Israeli authorities have denied entry to more than 100 British nationals in 2016 to date, according to answers given in Parliament by UK Foreign and Commonwealth Minister Tobias Ellwood.
The figures came in response to a question from Mark Durkan, an SDLP Member of Parliament for Foyle, who had asked the Foreign Office “how many UK citizens are known to have been detained, interrogated and subsequently denied entry by Israel in the last 12 months.”
Israeli authorities routinely deny entry to and deport foreign visitors on the basis of the individual’s apparent sympathy for the Palestinians, or on the basis of religious or ethnic profiling.
Tobias Ellwood, responding for the government, said that “according to Israeli figures”, 50 British nationals “have been refused entry into Israel through Ben-Gurion Airport” since 1 January 2016. Half of those (25) “sought assistance from the British Embassy.”
In addition, Ellwood stated, “a further 65 British nationals have been refused entry at the Allenby Bridge”, the Israeli-controlled crossing from Jordan into the Occupied West Bank.
In response to a further question tabled by Durkan, Ellwood revealed that since the start of the year, “15 British nationals have alleged poor treatment by Israeli authorities at border crossings.”
Ellwood did not elaborate on what, if any, action was taken by British diplomats in response to either the requests for assistance by detained individuals, or to those who alleged mistreatment.
In a related development earlier this week, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), part of the University of London, condemned the Israeli authorities for detaining and deporting a senior academic, Adam Hanieh, who was en route to Birzeit University in the Occupied West Bank.
Hanieh was banned from entering for ten years. According to SOAS, the response received by the Israeli embassy in London to the university’s complaints only confirmed that Hanieh’s exclusion constituted “an arbitrary breach of academic freedom.”
Source: Middle East Monitor
Date uploaded: Thursday 20, 2016