JERUSALEM — Israel expelled eight Palestinian activists to Lebanon today, defying criticism from the United States and human rights organizations.
Military sources said the eight, accused of being organizers of the Palestinian uprising in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, were flown by helicopter to the northern edge of Israel's self-declared security zone in south Lebanon.
It was the first time Israel had deported Palestinians in six months. It expelled 13 accused leaders of the uprising to Lebanon on Jan. 1.
Altogether 55 activists have been expelled since the start of the 18-month-old uprising with no apparent impact on the level of unrest.
Many of the deportees had waited months in prison while their lawyers tried in vain to overturn the expulsion orders in lengthy appeal proceedings in the Israeli Supreme Court. The orders were based on secret evidence withheld from the suspects.