Israel deports Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Israel deported the Irish peace activist and Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire, 66, on Tuesday, after the country’s highest court rejected her appeal against a deportation order.
Maguire had arrived in Israel last week to be told by authorities that she could not enter. When she refused to leave she was held at a detention facility at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv.
On Monday Israel’s supreme court rejected Maguire’s appeal against the ban refusing her entry into the country for 10 years. “The supreme court yesterday ruled that she must be deported and we acted accordingly,” Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabin Hadad told the press. Maguire was deported on a flight that departed Israel at 4.00 A.M. on Tuesday.
Earlier Maguire had argued she had not been aware she signed a no-entry document after her arrest in June aboard the Rachel Corrie, a ship that tried to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Maguire was detained and then deported back to Ireland shortly after the ship was stopped.
The Israeli Supreme Court said that its decision would not prevent Maguire from appealing the 10-year deportation order from abroad. Maguire answered that had she known that a deportation order existed, she would not have tried to enter Israel as part of a delegation of women who had won a Nobel Prize. The group was scheduled to visit female Jewish and Palestinian peace activists in Israel and the West Bank.
In June Maguire had joined 19 other peace activists on board the Rachel Corrie, which failed to reach Gaza a week after Israeli forces launched a raid on a six-ship flotilla that killed nine Turkish activists.
Maguire’s arrival in Israel came as the Israeli navy intercepted yet another boat carrying US, European and Israeli peace activists attempting to reach the Gaza Strip, which has been under continuous naval blockade since 2006.
During her hearing on Monday Maguire called for Israel to end what she called its “apartheid policy” against the Palestinians and to end the siege on Gaza, but she was reprimanded by one of the judges who told her that the courtroom was no place for propaganda.
Israeli authorities said Maguire is banned because she has twice tried to break through Israel's naval blockade of Gaza. “She knew exactly what she was doing, and that she wouldn't receive an entry visa,” Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told the press. “She was fully conscious of her status.”