Haaretz ,

September 28, 2010

Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate resists deportation from Israel

Mairead Maguire has been barred from entering Israel as a result of her participation in the Rachel Corrie Gaza-bound aid ship in June.

By Jack Khoury

Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire refused to board a U.K.-bound flight on Tuesday after being barred by security from entering Israel.

Maguire’s entry was barred due to her participation in an attempt to violate Israel’s naval blockade on the Gaza Strip aboard the aid ship Rachel Corrie in June. The vessel was intercepted and boarded by the Israeli Navy and led to Ashdod harbor, with Maguire being deported from Israel, along with the ship’s other passengers.

Prior to her deportation, Maguire signed a document stating she would refrain from entering Israel again.

Israeli authorities prevented the Irish Nobel laureate from entering the country upon her arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Tuesday, proceeding to escort Maguire to a U.K.-bound flight.

However, Maguire resisted her deportation, causing a scene and refusing to board the flight. The flight’s captain then declared he would allow her to board the plane, finally bringing security Israeli authorities to decide that the Nobel laureate would remain in the country until the following day.

Petah Tikva District Court issued on Wednesday a temporary order to let Maguire stay in Israel until Friday, when it is to discuss a petition submitted against her deportation.

During the court hearing Maguire claimed that contrary to statements made by Israeli authorities, she did not cause any interference, but was dragged by security guards to the jet bridge, where she sat on the floor, refusing to move.

Captain of the Lufthansa flight, present at the scene, told Maguire he could not force her to board the plane as long as she refused to do so, Maguire added.

Maguire said she refused to board the plane because she knew a petition had been submitted to the Israeli court.

Maguire won the 1976 peace prize for her work with Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

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Jack Khoury

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