portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

human & civil rights | imperialism & war

Solidarity With American Detainees in Israel

Please write, call, fax, email, whatever in support of Americans being detained in Israel.
fHere is some more information about the U.S. detainees:

Friends, if you read this, please make one phone call and/or send one
fax. Please! -- Huwaida

Below are the names of the detainees that we still know of:

Trevor Baumgartner (Seattle, WA), Nathan Mauger (Spokane WA), Nathan
Musselman (Ronoke, VA), Thomas Koutsoukos (IL) and Kristen Schurr
(Seattle, WA) - detained with other members of the International
Solidarity Movement for delivering food to starving and besieged
Palestinians inside the Church of the Nativty.

Dr. Riad Abdelkarim (US) - Chair of Kinder USA, a non-profit charitable
organization. Dr. ABdelkarim came to Palestine on a humanitarian
mission to deliver food packages to needy Palestinians in refugee camps
around the West Bank and Gaza.


Linda Bevis wrote:
[from gabriel, Trevor's friend]

Trevor phoned a friend in NYC and his mother yesterday. His health is bad. All four men, along with newer International detainees, have voiced their
strong desire to return home. They have agreed to leave, yet they are still being held in prison. The Israeli govt. and the u.s. state department both
assured the families that the detainees would be released on Monday night--- that was two days ago. They are all still in prison, and now they have been
separated from each other. Furthermore, they have been told by Israeli authorities that Nathan Mussleman is to be kept for interrogation by Israel's interior security force, the Shabak. It is well documented by human rights organizations and the U.N. that when Israel arrests or detains Palestinians for
'interrogation', what they actually mean is torture.

The state department, the u.s. embassy, the Israeli government, and congressional representatives are all giving conflicting and contradictory (mis)information, which is causing a great deal of confusion for friends, family, and others who are concerned with Trevor and the other detainees.

The state dept. and the u.s. embassy in Israel have not been very helpful--they continue to tell people that Trevor and the other detainees can leave whenever
they want--that they are in prison because they have chosen to be stay there. This is just not the case- the detainees would leave except that they're locked
up in prison.

The newer detainees are other International Solidarity Movement (ISM) members who actually got in to the Church of Nativity on 2 May to deliver the food and
water to starving civilians. (Trevor, along with 12 others, acted as a decoy to distract the Israeli military so that some people could make it in to the
heavily besieged church) All 10 of them were detained when the Israeli military moved in and the 'standoff' ended. Many of them have been deported, but a few have not.

The only woman who has not been deported yet is Kristin Schurr of Seattle, WA and New York,NY.. Whereas the other women who were detained have been
deported, the Israeli govt. won't let Schurr go. For five days (since they grabbed her) she's been willing to leave, but they refuse to release. She reports being beaten during her 'arrest' and "poked, prodded, screamed at, and strip searched several times" (her words) in detention.

The situation is urgent. Complicating matters is that the Israeli govt. will shut down tomorrow afternoon in observance of Friday's Jewish holiday of Shavuot; Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath; and Sunday, the u.s. embassy is closed. So time is of the essence.

There are three things you can do right now that will be very helpful:

1.) Call and fax the U.S. embassy in Israel- Politely Urge them assist the detainees in using their own ticket (all of them have their own ticket already) to fly home IMMEDIATELY AND TOGETHER. Ask that they act quickly to get **all** the Americans on a plane by Friday morning, using their own plane tickets. Urge
them to assist the detainees whose tickets need to be changed so they can leave immediately. Ask that they help the detainees get from the prison to the airport. Please do this with a friendly 'we'll work with you' tone-as silly as that might sound, it's the only thing that's working at all right now.

U.S. Consulate: Ed McKean
Phone:(011) 972 3 519 7551
(011) 972 3 519 7575
Fax: (011) +972 (0) 2 624 9462 (Consulate).
(11) +972 (0) 3 517 3227 (Embassy)

If you don't have access to a fax, please you can email  eli@movementbuilding.org with the text you want

2.) Fax and Eemail the Israeli Minister of the Interior,Eli Yishai, and demand that these U.S. citizens be released IMMEDIATELY, TOGETHER. Ask why
they are being detained without charges, and urge that they be allowed to leave Israel by Friday morning.
fax: 011 972 2629 4755
Interior Minister . Eli Yishai  sar@moin.gov.il

2.) Continue to phone the Washington state Congresspeople. Tell the Senators (Murray and Cantwell) and the Rep from Seattle (McDermott) to put
pressure on the Israeli govt. to bring Trevor Baumgartner (Seattle), Kristin Schurr( Seattle), Nathan Mauger(Spokane) and ALL THE DETAINEES home
IMMEDIATELY and TOGETHER. Ask that they be allowed to leave together with **all** the other Americans. Ask them to inquire with the Israeli govt. as to why these Americans are being detained without charges. Ask them to make this a priority, to get these folks on a plane **before** the Israeli govt. and the embassy shut down for the weekend.

Senator Patty Murray 206-553-5545
Senator Maria Cantwell 206-220-6400
Congressman Jim McDermott 206-553-7170

Spread the word, and keep checking out www.movementbuilding.org/trevor for links to news stories that are coming out about this situation.

that's it. if you've got questions, concerns, or
ideas, contact me.


gabriel sayegh

Statement from American Hostages:

By now everyone reading this knows how the four of us came to be incarcerated in Ramle prison. We feel, however, that we should clarify why we consider our
detention and pending departure to be illegitimate. The State of Israel claims, in addition to "entering a closed military zone", is that we "collaborated with
the enemy" by bringing food to the starving people in the Church of the Nativity. From a legal standpoint these accusations are baseless as Bethlehem is not Israel, and as it is in Area A under the Oslo Accords even Israel has acknowledged it has no authority there. From a moral standpoint Israel's claim of collaboration can only lead us to conclude that Israel counts humanity as its enemy.

We remain in prison because the Ministry of Interior, after making an
agreement then breaking it, has been seeking to manipulate our parents and ourselves in to purchasing new flight tickets, rather than letting us use our own as our fellow internationals have, or purchasing them themselves, as is their legal obligation. Toward this end, Nathan Mauger and Nathan Musselman have been separated from us and each other, despite repeated assurances that this would not happen. This morning we were informed that when we leave Nathan Musselman is to remain behind for interrogation by Shabak (Israeli internal security). We find this wholly unacceptable. We cannot express how grateful we are for all of you who have written, called and protested for us. You are our strength.
In solidarity,

Trevor Baumgartner and Thomas Koutsoukos
Trevor is home from Israel! 19.May.2002 13:03


Trevor arrived at SeaTac airport tonight, appearing healthy and happy to be
home. He was greeted by his mother and about 20 friends and supporters with
banners saying "Welcome Home Trevor" and "Humanitarian Aid Not Military Aid."

Supporters wore t-shirts saying "Free Trevor, Free Palestine from Occupation" -
as Trevor walked up we checked off with red pens the box next to "Free
Trevor." So, 1 down, 6 million to go. And we are not forgetting the 5
international observers who are still in detention. Keep those calls to the
US Embassy coming; we've heard they have been receiving 4 calls an hour, all
day, around the clock, and we know that this, plus the constant pressure on
local legislators' offices and the courage and strength of the detainees
themselves, is what got them out safely. (BTW, Kristen Schurr, the other
Seattlite, got home to New York yesterday and CNN will be at her press
conference. Also check the PI tomorrow for a story on Trevor, and KCPQ 13 did

a story on him tonight. Thanks to all the detainees for using their situation
to help get the Palestine story into US media.)