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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Irishwoman refusing to sign deportation papers in Israel

The Irish Times - Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Irishwoman refusing to sign deportation papers in Israel
MARY FITZGERALD, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

AN IRISHWOMAN detained in Israel since last week after travelling there as part of a so-called “flytilla” protest is continuing to refuse to sign deportation papers.Dee Murphy (56) was held after disembarking from an aircraft at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on Friday. Ms Murphy, from Cork but living in Wales, had flown to Israel with activists from Swansea. They planned to visit Palestinian families in the West Bank as part of the “flytilla” protest. Ms Murphy is a founding member of an organisation called the Swansea Palestine Community Link.

Ms Murphy had travelled to Israel on her Irish passport. Ireland’s Ambassador to Israel, Breifne O’Reilly, has met her at the detention facility.Ms Murphy and another detained activist from Swansea, Fiona Williams, have told relatives and friends that they will continue to resist deportation and are prepared to stay in the detention centre until at least the weekend.

“They are doing this as a form of protest against the activities of the Israeli government,” said Paul O’Connor, a friend of the two women.Mr O’Connor said he had spoken to Ms Murphy yesterday morning by phone.She informed him that she and Ms Williams had briefly gone on hunger strike after which their demand to make phone calls was met.

Ms Murphy complained that the facility where they were being held was “scruffy, dirty and very basic”.
More than 100 foreign activists have been detained as part of the “flytilla” protest. Israel also persuaded airlines to prevent another 200 from boarding Israel-bound aircraft from Europe last week.

The protest came after a bid by activists to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was stymied when Greece prevented a flotilla of ships from sailing to the territory.
An Irish vessel was earlier forced to abandon its plans to take part in the flotilla after it was damaged. Activists on board, including a number of Irish politicians, claimed the boat had been sabotaged.Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has warned similar protests will be blocked in the future. “Israel will continue to frustrate provocations and attempts to break through our borders, whether by land, sea or air,” he said at the weekend.
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