TA bomb proves embarrassing for peaceniks
Reports that last week's two British suicide bombers, one of whom blew himself up at Mike's Place, entered Israel as activists in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) has wreaked havoc with the group's self-confidence. Only three to six ISM members remain in Rafah.
One of the group said the peace activists are determined to continue their "passive resistance to the Israeli occupation," but others paint a different picture.
About six weeks ago ISM activist Rachel Corrie was crushed under an Israeli tank in Rafah. Three weeks later activist Brian Avery was critically wounded, shot in the face by Israel Defense Forces fire in Jenin. A week later ISM activist Tom Hurndall was shot in the head by the IDF in Rafah's refugee camp and is now believed to be brain dead with little chance of recovery.
Despite the blow to their morale, the activists, based in Beit Sahour, have been persevering in their mission. The report in Haaretz on Friday, that the IDF has declared war on ISM members and intended to deport them, came as no surprise. For some time now, they have been evading the authorities and using first names only. But over the weekend something seemed to crack in their undaunted spirit.
Some spoke of growing suspicions they have that certain "activists" are planted agents, and of fears that the IDF was following them and listening in on their telephone calls. Both Israeli and British media have suggested the two British citizens involved in the Tel Aviv terrorist attack succeeded in entering Israel by pretending to be ISM activists, going to the Gaza Strip and returning to Tel Aviv for the attack.
ISM spokesman Tom Wallace vehemently denied the two had any connection to the movement and said attending a memorial service for Rachel Corrie was something any Palestinian or stranger could have done, but the denial failed to disperse the cloud over the movement.
Wallace and others in ISM have long said they know various groups are trying to exploit them to bash the IDF, and they tell the Palestinians to keep clear of any provocation. The few ISM members who attended the service for Corrie refuse to talk about Mohammed Hanif and Sharif Khan and whether they had any connections with ISM members apart from attending the ceremony.