Green Party Campaigner Returns Home After Visiting Israeli Jail

Denied Opportunity to Visit Palestinian Groups

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Veteran peace activist and retired academic, Anne Gray (see photo attached), 66, one of twelve Britons arrested and jailed at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv last Friday 8th July, was released late last night and placed on a deportation flight from Tel Aviv after spending five gruelling days of incarceration in a filthy cramped cell. 

Anne Gray
Peace activists arrive at Luton Airport with Anne Gray on far right

Ms Gray, who is well known in Haringey for her tireless community activism and campaigning as a Green Party parliamentary election candidate last year, had planned to stay in Palestine until July 16th, as part of an international 'Welcome to Palestine' initiative , working with Palestinian NGOs to support and improve the daily lives of local people.

Just hours after arriving back in London, Anne Gray said:

“As soon as we said we were visiting Palestine, the airport authorities branded us, and several hundred other travellers, as troublemakers intent on demonstrating and disrupting the airport. We were given no chance of explaining who we were and the purpose of our trip.

“Our mission was entirely peaceful. We simply wanted to study and work with Palestinian NGOs, listening and observing and lending support with things like negotiating checkpoints and taking children to school through areas with hostile settlers. The organisations we were planning to visit do cultural activities like dance, theatre, and education in human rights law, drawing youth away from stone throwing into other forms of political expression.

“I’m furious at the way we have been treated. We were denied entry to Palestine for no good reason at all – it was all stereotyping, a total smear campaign by the Israeli government and media.”

Deputy Leader of the Wales Green Party, Pippa Bartolotti, is still being detained in Israel with three other women from Wales. The British consul in Tel Aviv was speaking with them in the jail when Anne Gray and others were taken to the airport yesterday.

July 14, 2011