Israel threatens to deport UK activist

Israel has threatened to deport a British peace activist based in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, accusing him of interfering with army activities.

    Andrew Macdonald (R) was arrested in Hebron

    Andrew Macdonald, 41, a human-rights worker from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), was arrested in downtown Hebron on 1 December, shortly after he had finished escorting Palestinian children to school.

    He had been arrested three times before for the same act.

    The Israeli occupation army often says activities by international peace organisations and protests against Israel's illegal separation wall and Palestinian home demolitions are "interference in and disruption of army activities".

    A Swedish activist affiliated with the ISM, which is made up of foreign, mainly Western, peace volunteers monitoring Israeli human rights violations, described Macdonald's detention as a "targeted arrest".

    "They picked him from the street to get him deported," the activist said.


    The activist, who asked that his name not be revealed for fear of being arrested and deported, accused the Israeli army of targeting Western activists working in occupied Palestinian areas.

    Andrew Macdonald said he will try
    to extend his visa

    "This is not the first time they target a peace activist. In fact, I myself have been targeted as well. They don't want anybody to see what they are doing to these helpless people," he said.

    Henry Biran, an ISM activist, told that the group uses non-violent methods to monitor Israeli human rights violations in occupied Palestinian areas and often demonstrates against the encroachment of Israel's separation wall on Palestinian land.

    Macdonald, who spoke via mobile phone from his jail cell, said he was being kept in solitary confinement at the Tzohar Detention Centre near the Rafah Crossing to Gaza.

    Macdonald has been in custody since his arrest on 24 November. He is reportedly kept in a small cell and is not allowed to see other prisoners.

    According to an ISM news release, an Israeli police officer from the Special Operations Unit threatened Macdonald, saying he would be forced to leave even if he had to be drugged and shackled and placed onto the next available plane.

    The officer also threatened to jail him for two months if he did not comply, the ISM said.


    Macdonald and other ISM activists maintain a presence in Tel Rumeida, a neighbourhood in the old quarter of Hebron, to monitor daily attacks and acts of harassment by Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

    "This is not the first time they target a peace activist. They don't want anybody to see what they are doing to these helpless people (Palestinians)"

    ISM activist,
    anonymous due to safety concerns

    The settlers in Tel Rumeida have tried to expel Palestinian families to seize the land and expand the Jewish enclave.

    The Israeli army, which tightly controls the Old City of Hebron, seldom intervenes to protect Palestinians from settler attacks.

    Shortly before Macdonald's arrest, the ISM quoted him as saying: "Something very odd is happening here.

    "In order to eject people from Israel, they are snatching people out of Palestine, and forcing them into Israel. It is not for Israelis to decide who can stay in Palestine. It is for the Palestinians to decide."

    The Swedish activist said Macdonald was being confined to a room without windows and was not allowed to take a bath or recharge his mobile phone.

    Visa regulations

    An Israeli spokesperson told that "Macdonald was in violation of Israeli laws and his visa terms".

    Macdonald has refused deportation and says he has an appointment with Israeli passport officials in two weeks to extend the term of his visa.

    Since the beginning of what has become known as the al-Aqsa Intifada (uprising) more than five years ago, a number of ISM activists were deported and some were killed in peaceful demonstrations.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera



    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.