Jewish-owned vineyards in Samaria were once again destroyed by leftist “humanitarian groups” Friday. This time some were caught in the act and arrested.The International Solidarity Movement, founded in August 2001 by Adam Shapiro, Huwaida Arraf, Ghassan Andoni, and George Rishmawi, describes itself as "a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land." Though professing a commitment to nonviolence, ISM members openly advocate the "liberation" of Palestinians "by any means necessary," including "legitimate armed struggle." Led by Palestinians working closely with American recruiters, ISM invites American volunteers to travel to the Palestinian territories and disrupt the actions of the Israeli Defense Force, which is engaged in anti-terror operations in the region.
Shortly after residents of Dolev, located north of Jerusalem, discovered Friday that a local synagogue had been burned to the ground overnight, they saw that 3,000 plants in nearby vineyards had been destroyed. This is the third case of major agricultural vandalism in the region in recent months.
Vines were torn from the ground, and expensive irrigation equipment was damaged. The Jewish locals saw a group of foreign activists and Arabs heading toward an additional Jewish agricultural plot and alerted the police and IDF. The group fled, but three female activists from the United Kingdom were slower and were caught by police.
The three British women who were apprehended by police are accused of responsibility for the destruction Friday. Police also have evidence, however, that the women were part of the group that destroyed farm equipment in the nearby town of Neria in an earlier incident as well.
The women are activists with the International Solidarity Movement, a militantly anti-Zionist group that seeks to enable provocative actions against the IDF and Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, under the assumption that their foreign citizenship will raise the threshold on the response of security forces. The lines between ISM and local terrorist groups are quite blurry. In the past, British terrorists even carried out a suicide bombing after being embedded in an ISM cell.
Most of the vandals also take part in clashes with the IDF near the Arab village of Bilin. The militants were recently handed a victory by the Supreme Court, which ordered the IDF to move the security fence in the area of the weekly protests.