HEBRON — In the early morning hours of March 11, the Israeli Ministry of Interior denied Christian Peacemaker Team member Greg Rollins (Surrey, BC) entry to Israel at Ben Gurion airport and returned him as far as Amsterdam. “I’m surprised, we have a very strong court order, it seems the Israeli security people at the airport made a mistake,” said Sani Khoury, with the law firm of Kuttab and Khoury. “Our settlement is in writing and it has the force of a court order. It says that there are no restrictions on Greg’s entering Israel, any past restrictions in Interior Ministry computers must be removed, previous (attempted deportation) proceedings will not be held against him — no restrictions.”
Kuttab and Khoury have asked for a reversal from the Israeli Interior Ministry, and expected a reply this morning. The case was in Jerusalem, but no conclusion was reached because the Ministry of Interior wants the input of the security services. It is expected that they will be able to have this input and make a decision Sunday morning. If Rollins is not re-admitted, they plan a “contempt of court” procedure against the Interior Ministry.
Rollins was the center of a case before the Israeli High Court last year challenging an Israel military order barring all Israelis and internationals from Palestinian-controlled areas. The order is rarely enforced but has a chilling effect on the work of Israeli and international peace groups. Rollins was arrested while observing the detention of a large number of Palestinian men in Hebron, and the ruling on his case held that the military order was too broad and should not be enforced absent any specific illegal activity.
This case will have an important effect on the continuing ability of human rights monitors to operate in the West Bank and Gaza. CPT asks for telephone and fax inquiries to be directed to the Israeli Interior Ministry.
RE: ENTRY OF CANADIAN ADVOCATE OF NONVIOLENCE GREG ROLLINS
Dear Minister Poraz;
I am concerned by the actions of security personnel at Ben Gurion Airport who blocked the entry of Gregory Rollins on March 11. As you know, Mr. Rollins was the subject of a case in the High Court last year, where the final court order settling the case determined that he presented no security risk and should be free to come and go without restriction.
Mr. Rollins has been a strong advocate of nonviolence in Hebron, who by his example and influence must be seen as a constructive presence in the West Bank.
It seems that the security personnel at the airport did not understand the significance of the court decision regarding Mr. Rollins. Blocking the entry of Mr. Rollins is against the best interests of Israel and makes it appear as if Israel does not want a reduction of violence in Hebron!
I sincerely hope that you will correct this error and permit Mr. Rollins to enter Israel immediately.