'Activists try to disrupt security ops'

IDF says int’l group urged foreign members to ramp up activity in Israel.

February 9, 2010 01:02
1 minute read.
Palestinian and Israeli activists protest in Sheik

sheikh jarrah protest 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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Approximately 50 foreign nationals are currently residing in the West Bank and working together with Palestinian groups to disrupt and interfere with IDF operations, military sources said on Monday.

The High Court of Justice on Monday released two women from Spain and Australia who had been arrested in Ramallah for involvement in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Troops raided their apartment on Sunday on the grounds that the women had overstayed their tourist visa and were involved in violent anti-Israel protests.

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Overnight Monday, IDF troops raided the Ramallah offices of an organization called ‘Stop the Wall,’ which protests the construction of the West Bank security barrier. According to the organization, some 40 of its activists are currently being held by authorities. In January, another ISM activist from the Czech Republic was arrested in the West Bank and deported from Israel.

Defense officials confirmed that the IDF’s Central Command and Judea and Samaria Police, together with the Interior Ministry, have begun cracking down on foreigners engaged in violent anti-Israel activity in recent weeks.

“We do not have a problem with differences of opinions,” one officer said. “But we are forced to act when these activists and nationals participate in protests that are extremely violent and put peoples’ lives at risk.”

According to security officials, ISM has recently increased its activities against the construction of the security barrier and over the summer issued a call to its activists to come to Israel to participate in the protests.

According to the officials, the IDF has noted a growing presence of foreign nationals at the weekly demonstrations in Bil’in, Ni’lin and near the settlement of Neveh Tzuf (Halamish), where a top Palestinian government official was also spotted several weeks ago.

While the IDF is not concerned with the possibility of a third intifada “due to the tight grip it has on the Palestinian territory and the effective crackdown by PA security forces on Hamas infrastructure,” there is concern that the new wave of violence could flare up into a new conflict and undermine diplomatic efforts to restart negotiations.

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