Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire was detained Tuesday at Ben-Gurion International Airport and once again faces deportation from Israel.
Maguire was one of the initiators of a flotilla to Gaza last May, sailing on the vessel Rachel Corrie, which was taken over by the Israeli navy without incident after the violence on another flotilla vessel, the Marmara, left nine activists dead.
Maguire appealed the order to prevent her entry and was held at the airport until a decision was reached. She arrived Tuesday morning from Frankfurt as part of a women's peace delegation which she was involved in organizing along with five other women Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
The Interior Ministry emphasized that after she was deported following the last flotilla, an permanent order was issued to prevent her from reentering. She was also told, the Ministry said, that if she nonetheless insisted on entering, she must obtain a special permit in advance.
The Ministry said Maguire had chosen to ignore the warning and came to Israel without a permit, so she was prevented from going through passport control and is now awaiting a flight that will take her back to her home country.
Maguire alights from the Rachel Corrie (Photo: IDF Spokesman)
Judy Williams, an American Nobel recipient who was expected to arrive to take part in the same delegation, said preventing entry to an activist like Maguire was very concerning. People who dedicate their lives to working for peace do not need to be considered a threat to security, she said.
After she was taken off the Rachel Corrie, Maguire had supper with staff from the immigration department of the Interior Ministry who had questioned her earlier. She smiled and recalled a previous flotilla in which she had participated in December 2009.
Maguire was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work in bridging between Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland. About two years ago she strongly criticized Israel and called for its exclusion from the UN, claiming its leadership had for many years ignored decisions by the international community about the conflict with the Palestinians.
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