Israeli Leftist arrested for entering Gaza Strip

Jeff Halper arrived in Strip with Free Gaza Movement activists on 2 boats aimed at "breaking the siege."

Israeli pro-Palestinian activist Jeff Halper was arrested in Sderot on Tuesday for illegally entering Hamas-ruled Gaza, police said. Halper reached Gazan shores on Saturday with dozens of Free Gaza Movement activists on two boats aimed at "breaking the siege" of the Strip. Halper, who also heads the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, crossed into Israel via the Erez border crossing, police said. He was questioned at Sderot's police station, and will be charged for violating the IDF's Southern Command Front order which forbids Israeli citizens from entering Palestinian areas without permission, a Lachish police spokesman said. "Halper will be taken to court tomorrow," the spokesman said. But Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, a spokeswoman for Free Gaza Movement, said Halper had entered Gaza with permission from Israel's foreign and interior ministries. "I received a text message on my mobile phone saying that those two ministries had given the boats permission to land in Gaza. I remember thinking, that's great because now they [the activists] are in Gaza legally," she said. Asked if she believed the "permission" included Israeli citizens, Godrey-Goldstein said, "it applied to the people on the boats."