On Wednesday, The Palestinian Political factions issued a statement calling the release of four International Peace activists kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Iraq few days ago.
The four victims are member of a Christian organization called the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), who work for peace in conflict areas such as Palestine, the Chiapas in Mexico and in Iraq, among other countries.
In their statement, the National and Islamic Forces in Palestine "express their deep sorrow at the kidnapping of four of the peace advocates from the CPT in Iraq."
"The National and Islamic Forces in Hebron, from long experience in dealing with crimes and Israeli violations with the CPT from 1995, would like to affirm that the CPTers have a very strong role in facing the Israeli crimes and violations and in protecting the life and the belongings of the Palestinians," the statement said, adding that the CPT activists often put themselves in front of the Israeli tanks.
The factions called for the immediate release of the CPT four.
"We urge the brothers in the resistance and all with alert consciences in Iraq, whom we consider united with us in the same tunnel against American terrorism and assault, to promptly release the four kidnapped (2 Canadian, one British, and one American) from CPT, for their role in supporting our Palestinian and Arab and Islamic nations."
The CPT has been functional in southern West Bank city of Hebron since 1995 and joined several activities in solidarity with the Palestinian people since the second Intifada started in 2000. The group has been very instrumental in minimizing friction between Jewish settlers and soldiers and Palestinian civilians in Hebron.
The CPT, also co-founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), conduct nonviolent methods in their work in their violence reduction program, as they mostly have a Mennonite background.
The four team members, Tom Fox, 54-year-old American, Norman Kember, 74-year-old Briton, James Loney, 41 and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32 both from Canada, went missing on November 26, later their images where shown on Al-Jazeera Satellite channel.
The CPT team in Iraq issued a statement in which they expressed their worry about the kidnapped, calling their captives to release them saying that they are not spies.
"We are very worried about our four friends. We fear that whoever is holding them has made a mistake. Norman, Tom, James and Harmeet are four men who came to Iraq to work for peace and explain their opposition to the occupation. They are not spies," the CPT said.
In a "Statement of Conviction," the long-term Team members stated that they "are aware of the many risks both Iraqis and internationals currently face," and affirmed that the risks did not outweigh their purpose in remaining. They express the hope that "in loving both friends and enemies and by intervening non-violently to aid those who are systematically oppressed, we can contribute in some small way to transforming this volatile situation."
The CPT has been present in Iraq since October 2002, providing first-hand, independent reports from the region, working with detainees of both United States and Iraqi forces, and training others in non-violent intervention and human rights documentation.
According to the organization’s website, many Iraqis and human rights workers have welcomed the team as a nonviolent, independent presence. CPT teams host regular delegations of committed peace and human rights activists to conflict zones, who join teams in working with civilians to document abuses and develop nonviolent alternatives to armed conflict. The CPT Iraq Team has hosted a total of 120 people on sixteen delegations over the last three years.