On Tuesday July 6, 2004 at 2:00 pm, US citizen, Ann Petter will be brought before an Israeli judge at Tel Aviv’s District Court after being denied entry into Israel at Ben Gurion Airport and spending nearly two weeks in an Israeli jail.

On June 23, the 44 year-old graphic designer from New York was detained for nearly 10 hours at Ben Gurion Aiport without explanation and later told that she was refused entry into the country based on “security” concerns. Petter was accompanying to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor. She was planning to attend a wedding in Israel and participate in the International Solidarity Movement’s Freedom Summer campaign, a 56-day campaign of nonviolent action for freedom and against occupation that includes a 3-week peace march along the path of the Apartheid Wall. Ann Petter’s legal representative, Adv. Yael Berda, obtained an injunction on the deportation order after Ann refused to be deported without a legal procedure.

Advocate Shamai Leibowitz says, "The words 'security threat' and 'terrorism' are the most abused words of our times, and Israel is the primary abuser of these words. Ms. Petter represents no security threat to the state of Israel and is being denied entry for the same reason thousands of other human rights people have been denied. She simply wants to witness the current situation in the Middle East with her own eyes and stand peacefully in support of human rights."

Over the past 3 weeks, the number of international citizens who have been denied entry at Ben Gurion airport has notably increased. At least 10 people coming from different countries have been detained and denied entry after being interrogated about their affiliation with the International Solidarity Movement. Dozens others have been harassed, intimidated and extensively searched by the security services of the airport. According to Adv. Yael Berda, the Israeli authorities must differentiate between physical and political dangers. Denying people entry into the country based on the latter violates the principles of democracy. “The Israeli security services are treating us like an illegal organization in an effort to stop nonviolent resistance to illegal occupation policies. In doing such, they are encouraging violent resistance” said ISM spokesperson Huwaida Arraf.

For more information please contact:

In Palestine:
Huwaida Arraf (ISM) at +972-547-473-308

Attorney Yael Berda at +972 68 743 083
Attorney Shamai Leibowitz at +972 64 414 505

In New York:
Radhika Sainath (ISM) at +1-(917) 669-6903
Carol Workman (Ann’s sister) at +1-(802) 655-3250 END