Press Release – 8th October, 2010
Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire was deported from Israel at 4 a.m., on Tuesday 5th October, 2010 and arrived back in Belfast later that afternoon. Maguire had arrived in Israel on Tuesday 27th September, to attend a Nobel Women’s Initiative visit, and support those working in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories – particularly women groups – for human rights and justice.
On arrival she was detained in Ben Gurion Detention Centre, Tel Aviv. The Israeli security tried to forcefully deport Maguire the following day but she peacefully resisted sitting quietly on the tarmac beside the plane refusing to be forcefully deported. The KLM pilot refused to allow her to be forcefully taken on by Israeli guards, so she was taken back into detention, where she remained for seven days in solitary confinement under harsh conditions causing her to be hospitalized at the end of a week. During the seven days she had three court appearances to appeal her conviction of 10-year deportation from Israel.
At the Supreme Court appeal, Maguire spoke to the three judges saying that she loved the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and was saddened by their suffering. However, she insisted that peace will not come to Israel until the Israeli government end Apartheid. She also made in the Supreme Court an appeal, through the media, for the Israeli government to end apartheid and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
On arriving home Maguire said:
“I am sorry to be deported for 10 years from Israel and have asked my attorney, Adalah, to challenge this order on my behalf, as I very much wish to return to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to support all those working for change. I do not feel I have been treated justly by the Israeli Court. In June 2010, I and my colleagues on the “Rachel Corrie” boat were illegally hijacked in international waters by the Israeli navy, whilst trying to break the siege of Gaza and bring humanitarian aid to people suffering under illegal collective punishment by Israel. I am not a criminal and ask, “How can I be deported from Israel when I had been taken at gunpoint and forced to come to Israel against my will in June, 2010?” I wish the three Supreme Court judges had been braver and upheld their proposal to the Israeli state prosecution that I be allowed to stay for a few days and join the NWI. However, they showed how little independence the Israeli judiciary have, and obeyed the Israeli security authorities that were determined to uphold my 10-year deportation from Israel, a form of silencing those who are critical of Israeli policies.
“Sadly also, the Israeli media were very selective and negative regarding me, carrying misrepresentations such as reporting that I was in a plane and shouting and creating a scene, clearly Israeli propaganda against me. In truth I went to Israel in good faith, with nothing but love for Israelis and Palestinians, and wishing a good future for both peoples to live in justice and peace. Being a voice critical of the Israeli government policies does not make me an enemy of Israel or her people, but an upholder of an ethic of human rights and nonviolence, and a believer that peace is possible between both peoples when justice reigns. It is my sincere hope that I can return to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to meet my friends soon again.”