Benisch says Nobel laureate knew of deportation order

Supreme Court president proposes state allow Mairead Maguire to remain in country until she finished series of scheduled meetings.

By DAN IZENBERG
October 4, 2010 10:44
2 minute read.
A Soldier helps Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead

Rachel Corrie 311. (photo credit: IDF)

 
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The Supreme Court on Monday made it clear that it did not believe Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire's claim that she did not know about the deportation order issued against her earlier this year for 10 years when she arrived in Israel last week.

Supreme Court President Dorit Benisch proposed that the state allow her to remain in the country until Wednesday when a series of meetings she was scheduled to attend was scheduled to end.

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Benisch along with Justice Asher Grunis indicated that for "overall" reasons, which they did not explain, the state are to consider that option. Nevertheless, Benisch added that she was certain Maguire knew about the deportation order, and did not come to Israel in good faith or with "friendly intentions."

The hearing recessed while the state representative, Attorney Hani Ofek, consulted with her superiors about the courts proposal. Before leaving she said she doubted the state would agree because of the issue of Israel's sovereignty and its right to prevent those who it does not want to enter the country.

Benisch replied that the court was in no way "challenging Israel's sovereignty."

"Do you thihnk that we would cast doubt on Israel's sovereignty because of this woman, (a reference to Maguire)" Benisch continued.

On Sunday the state said that the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner “took the law into her own hands” when she flew to Israel last week, after having been told she would not be allowed into the country.

The assertion came in the state’s response to an appeal by Maguire to the Supreme Court against a lower court decision handed down on Friday, rejecting her first appeal against the deportation orders.

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The first deportation order against Maguire was issued on September 30, 2009, after she participated in the voyage of the Arion, a vessel operated by “Free Gaza” that was trying to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. The order was to be in force for 10 years.

In June 2010, a few days after the incident in which Israeli commandos stopped the Mavi Marmara on its way to Gaza, Maguire participated in the voyage of the MV Rachel Corrie, which also tried to break the blockade. She was brought to Israel and issued another deportation order, this one in effect until 2020.

Despite these orders, Maguire intended to co-lead a delegation organized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative to Israel and the West Bank from September 28 to October 6. In February, the organizer of the delegation, Liz Bernstein, informed the government of the planned trip and expressed concern that Maguire would not be allowed to enter the country.

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