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News ::
International Solidarity Movement: Seeking Volunteer Activists
16 Aug 2001
The International Solidarity Movement is looking for
activists that are willing to participate in a human
shield activity to protect civilian homes in Beit
Jalla. Following recently heightened military activity
in the area and IDF actions that indicate intent to
conquer Beit Jalla in the very near future, the
International Solidarity Movement (ISM) has decided to
continue its human shield campaign in Beit Jalla on an
on-call, emergency basis.
The International Solidarity Movement is looking for
activists that are willing to participate in a human
shield activity to protect civilian homes in Beit
Jalla. Following recently heightened military activity
in the area and IDF actions that indicate intent to
conquer Beit Jalla in the very near future, the
International Solidarity Movement (ISM) has decided to
continue its human shield campaign in Beit Jalla on an
on-call, emergency basis.
Several weeks ago the ISM announced a week-long
campaign in Beit Jalla in which activists will move
into civilian houses that get shelled on a regular
basis. The mission of the action was to protect the
civilian population on the premise that the IDF was
less likely to shoot at houses populated by
international and Israeli activists, to raise
international attention to the situation in Beit
Jalla, and to thus strengthen the call for an
internationally-represented protection force in the
region. As the situation in Beit Jalla shows, an
exchange of fire between various Palestinian armed
forces and the IDF is a frequent occurrence, and one
that is generally initiated by the Palestinians
towards the settlement of Gilo in retaliation of a
certain IDF action. Unfortunately, IDF response is not
only disproportionate but also negligent. Rather than
targeting individuals or houses from which the source
of fire is coming from, the IDF aims at entire
sections and even neighborhoods, to the point of
putting the entire population of Beit Jalla - who is
not only largely innocent but also defenseless - at
eminant danger.
The action was successful in that it received
international coverage, thus exposing the
international community to the occurrences in Beit
Jalla. Additionally, in a statement released to
Haaretz newspaper, an IDF spokesperson announced that
the IDF was aware of the activist presence and was at
least attempting not to shoot at houses in which the
activists were staying. This shows that it is within
the IDF's power to locate the source of fire and
target it without aiming at the rest of the population
if it choosed to do so. The ISM would like to express
regret that the IDF is only willing to make that
consideration when it involves the lives of
internationals and Israelis, and not when it involves
the indigenous population. For this reason, we see it
not only useful but important to continue with the
action.
A list in now being compiled of people that are
willing to put themselves on-call should an emergency
situation that will require their presence arise.
Activists should be attentive to the following items:
h Their presence is coordinated with and welcomed by
the community of Beit Jalla.
h The community will do everything it can to protect
the wellbeing of activists, to the best of its
ability. Activists will only stay in houses that have
a protected room and will only travel in periods of
cease-fire. However, participants must realize the
amount of inherent danger. This action is not meant
for the faint of heart or for those with small
children waiting at home.
h Activists must beware that our mission is to
protect innocent people, and this is done simply by
being present. For this reason, it is a given that
activists will only stay in houses from which there is
no shooting. It's important to note that it isn't our
job to intervene or even be involved with the
non-peaceful parties.

People who would like to participate in this action
but cannot be present in Beit Jalla are also needed.
We are looking for people who can make themselves
available to make phone calls and send faxes when an
emergency situation arises - this may be at rather
incovenient times of day or night. Finally, those who
would like to support this action but cannot
contribute in the aforementioned ways can send us
donations to cover the transportation costs of our
activists. Transportation costs vary from 26 NIS to 70
NIS per round trip per person, depending on the part
of the region the person is coming from and travel
conditions. Donations can be made into our bank
account, which is Bank Hapoalim branch 611 account
39958, or mailed in care of Liad Kantorowicz to:
Sderot Yerushalayim 75, Yaffo, 68180, Israel.
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