Greetings and solidarity from Minnesota to our beloved sisters and brothers in Palestine:
We’re so sorry that we were unable to join you, but we’re glad that others were able to meet you and extend our friendship and solidarity. We were unfortunately denied entry at the airport in Tel Aviv and were told that we were a security threat to Israel. We know that the only reason we were denied entry is that the Israelis don’t want the world to know about the atrocities and injustices they perpetrate against Palestinians every day. We were labeled a security threat because we planned to bring your stories back to the U.S. with the goal of ending U.S. military aid to Israel, ending the occupation, and achieving justice for Palestinians, including the right of return.
When we were denied entry, we were told that we must board a plane back to the U.S. on the night we arrived. Sarah and I refused this order and were jailed in Israel for 24 hours. On the evening of Sunday, Aug 2, we were escorted to a plane by force, and were deported to the United States. Before that, we had been detained in separate cells and were unable to communicate with each other. We were denied access to a lawyer and to any kind of appeal. We were only allowed to communicate with the U.S, Embassy, whose officials refused to advocate for our rights or to help us continue our trip as planned.
We know that our experiences were only a small taste of the harrassment, intimidation, and injustice that Palestinians experience every day. We promise that we will continue to stand up for the rights of Palestinians however we can in the United States. And please know that many, many people support you and support your cause. When we arrived at the airport in Minneapolis, we were greeted by many supporters who were concerned about our well being, but more importantly were concerned and connected to the Palestinian struggle for justice. Word of our deportation spread quickly across the United States, and many people were outraged by the continuing injustice of the Israeli government. We were invited as your guests and should have been able to join you without interference by the occupation forces.
We will continue to fight for you and all Palestinians here in the United States, and we admire your courage and determination. Hopefully we will be able to meet sometime face to face, but for now, please know that we extend our most sincere solidarity to you as you struggle for justice. We will not forget you and we will not abandon the struggle for justice in Palestine. We are aware that families are being evicted from their homes in East Jeruslam and that the leaders of demonstrations against the Apartheid Wall have been arrested. You who struggle are not alone, and we will do everything we can in hopes that justice will prevail.
Again, we are so sorry that we were unable to meet you, but please know that you are in our hearts, and we wish you peace, courage, and determination to continue the struggle for justice in Palestine. We are thinking about you every day and will never be satisfied until Palestine is free.
Katrina Plotz, Sarah Martin, and Karen Sullivan