing about seven miles off the shores of Gaza. The Israeli soldiers came on board the three boats via four Zodiacs. The frogmen came up and over each boat. They used a taser on Vik while he was still on the boat, then tried to push him backwards onto a sharp piece of wood. He jumped into the sea to avoid being hurt more than he already was and was in the water for quite a while. Then they came for me and forced me into the Zodiac at the point of a gun. They kidnapped me and Andrew and Vik and all of the Palestinian fishermen.”. The fishermen and the human rights observers were then transferred to Israeli warships at gunpoint. Other Palestinian fishermen reported that the 3 boats were taken north by the Israeli Navy.
Eventually the fishermen were released but their boats remain impounded.
The activists have had deportation orders served against them. However under the Isaraeli system they have the right of appeal. At court yesterday (20th), Andrew Muncie asked the judge under what law they had been arrested. According to the judge, their detention was authorized by the Oslo Accords “because it is forbidden by military law for you to fish seven and a half miles off the coast. It is a no-fishing zone.”
However, the Oslo accords grant Palestinians the right to fish 20 miles off their own coast. When Andrew’s attorney handed a copy of that portion of the Oslo accords to the judge, she had no comment.
* For more see: www.freegaza.org
....Meanwhile in the UK a lecture by Israeli President Shimon Peres was delayed by a noisy protest on Tuesday (18th). The lecture entitled ‘Globalisation of Peace’, organised by the Balliol College, was held at Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford where the president was met by at over 100 protesters shouting ‘Occupation is a crime/Free, free Palestine’