Mairead Maguire, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her peace efforts in Northern Ireland, has been refused entry into Israel because of her involvement in the aid flotilla to Gaza last June, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.
Maguire was arrested during the Gaza aid flotilla last year when she and the rest of the crew of the MV Rachel Corrie were arrested for trying to break the blockade of Gaza by the Israeli navy. Five days prior, Israeli commandos had killed nine people on a boat that tried the same thing.
This time, Maguire was refused entry and detained at David Ben Gurion airport when she arrived with a delegation of women who were planning a tour of Jerusalem, Haifa, Nazareth, Ramallah, Hebron and Bil'in to observe how women were trying to create peace in the Middle East.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that Maguire had been denied because, “She had been on two or three flotillas to Gaza and, as is the case with participants in flotillas, she had been deported with all the other participants, and the law is that once you are deported you are denied an entry visa."
"I believe it was a deliberate action of confrontation," Palmor said.
According to Maguire's legal representative, Fatmeh El-Ajou, an attorney with Adalah, the legal center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Maguire was told by Israeli authorities at the time of her arrest over the aid flotilla that the arrest would "not prevent her from coming back to Israel."
"What the Israeli authorities told her today is that she won't be allowed to enter Israel for 10 years from now," El-Ajou said.