Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Anne Gray Returns Home After Israeli Jail Ordeal

Veteran peace and Green party activist Anne Gray , 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. Six other British activists were also aboard the flight which landed at Luton airport around midnight last night.

Ms Gray, who is well known in Haringey for her tireless community activism and campaigning as the Green Party parliamentary election candidate for Tottenham 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 after refusing to be deported. The British consul in Tel Aviv was speaking with them in the jail when Anne Gray and others were taken to the airport yesterday.

So, at least for Anne and the majority of British activists, their ordeal is over. They have succeeded in publicising the plight of the Palestinian people and the belligerent attitude of the Israeli authorities to peaceful protests.

Anne Gray is available for interviews.

For further information please call Anna Bragga on 078616 77343


Anonymous said...

Filthy? The cell was filthy? Really?
Sounds like enthusiasm for the music of words is overwhelming.

Anonymous said...

Well let's be precise. What I meant was
1) toilet stank, encrusted with stuff from months/years of use with no bleach or cleaning products

2) floor so dusty you couldn't take your shoes off except in bed without getting your feet grey with stuff.

3) grey smears all over the sink

Some other women found 4cm cockroaches in their cells, though I'm glad to say I didn't

It was 48 hours before the prison staff offered a broom or mop

Anne Gray

Anonymous said...

Hamas wouldn't even give you a cell.

They'd probably charge you for the bullet though.

Anonymous said...

Truly anonymous one, hiding behind the cloak of anonymit,

Do you let Hamas set the standards for what people pursuing remedies to human rights violations should be treated by a national government that purports to be civilised?

Or do you merely use the namede example of 'Hamas' to detract attention from what Anne Gray who I know and trust, has witnessed?

Alan Wheatley, Camden Green Party

PS: "Without courage there can be no truth, and without truth, there can be no other virtue." - Sir Walter Scott

Deborah Fink said...

This anonymous coward can't think much of Israel if he has to keep comparing it to Hamas....Shouldn't we expect more from 'The only democracy in the Middle East'?

It's a pity that Anne's MP is the useless Blairite David Lammy as he should be asking questions in parliament about this.