Irish peace activist refused entry to Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Irish Nobel laureate was refused entry to Israel because of her involvement in a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Mairead Maguire, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her efforts to fight the sectarian violence in her native Northern Ireland, was fighting Wednesday to be allowed to enter Israel a day after being detained at Ben Gurion Airport and threatened with deportation.

Maguire reportedly was told she will not be allowed to enter Israel for 10 years following her participation in a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in June. At the time she signed a document agreeing not to enter Israel again without a special permit, Haaretz reported.  

Maquire, who was scheduled to meet a group of women touring Israel and Palestinian areas to learn about the work of female peace activists, spent the night in an Israeli detention center after refusing to board a plane back to Britain. She was scheduled to have an emergency hearing Wednesday in a Petach Tikvah court.

She arrived in Israel the same day as the interception of a boat carrying Jewish peace activists bound for Gaza carrying a small cargo of symbolic humanitarian goods.

Three of four of the international activists aboard the boat  Irene were deported Tuesday; a fourth, from Germany, refused to be deported. She reportedly will be deported Sunday after a hearing.

Meanwhile, several of the Jewish and Israeli passengers on board the Irene told Israeli media that Israeli Defense Forces soldiers used excessive force after they boarded the Gaza-bound ship, including hitting them and using a Taser gun.

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