Paul Larudee, an American nonviolent peace activist, has been denied entry to Palestine by the Israeli authorities and is being held in detention at Ben Gurion Airport, sources at the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) reported.
According to ISM, Larudee, a piano tuner from El Cerrito, California, is the latest of over 13,000 people to be denied entry to Israel/Palestine in recent years. Like many others, Larudee was not trying to visit Israel, but territories ostensibly controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
Since one needs to go through Israeli borders before being able to come to the Palestinian territories, Israeli security has the last word in allowing or preventing anyone from entering Palestinian areas.
Larudee was scheduled to tune 20 pianos in Palestine, the ISM press release said.
The ISM has sent out calls to activists around the world to act to free Larudee who has been held for nearly one month in detention.
Larudee, who has a Lebanese origin, was denied entry at the airport and the Israeli authorities decided to deport him, however, he decided to fight deportation and therefore he has been held in jail, the source said.
The call also included a demand to end the siege on the Palestinian people, which is hindering the flow of aid to the Palestinian Authority.
The siege has resulted in a serious financial crisis in the Palestinian territories, as some 165 state employees have not received their paychecks for three months.
Only those whose salary is lower than 350 US dollars received a payment of one month in early June.
"Israel’s policy of denying entry to people who support Palestinian nonviolent protest and report on the situation to the world is one aspect of a campaign to isolate the Palestinian people from the world," said the press release.
The ISM noted that the campaign to close down the Palestinian areas began long before the election of the Hamas affiliated candidates to lead the Palestinian Parliament. This includes closing the only passage for goods into the Gaza Strip (it has been closed more than 50% of the time since the beginning of this year), building the annexation Wall, and frequent closures on the West Bank.
The ISM asserted that the Israeli military has been severely prosecuting Israeli activists who participate in Palestinian-led demonstrations (recently a judge ruled that an almost two-year prosecution of two Israeli anti-Wall activists was "completely devoid of merit".