Ok, now here’s an odd twist that reflects the nuance of Occupation. Iraqi kidnappers nabbed CPTers and ISMers who are working in behalf of Palestinians in the West Bank. In a Press Release Islam and National Forces there speak up on their behalf and witness to their work against Occupation. Now obviously CPT and ISM are against terrorism. Still it is puzzling who is good and bad here. Hamas and Fatah stand up and clarify that some Westerners should not be kidnapped. Note: the statement from the Islamic and National Forces in Hebron has some translation mistakes that could be misunderstood. In the first sentence they express sorrow for kidnapping hostages. They aren’t the kidnappers.
Three Palestinian Solidarity Activists Amongst Four Peace Activist Hostages in Iraq
November 30th, 2005 | Posted in Press Releases, ISM Media Alerts
CORRECTION: Three of the group of four have previously been in Palestine, not only two as previously stated. James Loney was in Palestine five years ago as an activist with CPT Hebron.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two of the four Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) hostages in Iraq of whom a video was released today have been in Palestine working as Palestinian Solidarity activists. Tom Fox (54) worked with CPT Hebron and participated in demonstrations against the apartheid Wall in Jayyous. Harmeet Sooden (32) a Canadian citizen who had been living in New Zealand, came to Palestine to join the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in December 2004 and stayed until January 2005. He worked in solidarity with local Palestinian people, mostly in Nablus and Jenin. While in Jenin, he worked with a group of ISM activists who planted Olive trees on the ‘Swithart’ farm outside Jenin, He was committed to come to Palestine for three months to join the ISM again at the beginning of December 2005 as a long term activist for the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation, but first decided to join a two week CPT delegation to Iraq.
Palestinians in Ramallah will hold a demonstration tomorrow at 3pm in solidarity with all four kidnapped peace activists and to appeal for their release. The demonstration will be attended by notable Palestinian religious and resistance figures.
Mustafa Jayyousi a local Palestinian activist in Jayyous who knew Tom said: “When he worked in Jayyous, Tom was part of a group who went down to the gates everyday with local farmers to help them access their lands made inaccessible by the wall. He also participated in demonstrations with the people of Jayyous against the apartheid Wall in Jayyous”.
Mohammed Ayyesh a local Palestinian activist in Balata camp, Nablus said of Harmeet: “I was touch with Harmeet and was looking forward to him coming here to work next week. We must do everything we can to secure his release”.
In an email to his friends Harmeet described the purpose of the four-person team’s work in Iraq as: “providing humanitarian aid in the form of training and documentation of non-violent responses to lethal inter-group conflict. We will also record the current conditions in Iraq, meeting with representatives of NGOs, Christian and Muslim clerics, Iraqi human rights groups and others”. He also recounted a story from Iraq: “A little 3-year old girl, Alaa, ran up to me and gave me a big hug me yesterday. She reminds me of my niece. She, however, does not see as my niece sees. She sustained severe shrapnel injuries to her abdomen and micro-fragments peppered her eyes, face and body during a US military attack in May on al Qaim, Iraq. Her mother lost an eye. She lost two brothers and several other relatives”.
Some of his friends who worked with Harmeet in the ISM appealed to the kidnappers for his release:
Donna: “Since he was back in New Zealand, Harmeet formed a new Palestinian Solidarity Group on Auckland University campus and organised speakers and forums about Palestine. He is a very shy, quiet guy, but very committed and hoped to return to Palestine next month.”
Asa: “Harmeet is a great person – we worked in solidarity with the Palestinian people together. He cares deeply about the plight of all oppressed people and is unequivocally against the occupation of Iraq and Palestine. He has also been involved in work around the conflict over Kashmir and in favour of the right of the people there for self determination. He would never act as a spy for any government. He is a sound peace activist.”
Patrick Connors: “I know Harmeet from when he volunteered with ISM in Palestine last winter. Harmeet is a very good, serious, committed person. CPT is a solid organization, with serious training and procedures, that does great things.”
For more information:
ISM Media office: 02 297 1824
Statement from The Islamic & National Forces in Hebron.
In the name of Allah the Greatest the [Com]passionate.
The National and Islamic Forces in Hebron/Palestine express their deep sorrow for kidnapping four of the peace advocates from the CPT in Iraq.
The National and Islamic Forces in Hebron who has along experience in dealing with crimes and Israeli violations with the CPT from 1995 ,would like to confirm that the CPTers have a very strong role in facing the Israeli crimes and violations and in protecting the life and the belongings of the Palestinians. They put themselves in many situations in front of the Israeli tanks.
They confronted the Israeli bulldozers and the Israeli home demolition and escorted our children to and from their schools to protect them from settlers.
Because of all their activities ,the members of the team were followed, arrested and beaten by Israeli soldiers and settlers in many occasions.
The Israeli authorities have prevented some of them from entering Palestine .
We urge the brothers in the resistance and all the alert conscience in Iraq , whom we consider our selves together in the same tunnel against the American terrorism and assault, to promptly release the four kidnapped (2 Canadian, one British ,and one American ) from CPT, for their role in supporting our Palestinian and Arab an Islamic nations.
Freedom for Iraqi and Palestinian people.
Shame for Zionist and American occupation.
The Islamic & National Forces in Hebron.
Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) .
Fateh Movement .
People’s Party .
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine .
Palestine Liberation Front .
Palestine Democratic Union . FIDA.
Palestinian Front for popular fighting ( ? Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP))