Israel Denies Entry to pro-Palestinian American Jew

An Israeli judge ruled the activist, who arrived at the airport with his pregnant Israeli wife, was still subject to a 10-year ban from 2002.

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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Amira Hass
Amira Hass

A Jewish-American pro-Palestinian activist who is married to an Israeli woman was not allowed to enter the country with his pregnant wife. An Israeli court rejected his petition to cancel the order against his entry Tuesday, and he is expected to be put on a plane back to the United States Wednesday night.

Adam Shapiro, 41, and his wife Huwaida Arraf, 37, are among the founders of the International Solidarity Movement and have worked on behalf of the Palestinian cause for over a decade. Arraf has both American and Israeli citizenship.

In the summer of 2002, Shapiro was arrested during a demonstration near the West Bank city of Nablus and later deported and banned from entering Israel for 10 years. As a result, Shapiro, a documentary film director, and Arraf, a lawyer, have lived separately for much of the period since then. The couple participated in a number of the protest flotillas to Gaza and Shapiro is now involved with the Irish human rights organization Front Line Defenders, which work to protect human rights activists threatened by various regimes, such as the government of Bahrain.

Shapiro was again arrested in Israel in 2009 after the Israel Defense Forces diverted the Gaza-bound ship he was on. He was then deported, while Arraf remained in Israel. She was not investigated or charged at the time. Shapiro and Arraf, who is eight months pregnant, hoped that more than ten years after the original deportation order, the Israeli authorities would allow Shapiro to enter the country – especially since the couple is expecting a child.

Majd Badr, a lawyer, recently looked into Shapiro’s prospects for entry. He was told Shapiro would have to file a visa request with the Israeli consulate – a response he says did little to clarify Shapiro’s status.

Arraf and Shapiro landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport on Tuesday. Shapiro filed a petition with the Central District Court in Lod and was allowed to stay in Israel until Judge Avraham Yaakov ruled Wednesday to uphold the 2009 deportation order, which Shapiro's lawyer said he was unaware of. Yaakov was not swayed by Shapiro’s offer to refrain from entering the West Bank. He said the only way to appeal a 10-year deportation order and refusal of entry by the Interior Minister is by petitioning the High Court of Justice, Israel’s Supreme Court.

Planes lining up for take off at Ben-Gurion Airport, April 2010.Credit: Moti Milrod

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