Trident Plowsharers founder /Angie Zelter deported from Israel
PRESS RELEASE 1st January 2003 For immediate release
International human rights activist Angie Zelter deported from Israel on New Years Day.
Angie Zelter, a prominent nonviolent peace and human rights activist from Norfolk is due to arrive back in the UK tonight having been deported from Israel on the grounds that she had ‘disrupted the demolition of houses ordered by the government’.
52-year-old English humanitarian worker Angie Zelter arrived Sunday evening (Dec 29th) at Ben Gurion Airport, Tel-Aviv, and was detained as a ‘security risk’ and denied entrance to Israel. She went in order to testify in a criminal trial against a settler from Kiryat Arba who assaulted her, cursed her and spat at her face, when she photographed him throwing stones at Palestinians in Hebron badly injuring a young boy .
Angie was placed in a holding cell at the airport police station and told that she would be immediately put on a flight back to Britain. The UK intervened to stop the deportation temporarily. She decided to fight the deportation order and her lawyer, attorney Shamai Leibowitz, filed a petition in the Tel Aviv district court. The authorities realised that soon a judge might issue an interim injunction, so before the judge on duty could be found - the Ministry of Interior officials tried to force her onto an aeroplane.
Angie was assaulted by the Head of the Immigration Police in the airport, wrapped up in a blanket, and forcefully dragged to an Austrian Airlines aeroplane. She screamed for help, and tried to peacefully resist but they violently threw her onto the aeroplane. She continued shouting for help, and the pilot refused to take off and ordered the government officials to take her off the aeroplane. She was brought back to the cell at the airport. Meanwhile, at 8pm, the judge on duty finally issued a stay of the deportation, and scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, December 31, at 11:30 am at the District Court in Tel Aviv.
At the court the judge, Ruth Eliaz, authorised the deportation, telling her she wasn't wanted in the State of Israel because of her work with the International Women's Peace Service (IWPS) and because she had disrupted the demolition of houses ordered by the government! After the verdict a large group of peace activists - among them Rabbi Arik Asherman - surrounded Angie in an effort to prevent police from taking her and were themselves forcibly removed from the courtroom by security personnel. (Most of them know Angie personally from having picked olives together.)
Angie's lawyer, Adv. Shammai Leibowitz started proceedings to get an injunction from the Supreme Court to stop the deportation pending an appeal. Last night this appeal was rejected
An IWPS spokeswoman said
‘The reasons for Angie’s deportation must be made public. By being forced against her will to return to Britain without legitimate reason, it reveals that Israel does not adhere to the rule of law in its policies towards nonviolent internationals who support justice for Palestinians.’
Angie Zelter will hold a press conference tomorrow morning (2nd Jan) in Central London please ring for details
Contact Jane Tallents 0845 4588 367 (international +44 1436 679194) IWPS (+972)(0)9-251-6644 Notes for journalists: Angie Zelter is a founder of Trident Ploughshares, a prominent anti-nuclear organisation. Her newest project is the International Women’s Peace Service-Palestine, a nonviolent human rights monitoring and intervention organisation based in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. Angie’s long-time peace work is the subject of a documentary currently being produced for British television. Angie was a recipient in 2001 of the Right Livelihood award, often called the “Alternative Nobel Prize”.