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Minnesotans detained in and deported from Israel return home and speak out

by Anti-War Committee |
August 3, 2009
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Fight Back News Service is circulating the following announcement  from the Anti-war Committee for their press conference on Monday August 3:

We are asking supporters who can to join us at the airport at 12:30 so we can welcome Sarah and Katrina home, and show strong support for them at their first public statements since they were held by authorities in Israel. Please join us in the baggage claim area (riding the light rail train is a good way to avoid parking costs). 

Minnesotans detained in and deported from Israel return home and speak out 

Israeli security forces refused entry to three U.S. solidarity activists for attempting to participate in a human rights delegation. They were treated as criminals, while their only goal was to learn about the reality of life for the Palestinian people. Sarah Martin, member of Women Against Military Madness, and Katrina Plotz, of the Anti-War Committee, refused voluntary deportation, and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv informed us that they were forcibly deported Sunday evening. The third traveler, Karen Sullivan also of the Anti-War Committee, was already deported and returned home to Minneapolis on Sunday. Sarah and Katrina are expected to return home on a flight arriving at 12:37pm on Monday, August 3. A press conference with them, their families and supporters, will happen at 1pm in the baggage claim area of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport (Lindbergh Terminal). 

Thousands of people have been denied entry by Israel, especially those who wish to see the Palestinian Territories. Not only international solidarity activists, but millions of Palestinian refugees living all over the world are prevented from returning to their homeland. Israel's policy of denying entry to people who support the Palestinian struggle and want to report on the situation, is one aspect of a campaign to isolate the Palestinian people from the world. This campaign includes hundreds military checkpoints inside the Palestinian Territories, blocking humanitarian shipments into the Gaza Strip, and the building of a massive Apartheid Wall.  Palestinians experience repression every day.  

Precisely because the official Israeli view receives much more widespread coverage in the U.S. media than does the impact of these policies on the lives of Palestinians, it is important that people like Sarah, Katrina and Karen be able to go and report the situation accurately, and show the Palestinian people that the world has not completely abandoned them.               

In spite of its special relationship with the U.S., the Israeli government showed no regard for the rights of American visitors, whose only crime was to express solidarity with the people of occupied Palestine. Karen reported that she was escorted onto her departing flight by an armed Israeli guard, and that she was interrogated upon re-entering the U.S. The AWC secured council for Sarah and Katrina, but they didn’t have access to speak to their lawyer and exercise their full right to appeal their deportation. Advocates for human rights should not be treated like criminals. 

Their case resulted in an outpouring of support from across the country. This will be their first public statements in the United States since their unjust detention on Saturday, August 1.

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