Mairead Maguire deported from Israel overnight

According to the Jerusalem Post, “Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire was deported from Israel on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry confirmed, after boarding a flight to the UK earlier in the morning [n.b. – before dawn]. On Monday evening, the Supreme Court ruled that Maguire must leave Israel, in accordance with a deportation order barring her from entering the country for the next 10 years”. This news was published here.

The Supreme Court justices indicated that they based their reasoning on their belief that Maguire knew that her two previous deportations, in the context of her participating in sea expeditions designed to “break” the Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza, also included ten-year bans from entering Israel.

It is not clear how the justices arrived at the conclusion that Maguire knew about the ten-year ban.

They also said that Maguire should have addressed herself — and apparently still has the right to appeal — to Israel’s Interior Ministry against the ten-year ban.

The only discussion I’ve seen about this elsewhere revolves now around whether or not Maguire received a Hebrew-language document (which was supposed to have been explained to her in English in the presence of two witnesses) about her deportation, which she may have disregarded, and which she apparently did not sign because she would have objected to the charge that she entered Israel illegally. But, did she know about the ten-year ban?

One news report, which we cited in an earlier post, mentioned a document prepared for the Court with the assistance of the Irish Embassy in Israel — suggesting, though it was not clear, that the Irish Embassy might have been aware of the ten-year ban.

In addition, the Israeli state attorney’s representative told the Supreme Court that Israel’s Foreign Ministry was sure that one of the organizers of the Nobel women’s initiative (which sponsored Maguire’s trip to participate in meetings held in various places in Israel and the West Bank over the past week) had inquired, and was aware of, the ten-year ban.

But Maguire herself — who does not at all appear to be a practised liar — told the Supreme Court that she was “shocked” to learn of the ten-year ban when she arrived on a flight on 28 September.

Lawyers from the Haifa-based Israeli human rights organization Adalah [The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel] represented Maguire in Israeli courts. A press release issued by Adalah on Monday night said that “The Supreme Court accepted the factual and legal findings of the Central District Court in determining that a deportation order against Ms. Maguire did indeed exist, that she was aware of it, and as such, knowingly violated the order when she arrived in Israel last Tuesday, 28 September 2010. However, Ms. Maguire has maintained throughout all of the proceedings during the course of last week that she was not aware, when she left Israel in June 2010, that a deportation order barring her entry for 10 years had been issued against her. In fact, Israeli security personnel assured Ms. Maguire that no sanctions would arise from her participation aboard the MV Rachel Corrie, which attempted to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza. Had she known that a deportation order existed, Ms. Maguire told the Court, she would not have tried to enter Israel to take part in the delegation of the Nobel Women’s Initiative last week. The delegation visited Jewish and Palestinian women peace-builders in Israel and the West Bank. In Adalah’s view, the Supreme Court’s reliance on the lower court’s decision and the refusal to fully investigate the State’s claims of bad faith on the part of Ms. Maguire resulted in a severe miscarriage of justice. Not only were Ms. Maguire’s rights violated but also the rights of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists with whom she was to meet this week”.

In the Supreme Court proceedings, however, the Israeli State Attorney apparently mentioned two deportation orders, each accompanied by the ten-year entry ban. The first, earlier, one dates from September 2009 — nine months after Israel declared a formal naval blockade of Gaza’s maritime space, which Maguire is accused of deliberately trying to violate.

Adalah said, in its press release [posted here] that “This case starkly shows the state’s political motivations for refusing Ms. Maguire entry into Israel. Ms. Maguire has devoted her life to peace and non-violence.”

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