An Italian peace activist was hospitalised yesterday after refusing to be deported from Israel. Vittorio Arrigoni, 34, was injured yesterday evening when Israeli authorities tried to deport by force him and two other detained UK residents, according to Israeli lawyer Gaby Lasky.
He was returned today to the detention centre at Tel Aviv airport. The three are being held after they were refused admission to Israel to attend a peace conference in Bethlehem. They now face the prospect of Christmas in an Israeli jail.
The three are experienced peace campaigners who were on their way to the "Celebrating Non-Violence" conference that starts on 27 December in Bethlehem. But when they tried to pass through Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on December 20, when the authorities detained them.
Only quick legal action by an Israeli lawyer prevented the three from being forcibly deported yesterday morning. They must now await the outcome of an appeal hearing, which will not take place until Christmas Day at the earliest.
All three have worked previously as international observers in the Palestinian territories. All are members of Access for Peace in the Middle East, a pressure group that intends to challenge the criminalisation of peace workers and the deliberate isolation of Palestinians from international observation and assistance.
Robin Horsell, a UK-based South African who formerly campaigned against apartheid gave his reasons for fighting deportation: "Israel gives spurious grounds for deportation or refusal of entry. But the real reason is our support for human rights and justice. We hope this legal challenge sets a precedent that in future will allow international citizens full access to Palestinian lands."
Many prominent peace campaigners support Access for Peace in the Middle East including Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Nonviolence International, Clare Short, George Monbiot, AngieZelter, Jeremy Hardy and European Jews for a Just Peace.
For more information contact:
Charlotte: +44 (0) 7768 305897 charlotteism-london.org
Roger +44 (0) 7785 792107 infoism-london.org
for details of the conference: http://www.celebratingnv.org
Access for Peace in the Middle East
This is an important opportunity to challenge Israels policy and
maybe even set a legal precedent allowing internationals freer access to the Occupied Territories.
The delagates were completely honest about their reasons for coming to Palestine, and about their past involvement with ISM and non-violent activism.
Please demand to know why Israel wants to deport peacemakers.
PLEASE FAX OR EMAIL MINISTRY OF INTERIOR
Minister Mr. Avraham Poraz moin.gov.il>
Director Mr. Mordechay Mordechay moin.gov.il>
Spokesperson Ms. Tova Ellinson moin.gov.il>
Public Relations Ms. Nechama Pluga-Zecharia moin.gov.il>
the ISMs van