8/3: Minnesotans detained in and deported from Israel return home and speak out

Below is the announcement for a press conference on MONDAY, AUGUST
3rd. We are asking supporters who can to join us at the airport at
12:30 so we can welcome Sarah and Katrina home, and show strong support
for them at their first public statements since they were held by
authorities in Israel. Please join us in the baggage claim area (riding
the light rail train is a good way to avoid parking costs).

Israeli security forces refused entry to three U.S.
solidarity activists for attempting to participate in a human rights delegation.
They were treated as criminals, while their only goal was to learn about the
reality of life for the Palestinian people. Sarah Martin, member of Women
Against Military Madness, and Katrina Plotz, of the Anti-War Committee, refused
voluntary deportation, and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv informed us that they
were forcibly deported Sunday evening. The third traveler, Karen Sullivan also
of the Anti-War Committee, was already deported and returned home to
Minneapolis on Sunday. Sarah and Katrina
are expected to return home on a flight arriving at 12:37pm on Monday, August 3.
A press conference with them, their families and supporters, will happen at 1pm
in the baggage claim area of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport (Lindbergh

Thousands of people have been denied entry by Israel,
especially those who wish to see the Palestinian Territories. Not only
international solidarity activists, but millions of Palestinian refugees living
all over the world are prevented from returning to their homeland. Israel’s
policy of denying entry to people who support the Palestinian struggle and want
to report on the situation, is one aspect of a campaign to isolate the
Palestinian people from the world. This campaign includes hundreds military
checkpoints inside the Palestinian Territories, blocking humanitarian shipments
into the Gaza Strip, and the building of a massive Apartheid Wall. Palestinians experience repression every day.

Precisely because the official Israeli view receives much
more widespread coverage in the U.S. media than does the impact of these
policies on the lives of Palestinians, it is important that people like Sarah, Katrina
and Karen be able to go and report the situation accurately, and show the
Palestinian people that the world has not completely abandoned them.

In spite of its special relationship with the U.S., the Israeli
government showed no regard for the rights of American visitors, whose only
crime was to express solidarity with the people of occupied Palestine. Karen
reported that she was escorted onto her departing flight by an armed Israeli
guard, and that she was interrogated upon re-entering the U.S. The AWC secured
council for Sarah and Katrina, but they didn’t have access to speak to their
lawyer and exercise their full right to appeal their deportation. Advocates for
human rights should not be treated like criminals.

Their case resulted in an outpouring of support from across
the country. This will be their first public statements in the United State
since their unjust detention on Saturday, August 1.