Palestinian activist Mubarak Awad was deported to the United States Monday under strict security and out of sight of the news media.
He was brought to Ben-Gurion Airport in a windowless police van, escorted by regular and border police. His handcuffs were removed only as he was about to board the plane, TWA Flight 885, which departed at 4 p.m. local time, non-stop to New York. The flight was scheduled to arrive at Kennedy Airport at 8:19 p.m. New York time.
Awad, 44, a Jerusalem-born naturalized American, had been in prison since May 5. On June 5, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled he had forfeited his residency rights, because he had lived longer than seven years in the United States. His visa expired last November.
The high court’s decision ended Mubarak’s six-month legal battle to remain in the city of his birth. U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz intervened personally with the Israeli authorities to allow him to remain, but to no avail.
In Washington, the State Department criticized the deportation Monday. “As we have said before, we strongly object to the Israeli government’s action,” spokesman Charles Redman said. “In our view, Mr. Awad should not have been deported.”
Premier Yitzhak Shamir said Monday that there was “absolutely no reason to allow a man who had been staying here illegally to remain in Israel, and who had furthermore acted against Israel’s security and good order.”
Shamir added, “We considered the matter carefully and acted in full consideration of the fact that there was no alternative.”
Awad, who left East Jerusalem when Israel captured it in the 1967 Six-Day War, and subsequently acquired American citizenship, is an advocate of non-violent Palestinian resistance to Israeli control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
REFUSES TO FLY ON EL AL
He founded an institution for the study of non-violence and urged Palestinians to resort to civil disobedience, such as refusal to pay taxes and boycotts of Israeli goods, instead of confrontations with Israeli security forces.
The authorities charged, however, that Awad abetted violence in the territories. But the case for his deportation was based only on the expiration of his visa.
Awad refused to travel by El Al, Israel’s national airline, saying he would have to be carried bodily aboard. He was permitted to fly by American carrier. But the authorities took extraordinary measures to avoid media coverage of his expulsion.
Reporters were unable to see or talk to him. Ben-Gurion Airport was declared out of bounds for them until his departure, which turned out to be most of the day, because the flight was four hours late taking off.
Other passengers on Awad’s flight were not permitted to board the aircraft until he was aboard and seated.
Awad’s American wife, Nancy Dye, flew to New York on Sunday to be on hand at his arrival at Kennedy Airport. She is expected to return here later to finish out the year as principal of the Friends School, an American Quaker institution in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
(Correspondent Howard Rosenberg in Washington contributed to this report.)
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.