Mairead Corrigan Maguire, AP
Mairead Corrigan Maguire appearing at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem yesterday. Photo by AP
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The Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal by Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire against a decision by the Petah Tikva District Court to order her deportation. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, together with Justices Asher Grunis and Neal Hendel, ruled that there was no flaw in the District Court's ruling which upheld a ban on Corrigan from entering the country and ordered her deportation.

In its ruling, the panel of justices wrote that the Irish peace activist should have first opted for the legal option available to her, which was to apply to the interior minister against the ban on her entering the country, and only then challenge the Interior Ministry's decision in court.

"When the appellant opted to take the law into her own hands and come to Israel despite the ban on her entry, she is not entitled to the [legal] aid she is now asking for, and this on the basis of the ground rules to which we apply our judicial discretion," the justices wrote.

However, the justices also said that it would have been best for the state to have accepted the court's recommendation and allowed Maguire a 48-hour entry visa to join a delegation of women's rights activists who planned to travel to Jerusalem, Haifa, Nazareth, Ramallah, Hebron and Bil'in to learn from the work of female peace builders.

The court did say, however, that in the future Maguire may apply to nullify the ban on her entry.

Attorneys from Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel - said the court was wrong to ignore the basis for the refusal to allow Maguire to enter Israel, which they said was politically motivated.

Maguire was held at Ben-Gurion International Airport's detention facility while she appealed Israel's refusal to allow her into the country. She was denied entry because of her participation in efforts to run the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory of Gaza, the foreign ministry said.

Maguire was aboard the MV Rachel Corrie, an Irish cargo ship that set sail for Gaza in June despite the Israeli blockade. The ship was seized by the Israel Navy before it reached the Gaza Strip and its passengers were deported.

The peace activist said she was unaware of being banned from entry as a result of her role in the MV Rachel Corrie in June.