Amir Ben David, Ma’ariv, 22 June 2006
[Editor — The following article was published by the Israeli daily Ma’ariv on 22 June 2006, indicating a formalized policy of expelling witnesses to Israel’s practices in the occupied West Bank]
Israel is preparing to prevent the “Summer of Peace” event planned by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a pro-Palestinian group operating in the territories on behalf of the Palestinians. Israeli security forces will try to prevent extreme left-wing activists from getting to the events planned near the village of Bilan and in Tel Rumeida.
The police are preparing to prevent entry of members of the ISM and to expel those who manage to get in. European and American members of the group have been active in opposition to the separation fence, were holed up in the mukataa when Arafat was besieged there by the Israeli army, and were inside the Church of the Nativity which armed Palestinians had broken into as they fled from the Israelis. They have also stayed with wanted Palestinians in an attempt to protect them.
The police, the Immigration Administration and the Passport Control police are preparing to identify the activists, who – experience shows – sometimes arrive alone and reach the territories by their own efforts. According to the plan, the IDF will declare the Judea and Samaria [Note: i.e., the West Bank and Gaza] closed to foreign nationals. Denying entry to the activists has been defined as prevention of political subversion and involvement of members of the movement in acts of terrorism, and limitation of friction with Jewish settlers.
All the activists who arrive at entry points will be questioned about their intentions. Those who arouse suspicion will be handed over to the Immigration Administration, who will treat them like foreign workers destined for deportation. This means that the activists will be detained in custody, they will be granted a hearing and they will be expelled. The names of all the activists known to the police have been fed into the computers at the entry points so that they can be identified as soon as they arrive.