CODEPINK co-founders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans were detained on Sat. Jan 27 in the West Bank city of Hebron along with Palestinian human rights defender Issa Amro and CODEPINK activist Tighe Barry. The three CODEPINK activists had traveled to the West Bank to join with Palestinian activists in in their efforts to end Israel's occupation. All four were taken to a police station.
The day before, the CODEPINK activists had met with Basim Tamimi, father of 16-year-old Palestinian political prisoner, Ahed Tamimi. Ahed was arrested on Dec. 19, 2017, for slapping an Israelli soldier who was trying to enter her home, shortly after her 15-year-old cousin Mohammed Tamimi had been shot in the head by an Israeli soldier. Since then, an Israeli writer has publicly called for Ahed's rape while she is imprisoned, and CODEPINK has been actively demanding her release, sign their petition here.
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Benjamin, Evans and Barry entered the country despite the recent announcement by the Israeli government that the leaders of CODEPINK, along with 19 other organizations worldwide, are banned from entry into Israel because of their campaigns for Palestinian freedom and equality.
"2018 marks 70 years of Palestinian suffering and displacement," said Benjamin. "Continuously, Israel confiscates more and more Palestinian land and carries out violent and abusive acts against the Palestinian population. I have been coming here for 50 years," Benjamin said, "including spending a summer on a kibbutz when I was 16-years-old. From its founding in 1948, Israel has been practicing racism towards Palestinians and other minority populations, including the current deportations of black African asylum seekers. I am appalled that my government gives huge financial support to Israel to continue its policies of discrimination and displacement. It is time for a change."
"I am here in occupied territory today, in solidarity with my Palestinian brothers and sisters who spend every day resisting Israel's system of apartheid," said Evans. "
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To privilege Jewish settlers so they are able to continue to take the homes of the indigenous Palestinian population is immoral and unjust," she continued. "I refuse to let Israel silence my support for Palestinian rights and I ask all my friends and colleagues around the world to join me in expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people who have been subjected to 70 years of ethnic cleansing and oppression."