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Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire to appear in Israeli court Friday to fight deportation
rights and freedoms |
Thursday September 30, 2010 16:13 by Kev - IPSC
Stephen Rea and Sharon Shannon sign artists’ pledge to boycott Israel
Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire remained in Israeli custody in Tel Aviv today, two days after being told that she was banned from entering Israel as a result of her participation as a passenger on the MV Rachel Corrie in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in June. She will appear in the Central District Administrative Court in Petah Tikvah 11am (local time) tomorrow, Friday 1st October to contest her deportation. The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has condemned Ms. Maguire’s detention.
Mairead Maguire beside the MV Rachel Corrie in May 2010, on which she was kidnapped at sea
Speaking to the IPSC through her legal representative, Ms Fatmeh El-Ajou, Ms Maguire today said: “I am ready to stay in detention until the court decides on my petition – however long it takes. I believe that the message and the mission the women’s group I was travelling with is important and should not be silenced, and for that reason I am willing to make this small sacrifice.”
Ms Corrigan was visiting Israel and the West Bank as part of a women’s fact finding mission looking at the work of Palestinian and Jewish female peace activists. Upon arrival in Ben Gurion airport, Ms Maguire was informed she could not enter Israel and was subsequently dragged by four male security guards to the door of a British-bound aeroplane, whereupon she peacefully sat on the floor, refusing to move. Ms Maguire reported that the manhandling had caused bruises under arms. Ms Maguire refused to board to the plane as her legal representatives had submitted a petition to the courts contesting the deportation.
The IPSC was informed that Ms Maguire is being held in a detention centre in Tel Aviv’s Ben Guiron Airport where she has access to her medication and luggage, and is being treated “relatively” well. Ms Maguire is being represented by Adalah (Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) attorneys Fatmeh El-Ajou, Orna Kohn and Abeer Baker. On Wednesday 29th, Israeli Supreme Court Justice Hayut issued a temporary injunction preventing the deportation of Ms. Maguire without a hearing.
IPSC National Chairperson Freda Hughes today said: “Ms Maguire has always proven herself to be an honest broker for peace in situations of conflict resolution. She has a proven track record of bravery in campaigning for human rights in conflict stricken areas. We commend her action in refusing deportation and strongly condemn this latest outrageous action by the Israeli state against an international peace activist. Ms Maguire has proven herself to be not only a good to the Palestinians but also to Israelis in her open and honest approach to dedication to achieving a just a sustainable peace in the region.”
Ms Hughes concluded: “It is through unjustifiable actions such as this that Israel is seeing its true Apartheid nature exposed to the world time and again. It is no surprise that people of conscience the world over are increasingly viewing Israel as Apartheid South Africa was once viewed. It is apt that this week saw the Irish Artist’s Pledge to Boycott Israel reach 180 signatures as Stephen Rea and Sharon Shannon both endorsed it. Actions such as this attempted deportation only help to convince people of the necessity of boycotting Israel.”
Background on Ms. Mairead Maguire
Ms. Mairead Maguire was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her extraordinary actions to end the sectarian violence in her native Northern Ireland. In the 30 years since receiving the award, Mairead has dedicated her life to promoting peace, both in Northern Ireland and around the world. Most recently, in June 2010, Ms. Maguire set sail on the MV Rachel Corrie to help break the blockade on Gaza and bring humanitarian aid to the besieged coastal strip. The boat was hijacked in international waters by Israeli commandos, and it was forced to sail to the Israeli port of Ashdod. Ms. Maguire was detained for two days and then deported from Israel.
Background on Israel’s Denial of Entry to Critics of Israeli Policies
This is not the first time that Israel has denied entry to prominent academics and activists who are critical of Israeli policies toward Palestinians. For example, on 16 May 2010, Professor Noam Chomsky was held for several hours while crossing from Jordan to the West Bank and ultimately denied entry. The professor, aged 81, was entering the West Bank in order to speak at Birzeit University near Ramallah.
56-year-old US academic Dr. Norman Finkelstein was prevent from entering Israel on May 23rd 2008 and received a ten year ban being labelled a “security threat”.
Professor Richard Falk - the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories - was denied entry to Israel on 14th December 2008 and deported. Prof. Falk, was on his way to the West Bank to carry out his official functions.
 The 180 signatories to the IPSC’s Irish Artist’s Pledge to Boycott Israel, launched last month, can be seen here: http://www.ipsc.ie/pledge
Mairead Maguire greeted by IPSC Chair Freda Hughes after her release from Israeli custody having been kidnapped at sea in the Spirit of Humanity in June 2009.