TEL AVIV (Jun. 8)
Israeli officials are pondering what to do with over 100 peace marchers, most of them foreign, who were detained Sunday for disobeying police orders.
Right-wing politicians are demanding their immediate expulsion from the country. More likely, the duration of their visitors visas will be reduced.
The police jailed 115 demonstrators Sunday, some of them Israelis but the rest visitors from about 20 countries.
They came to Israel to hold a peace march through the West Bank on the 25th anniversary of the Six-Day War in which that territory was captured by Israel.
The authorities say they were brought here by the Hadash Communist Party, allegedly with funds provided by the Palestine Liberation Organization and left-wing pro-PLO groups abroad.
The visitors joined some 200 Israeli peace marchers who set off from Megiddo on Sunday for the Arab town of Jenin in the West Bank.
But at the Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 border, their way was barred by police, who told them the Jenin region was a “closed military area.” They were ordered to disperse.
The demonstrators refused to move, however, blocking the main road, and were arrested.
One of the detainees, Michel Maertens, a member of the Belgian Parliament, was released Monday. So were two Israelis, one of them a student who had to take his final exams.