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Jul-14-2011 00:31printcomments

Australians Set Important Legal Precedent for the Right to Visit Palestine

Israel has detained or deported more than 120 people who flew to Tel Aviv at the invitation of the “Welcome to Palestine” initiative.

Sylvia Hale and Vivienne Porzolt
Sylvia Hale and Vivienne Porzolt

(TEL AVIV) - In a ground-breaking win which challenges the Israeli government’s unwarranted detention of hundreds of human rights campaigners from around the world, Sylvia Hale and Vivienne Porzolt have won their appeal from a deportation order and will be free in a few hours. The two Australians were detained at Tel Aviv airport on Tuesday on orders from the Israeli Interior Minister when they said they intended to visit Palestine.

Alison Barnes, Sylvia's daughter, says "I am overwhelmed, so thrilled and excited to hear she is safe and will soon be free. I can hardly wait to speak to my mother."

Australian consular officials have contacted the families of Syvlia Hale and Vivienne Porzsolt, advising them that the two women will be released when the judgement has been translated into English for them to sign. They will then have 24 hours to apply to the Israeli military for permission to travel to Palestine. If this is not granted they are to leave Israel.

This is a groundbreaking judgement which places into doubt hundreds of deportation orders made by the Israeli Interior Minister in recent days based on the fact that foreigners were seeking to visit Palestine. This judgement has important implications for others detained by Israel including a series of similar trials listed for hearing in coming days.

Mr David Shoebridge, NSW Greens MP said "The advice from Israel is, this case has set a precedent with the Court holding that, simply because a person wishes to visit the Palestinian people, is not a sufficient basis for them to be deported from Israel." "This is a testament to the courage and resilience of two women who called the Israeli government's bluff and won.” said Mr Shoebridge.

Israel has detained or deported more than 120 people who flew to Tel Aviv at the invitation of the “Welcome to Palestine” initiative. Israel controls all border crossings into Palestine. The “Welcome to Palestine” initiative seeks to highlight Israel’s discriminatory treatment of Palestinians, in particular the denial of their right to receive international visitors.

Americans for a Stronger Israel

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