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American Woman Detained at Israeli Airport


American Woman Detained at Israeli Airport Resists Deportation

American Woman Detained at Israeli Airport Resists Deportation Plans to attend wedding and peace march turn into fight for personal freedom

June 25, 2004 -- New York, NY-- Ann Petter, a professional graphic designer born in Worcester, Massachusetts was detained by Israeli authorities and interrogated for over ten hours Wednesday afternoon upon her arrival at Ben Gurion airport. The 44 year old woman, who resides in Manhattan, is currently being held in a detention center outside the airport following her resistance to deportation.

“Can you believe the Israeli government is threatened by a 5’4” tall 110 pound designer with asthma simply because during my vacation I planned to cross the border and see the Israeli occupation with my own eyes?” says Petter. “Wow, I guess I am experiencing first hand what Palestinians go through everyday. I am not the face of terrorism but a peaceful person deeply concerned about my friends on both sides of the fence.” Petter had intended to spend two weeks vacation in the region attending a wedding in Israel, visiting with Palestinian and Israeli artists and attending a nonviolent march with Israelis, Palestinians and foreigners along Israel’s West Bank wall as part of the International Solidarity Movement’s (ISM) “Freedom Summer Palestine 2004” campaign. According to the ISM, Israel denies entry to thousands of visitors to the Occupied Palestinian Territories eve and peace work.

“ISM’s Freedom Summer is a publicly announced campaign that supports Palestinian human rights and freedom and poses no security threat to Israel,” says Radhika Sainath who spent one year with ISM in the West Bank. “Non-violent civil disobedience only appears threatening to an oppressive government that wants to mask the truth by not allowing well-meaning individuals like Ann Petter to witness the current situation and stand peacefully in support of Palestinian human rights and self-determination.”

Israel has offered no reason as to why Petter is being detained, or why attempts were made to deport her Wednesday night. Fearful for her safety, Petter’s family has retained an attorney, Yael Berda who has received an injunction on Petter’s deportation until a yet-to-be scheduled court date.

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