International Observers: Witnesses to Destruction and Resistance

16 April 2002
Contact: Samar Assad

International Observers: Witnesses to Destruction and Resistance

Convinced that their presence would reduce the harm inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli military incursion, members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) have converged upon the Occupied Territories in an effort to stop Israel’s attacks on Palestinian civilians.

Ignoring the advice of the U.S. and British consulates in Jerusalem to evacuate, ISM activists Josina Manu, a Jewish-American, and Abdul Hakim, an Arab-American, along with 19 other internationals, spent two weeks in the Al Azza refugee camp in Bethlehem. On several occasions, the activists went from observers to human buffers, intervening in situations that were dangerous.

Manu and Abdul Hakim have returned to the United States to provide first-person accounts of the events that took place in the Occupied Territories. They will speak at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine (Palestine Center) on Wednesday, 17 April at 12:30 p.m. The Palestine Center briefing will be their first scheduled speaking appearance in Washington.

With journalists barred from entering the reoccupied Palestinian areas, many conflicting reports have surfaced on the extent of the damage to Palestinian cities and the number of Palestinians killed. ISM activists became the only third party able to document the rapidly unfolding events. Their account of the events may help clear the confusion and bridge some of the gaps.

To schedule an interview with Manu and Abdel Hakim, and for more information on their speaking tour, contact Rami Elmine at and Matt Bowles at