Ha’aretz reports that international activists seized in immigration raids as part of Israel’s crackdown were freed by Israel’s Supreme Court.
“The activists’ lawyer described their arrest as part of a campaign by Israel to choke off weekly demonstrations by Palestinians, left-wing Israelis and foreign activists against Israel’s West Bank separation barrier as peace efforts remain at a stalemate.
Israeli soldiers raided the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday and detained Spaniard Ariadna Jove Marti and Australian Bridgette Chappell, handing them over to immigration officers overseen by Israel’s Interior Ministry for possible deportation.”
What was most telling about the decision is that the Supreme Court, while not ruling on the general crackdown on protestors, basically admitted that the West Bank is outside of Israel’s legitimate borders.
“the Supreme Court ordered Marti and Chappell released on other grounds, saying immigration officers – authorized only to operate inside Israel – had taken custody of the women from the military at a prison inside the West Bank.”
If Immigration officials can’t operate in the West Bank, why can the military still seize people there?
The activists are still facing deportation and had to pay bail.
UPDATE: The IDF raided the offices of the activists the day after the Supreme Court ordered their release.
“Israel Defense Forces soldiers raided the International Solidarity Movement’s Ramallah office yesterday for the second time this week, confiscating computers, T-shirts and bracelets engraved with the word “Palestine.”
According to the Israeli organization Anarchists Against the Wall, the IDF has conducted no fewer than 18 nighttime raids in Na’alin alone since December, during which time it has arrested 25 people. Bili’in was subject to five raids and eight arrests.
“I don’t think there were even that many army raids in Nablus in 2002, at the height of the intifada,” claimed Jonathan Pollack of the anarchist group.
In addition to its two raids on the ISM office, the IDF also raided the offices of two other groups – Stop the Wall and the Palestinian Communist Party – this week. The activists claim that none of these groups are involved in terrorist activities; they merely organize demonstrations. “
But clearly demonstrations present more of a threat then terrorism.