AN IRISH mum has gone on hunger strike while being held in an Israeli detention centre.Maire Ni Mhurchu (56), also known as Dee Murphy, travelled to Israel as part of a peaceful protest group.
However, minutes after landing in Tel Aviv with 120 other protesters on Friday, she was taken to one of two detention centres south of Tel Aviv.While half the activists have since been released and deported, Ms Murphy is still being held in Israel.
Ms Murphy, who is originally from Cork but now lives in Wales, travelled with the Swansea Palestine Community Link, one of several European factions that planned to take part in a week-long "flytilla" of protests.
She and another member of the Swansea group said they wanted "to express solidarity with the Palestinians in the West Bank and draw attention to life under Israeli occupation".
Dubliner Paul O'Connor, a film-maker, who is one of the founding members of the Welsh link and works with Ms Murphy, said she had been taken to the Giv'on immigration detention centre in Ramle, along with other women while the men are being held at Eyal.
"I spoke to Dee on Friday. Israeli authorities diverted the plane to a different terminal and they surrounded it by police -- there were about 60 police officers lined up with handcuffs when they arrived," he said.
"About 30 of the women were then taken to a room, and then the phone died -- I presume it was taken off her -- but I got some news through the Irish ambassador for Israel, Breifne O'Reilly, who said he had visited them over the weekend and they were in high spirits.
Paul (42) said that he understood the mother-of-three was being kept in a room with seven other detainees.
"It's overcrowded and at this time of the year, it would be stifling," he said.