RAMALLAH, July 14 (JMCC) - Two 69-year-old internationals who sought to visit the West Bank were released from Israeli detention Wednesday after a judge ruled that the interior ministry had overstepped its authority.
Palestinians and their supporters say that the case is a new precedent in the fight for access
to the occupied Palestinian territories, whose borders are almost entirely controlled by Israel.
The women, a Australian and a New Zealander, were detained at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport earlier this week. Originally part of a flotilla seeking to break Israel's sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, the two joined an air flotilla organized mainly in Europe, where activists sought to draw attention to Israel's control of the borders of the West Bank. According to the group's press release
Omer Shatz, the attorney representing both women, stated that the order of release is a landmark precedent-setting case that will ease travel challenges to Palestine. The court accepted the position that the Ministry of Interior had overstepped its authority by preventing passage to Palestine, finding that the MOI had no authority to deny internationals entry to Palestine and that internationals should not be forced to lie about their intention to travel to the West Bank. Mr. Shatz stated that this is the first time that a deportation challenge has been presented to the Court and won. It is a landmark decision and one that holds precedent for all future cases.
Israeli officials had sought to deport the two women, along with dozens of other activists. They will now be given 24 hours to apply for permission to stay in Israel and enter the West Bank, reports The World Today