Angie Zelter (also known as Angela Julian), a prominent nonviolent peace and human rights activist from the United Kingdom is currently being held for deportation by the Israeli Authorities in a cell at Ben Groin airport, Israel. Zelter, a founding member of the Trident Plough shares and the International Women’s Peace Service arrived at Ben Gurion airport on Sunday, 24th October.
Zelter was detained and interrogated by Israeli authorities for over 12 hours, before being denied entry to the country. She was detained as a ‘security risk,’ placed in a holding cell at the airport police station, and told that she could be held 7 days before being put on a flight back to Britain.
Zelter is a long-time British peace and justice activist and is a veteran of the women’s peace camp at Greenham Common against nuclear missiles and militarism.
In 1996, Zelter, along with three other women, disarmed a British Aerospace Hawk fighter jet destined for sale to Indonesia for use against the civilian population of East Timor. Zelter and the three women were acquitted off all charges.
Zelter was recently the focus of a documentary, The Loch Long Monster, about the work of the Trident Ploughshares. In 2001, the Right Livelihood award, also known as the “alternative Nobel Prize”, was awarded to Zelter and the Trident Ploughshares, along with Israeli peace activists and founders of Gush Shalom, Uri and Rachel Avnery. Other prominent recipients of the award include Israeli peace activists, Felicia Langer and Mordechai Vanunu, as well as other prominent human rights activists such as Walden Bello, Ken Saro-Wiwa and Vandana Shiva.
In 2003, she was denied entry to Israel and declared person-non-gratia by the Israeli government. She was forcibly removed from the country on New Years Day. The reason given by the Israeli Authorities for denying Zelter entry in 2003 and in 2004 is her non-violent peace activities on behalf of the Palestinian people. On both occasions,the Israeli Authorities deemed Zelter to be a “security risk”.
The detention and denial of entry of human rights activists like Zelter reveals that Israel does not adhere to the rule of law in its policies towards nonviolent internationals who support justice for Palestinians.