Israel Court Upholds Deportations
Jul. 04, 2002
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JERUSALEM (AP) _ A district judge on Thursday upheld a decision to deport two women, an American and Briton, who were arrested last month in a closed military area inside a Palestinian refugee camp.
The women _ Darlene Wallach, 51, from San Jose, Calif., and Josie Sandercock, 32, of Birmingham, England _ were arrested June 1 in Balata refugee camp near Nablus in the West Bank.
The women were among 17 foreigners who had entered Israel to show solidarity with Palestinians. Eight were arrested for being inside the closed camp and five of them were immediately deported. Sandercock, Wallach and a Japanese citizen, Makoto Hibbino, remained behind to contest the decision. Hibbino returned to Japan before the district court's decision.
The women have a week to leave the country but said they would appeal.
Israel has expelled 120 foreigners and more than 200 have been refused entry since March, when the Israeli military launched a massive offensive in the West Bank in response to a series of deadly suicide bombings.
Sandercock said she was acting as a ``human shield'' providing protection for Palestinians against Israeli forces. The foreigners also were escorting ambulances through Israeli checkpoints.
``Our presence provided protection for Palestinians,'' Wallach said.
The Interior Ministry said it ``does not allow and will not allow entry to those who come to support terror and the people who want to hurt the state of Israel.''