RAMALLAH Ñ Israel's military has launched a crackdown on an
international group that has used foreign volunteers as human shields in the
30-month-old Palestinian insurgency war.
Israeli officials said the military has been ordered to halt the
activities of the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip. The movement has used dozens of foreigners as human shields
during Israeli military operations in Palestinian areas and officials, said
ISM has also harbored Islamic insurgents who directed suicide attacks in
Over the weekend, Israeli forces raided a movement stronghold in the
West Bank town of Bet Sahour. The soldiers arrested three women and seized
computers and files.
Officials later said one of the women will be deported. Two activists
were also arrested in
the northern West Bank city of Tulkarm on Saturday.
The crackdown was ordered after a suicide attack on a Tel Aviv pub last
month. Two British nationals accused of carrying out the strike visited the
ISM in Gaza City before they left on their suicide mission. The group said
it had nothing to do with the suicide attack.
The Israeli military has also instituted new measures for foreigners who
seek to enter Palestinian areas of the Gaza Strip. This includes a
requirement that foreigners sign a waiver of any Israeli responsibility for
their safety. A similar waiver is required for Israelis who enter
Palestinian Authority areas.