RAMALLAH, December 18 (JMCC) - Israeli law strictly forbids Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank
from crossing into Israel
without a special permit. This ruling is enforced with a network of walls, fences, soldiers and checkpoints.
But now, a group of Israeli women are helping to bring their Palestinian counterparts into Israel - for day trips and picnics. Guardian correspondent Harriet Sherwood joins the remarkable group of women and children on one of these cheerful and illegal days out.The Palestinians were from villages in the West Bank and therefore forbidden entry into Israel without proper permits. The Israeli women had illegally brought them across checkpoints for a day out – a journey that is both just a few miles and an impossible distance.
This wasn't the first occasion; there have been previous trips to Tel Aviv and Jaffa and to the zoo in Jerusalem. For many of the Palestinians, it is their first trip across the Green Line into Israel. Earlier trips have been described by Ilana Hammerman, one of the organisers, in the Israeli paper Haaretz, and by Rachel Shabi in the Guardian last September.
But in recent weeks, the Israelis – who describe themselves as women who disobey – have begun to be questioned individually by the police about their actions. Some see this as part of a bigger picture of intolerance and harassment of groups and individuals supporting co-existence, civil and human rights, and opposing Israel's occupation of Palestinian land.
Two weeks ago, Nitza Aminov was questioned for an hour by police who took her fingerprints and photograph for their records. She refused to answer their questions. She told me that more women have been told to expect visits from the police this week.
more at The Guardian blog...