Rabbis for Human Rights volunteer held

Theresa McDermont came to Israel to pick olives with Palestinian farmers for one month. Instead, she has been sitting in a detention cell for 12 days at Ben-Gurion airport. McDermont, a Scottish post office worker, said she hoped to be a volunteer for Rabbis for Human Rights, the organization that runs the olive harvest project designed to help Palestinian farmers cultivate land near the Green Line. According to McDermont's lawyer, Gabi Lasky, there is no reason for her detention and she is being detained under no charges. She said a possible reason for McDermont's detainment could be that "Israel doesn't want activists for human rights." McDermont attended the International Solidarity Movement's (ISM) International Nonviolence Conference held in Bethlehem last December. Micky Rosenfeld, the police spokesman, said no one is held without reason. According to Rosenfeld, "just mentioning the ISM" offers enough suspicion to deny someone's entry into Israel, adding that Israel has denied entrance to ISM members before. The ISM has been targeted, said Rosenfeld, because there is concrete evidence that in the past, it has provided terrorist groups with financial aid. Rabbi Arik Asherman, spokesman for Rabbis for Human Rights, said a volunteer for his group has never before been denied entry. McDermont will have a court hearing Monday, to decide whether she will be allowed entry into Israel or returned to Scotland.