Irish Nobel Peace laureate sheds light on Palestinian plight

Mairead Corrigan Maguire — an Irish Nobel Peace laureate, who won the prize in 1976 for her historic work in Northern Ireland, and pro-Palestinian, human rights advocate — has been deported from Israel after appealing to the Israeli Supreme Court to revoke her 10-year exile from the country.

The decision to return her to her home was made on Oct. 5. Maguire is, in the eyes of the Israeli courts, guilty of attempting to end the blockade of Gaza— like any one person can do it all on their own — and for being part of the “illegal” Flotilla operation that took place last June. Because of this, she has been sentenced to ten years of exile from Israeli territory. Maguire landed in Tel Aviv last week in order to take part in delegations between Israeli and Palestinian activists.

Maguire is most controversial for a statement she made calling Israel an apartheid state. Then she accuses Israel of pursuing ethnic cleansing as a means of securing its territory.

Other great Pro-Palestinian activists such as the infamous linguist and activist Noam Chomsky have been banned from entering Israel. Upon his arrival in Tel Aviv, a few months ago, in order to give a speech at Beer Zeit University, Chomsky was not allowed to enter Israeli territory. Chomsky ended up giving a speech via videoconference in nearby Jordan. 

Also, last week, a report was released by the UN Human Rights Council stating Israel has practiced “extreme and unprovoked violence” time and time again with their detainees — all of whom did not pose any threat to Israeli forces. This was especially the case this past June during Israel’s raid of an aid flotilla. Israeli naval forces killed 9 Turkish activists (one of whom was a dual citizen Turkish-American) and hundreds were either detained or deported during the incident.

Why is it that when people speak the truth or point out the painfully obvious, they are punished? Israel’s lack of sensitivity to human rights is an undeniable fact; a fact that has been embedded in reality for the last 60 years.

This is a non-biased, matter of fact truth.

The current state of Gaza and the West Bank are one of a kind, and by that I mean absolutely despicable and intolerable.  It absolutely terrifies Israel when big names such as Chomsky and Maguire rally support for the Palestinian cause. So, Israel takes any immediate action it can in order to prevent them from being heard.

Usually these desperate acts are more attention grabbing than they set out to be, and usually backfire, making the situation more and more publicized. This, in turn, rallies more support.

How can we as members of the global world respect the laws of a state which does not respect basic international laws? When will international law prosecute these wrongful acts? Did everyone forget what happened in June, or why it happened? Did everyone forget the fact that the majority of people in Gaza have no running water, no medical attention, no basic infrastructure and, in some cases, no food or homes? The Israeli state, I regret to say, functions in quite the hypocritical manner. How long will this hypocrisy last before the world speaks up?

If we speak up at all, that is.

Dina Al-Hayek is a senior political science major and a columnist for the Daily 49er.

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