Israeli court rejects Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s appeal against deportation order

Friday, October 1, 2010

Israeli court rejects Nobel laureate’s appeal

JERUSALEM — An Israeli court on Friday rejected an Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s appeal against her deportation orders over entering Israel while being banned from the country for trying to reach Gaza on a blockade-busting vessel in June.

Mairead Corrigan Maguire was detained at an airport lockup earlier this week for violating the conditions of her ban imposed in June, when she was aboard a Gaza-bound ship trying to breach the blockade.

At the time, Maguire was told she couldn’t return for 10 years except with special approval.

The district court rejected her appeal but gave her 48 hours to allow time for a Supreme Court appeal.

Maguire, 66, is an outspoken champion of Palestinian statehood. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work with Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

Israel has banned other pro-Palestinian activists from entering, including Jewish-American linguist Noam Chomsky in May. The government later said that was a mistake.

In June, Maguire tried to reach Gaza aboard the Rachel Corrie vessel that attempted to break Israel’s three-year naval blockade of Gaza. After capturing that ship, Israel detained and deported her and other activists on board.

That ship’s takeover followed a deadly Israeli raid in May of another Gaza-bound ship — part of a Turkish flotilla — that sparked international condemnation of Israel after its commandos killed nine Turkish activists, one of them a dual Turkish-American citizen. Both sides claimed self-defense.

Israel has since eased the embargo on the Palestinian coastal strip, run by the militant Hamas, but has kept the naval blockade in place because of concerns that Hamas will smuggle in weapons.

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