State orders Maguire to leave immediately, denies appeal

Justices dismiss Nobel laureate’s claim she didn't know was barred from entering country; "Israel’s sovereignty remains intact," Beinisch says.

By DAN IZENBERG
October 4, 2010 23:37
3 minute read.
Mairead Maguire deportation hearing nobel

Nobel Mairead Maguire Court 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire must leave the country, in accordance with a deportation order barring her from entering the country for the next 10 years, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday evening.

Earlier in the day, the state rejected a proposal by the court to allow Maguire, from Ireland, to remain in Israel until Wednesday.

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She arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on September 28 as part of a delegation organized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, which was scheduled to hold meetings in Israel and the West Bank until October 6. The organizer of the trip, Liz Bernstein, was told explicitly before the trip that Maguire would not be allowed into the country.

Nevertheless, Maguire claimed she did not know about the deportation order until she arrived here.

The government issued two orders prohibiting Maguire from entering Israel because she participated in two voyages organized by the “Free Gaza” group, aboard the MV Arion in 2009 and the MV Rachel Corrie in 2010, aimed at breaking the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

After being told at the airport she would not be let into the country, Maguire appealed against the deportation order to the Central District Court.

When the appeal was rejected, she appealed the lower court decision to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and Justice Asher Grunis made it clear that they did not believe Maguire’s claim that she did not know she was barred from the country. Despite that, they suggested allowing her to remain in Israel until Wednesday, without rescinding the deportation order.

Grunis said at one point, “She knew [she was prohibited from entering Israel] and came here deliberately, as a provocation. Her arguments are baseless. Nevertheless, we should take broader considerations into account that are beyond the level of the state prosecution.”

Beinisch said the same. “I am prepared to assume that she did not come here in good faith and with friendly aims.”

She, too, suggested that Maguire be allowed to stay but that “the deportation order should not be canceled. If she wants to challenge it, let her do so from abroad.”

The state’s representative, attorney Hani Ofek, said Maguire should not have been allowed access to the courts in the first place, because she did not first go through the proper administrative channels to have the deportation order canceled, specifically the Ministry of Interior, which issued the deportation orders. It was only because she had arrived in Israel as a fait accompli that she was able to obtain a court hearing, said Ofek.

“We cannot allow her to obtain an advantage just because she took the law into her own hands,” she continued, which would be a violation of Israeli sovereignty.

Ofek agreed to Beinisch’s request to consult with her superiors regarding the court’s proposal, but said she doubted that they would agree because of the sovereignty issue.

“Israel’s sovereignty remains intact,” replied Beinisch.

“What, will we question it because of this woman?” said Beinisch, referring to Maguire.

As Ofek had predicted, the government rejected the court’s proposal. “[Maguire] tried to enter the country by violating the principles of the administrative process,” Ofek told the court. “She must first apply to the minister of interior [to repeal the deportation order], as is customary.”

At the end of the hearing, the court allowed Maguire to speak.

She said she had come to Israel at peace with her conscience.

She had not known there was a deportation order against her for 10 years and was shocked when told so by the immigration department.

Maguire said she loved the Israeli people and the Palestinians and was saddened by the violence and conflict here. She said she had Israeli and Palestinian friends and that she had come as a member of a group that believed in peace and a possible solution.

She called on Israel to stop its “apartheid policy and the siege on Gaza.”

At that point, Grunis interrupted her speech and told her “this is no place for propaganda


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