Tue 12th July 2011; NO EMBARGO
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Media Release
ISRAEL TO DEPORT LAST UK CITIZEN TONIGHT
See below the Press Release from Swansea Palestine Action relating to Israel’s unannounced deportation of 3 of the last 4 UK citizens detained since last Friday, and the expectation that the final UK citizen, Swansea woman Dee Murphy (56), is expected to land at Luton Airport at 8pm tonight.
Subject: Press Release: Relief as Welsh Women return from Israel
Relief as Welsh Women return from Israel
Palestine supporting women from Wales will arrive back in the UK today
from Israel. Their ordeal is coming to a close seven days after Israel
shackled, handcuffed and imprisoned the 4 women.
Fiona Williams from Mumbles will be back in Swansea around 1pm while D
Murphy from Swansea will land at 8pm in Luton airport tonight.
It has been a day of confusion as for more than more than 12 hours no
direct word has been heard from the women leaving friends and
relatives to feel concerned about their safety. This morning the British
consulate revealed that they too are confused. Charmaine Farrow, Assistant
Desk Officer for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
wrote in an email today;
'My colleague from Tel Aviv had gone to the prison to visit Fiona and the
other British nationals this morning, when he got there he was informed
that they had been returned to the UK last night. Unfortunately my
colleagues were not aware of this until this morning.'
Paul O'Connor, a spokesperson for Swansea Palestine Action said today
'We are all relieved that the women are safely back in Wales and we look
forward to greeting them back as heroes. They stood up to the bullying
tactics of Israel and showed just how absurd the situation is. Hopefully
their actions will pave a smoother path for future trips for those wanting
to visit the people of Palestine.'
Latest updates on http://www.swanseapalestine.org
Details of the 4 Welsh women
Pippa Bartolotti, 57, deputy leader of the Wales Green Party
Pippa has lived in Malpas, Newport West for 25 years and has worked in
business most her life - from the fashion industry in London, to
electronics and software development here in Wales where she has held
various directorships. Ms Bartolotti, has lived in Israel for seven years..
Joyce lives in Newport and is a member of the Socialist Labour Party. She
collected food with her mother and distributed parcels for the miners
during the strike.
D Murphy 56, Book keeper
D was born and raised in Cork, Ireland and has lived in Swansea for 26
years. She has 3 adult children still living in Swansea. She works as a
book-keeper for Undercurrents, a local arts charity. She founded the
Swansea Palestine community link and has organised football matches
between Wales and Palestine. D raised funds to purchase an ambulance which
she drove to Gaza to deliver to a hospital.
Fiona Williams, 47, Swansea Council worker
Fiona lives in Mumbles and works for Swansea council as a development
worker. She is a single mum and has a son. She organised a community
auction to raise funds for herself and D to travel to Palestine. Fiona has
never been to Palestine
SPSC Notes for editors:
Photos of handcuffed and shackled UK citizens on website version of previous media release, free to use, here: http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3661
Background, previous media releases, and updates here:
1. “Welcome to Palestine” is a French initiative that now has participation from across Europe and the USA.
The English-language section of the French website can be accessed here: http://bienvenuepalestine.com/?page_id=232
According to the group:
Israel’s standard practice of deporting anyone that they believe supports Palestine means than human rights activists invariably have to lie in order to pass passport control at Tel-Aviv.
However, having nothing to hide, and coming with totally peaceful intentions, we have decided that we are no longer willing to lie in order to do something that no other state would consider illegal.
Government agencies have been informed, and the Israeli authorities have been forwarded all information on our intentions.
Contrary to claims that we aim “to spread chaos at Tel Aviv airport”, our only aim is visit Palestinian families, share their daily life for a week, visit the towns, villages and refugee camps, discover the difficulties encountered by their inhabitants, and experience their culture and expectations.
2. Organisers of the Palestine visit chose the date of the 'fly-in' to coincide with the 7th anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling on 9th July 2004 that Israel's West Bank wall, which today almost completely encircles the city of Bethlehem, is illegal.
The ICJ ruling on the illegality of Israel’s Apartheid Wall can be found here:
3a. The UK co-ordinator of the initiative is Mick Napier, who, along with the majority of international participants, was due to arrive in Ben Gurion Airport on Friday July 8th.
Mick Napier is the chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and can be contacted on:
00 44 (0)7931200361
3b. Sofiah Macleod is the UK-based contact for press enquiries.
Sofiah Macleod: + 44 (0)7958002591 or + 44 (0)131 620 0052 or + 44 (0) 7401631658
4. Details of the UK citizens who had planned to visit Bethlehem, including statements and photos of some, here:
5. Updates available at: www.scottishpsc.org.uk and
Twitter @scottishpsc : http://twitter.com/#!/scottishpsc
6. Letter from Caroline Lucas MP to William Hague:
7. Jerusalem Post on honesty ensuring deportation:
Jerusalem Post, 4th April 2011:
“700 pro-Palestinian activists plan to land in Ben-Gurion”
8. Quote from New York Times reference criticism of Israeli leaders’ overreaction:
“Israel Blocks Flights to Protest Gathering”
New York Times, 8th July 2011
9. Details of Jerusalem Post reporter, Larry Derfner’s arrest:
“Mobocracy at Ben-Gurion Airport” by Larry Derfner, 8th July 2011
10. Jerusalem Post report of arrest of Israeli Activists:
Jerusalem Post, Friday 8th July 2011
“Aharonovitch: 100 activists expected to land in Israel”
11. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netenyahu “has ordered Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to exert all efforts to prevent an infiltration into Israel's borders.”
Haaretz, Wednesday 6th July 2011:
“Israel deports five ahead of anticipated influx of pro-Palestinian activists”
12. Statement from Netenyahu’s office:
"This planned event is a continuation of the attempts to undermine Israel's right to exist and to attempt to breach its borders and sovereignty by sea, land and by air," according to the MAAN news agency.
Maan News Agency, Tuesday 5th July 2011:
“Israel prepares for pro-Palestinian airport protest”
13. For Desmond Tutu’s support of an arms embargo on Israel, see Global BDS Movement:
14. Haaretz, Thursday 7th July 2011:
“Israel instructs foreign airlines to prevent departure of 300 pro-Palestinian activists”