Updated on 9th of June
Paul Larudee: “This is something small I can do to make life under occupation just a little more bearable for people, so I do it.”
ISM MEDIA GROUP – Occupied Ramallah
Today an Israeli administrative court issued an injunction preventing the deportation of Paul Larudee, a 60-year-old piano tuner from El Cerrito, until a final decision on his case. A hearing date will be set for the near future.
So we will have our day in court, and Paul will be left in relative peace (no deportation attempts) until then. At least this way the state of Israel will have to explain why they are denying Larudee access to the West Bank.
Paul Larudee, PhD, is one of those gifted people who can make a piano sing, and he was on his way to the occupied West Bank to tune pianos and to support Palestinian non-violent resistance to the Israeli Occupation.
When Paul got off the plane in Ben Gurian on Sunday, the Israeli authorities took him out of line, and put him in a holding cell. He refused to get back on the plane and called Gabi Lasky, a human rights attorney in Israel who filed an appeal against his deportation.
Paul is an outspoken advocate for Palestinian human and civil rights and supports the non-violent activities of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). ISM has been nominated twice for a Nobel Peace Prize and brings internationals to support Palestinian non-violent resistance to the occupation and to bear witness to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Israeli authorities regularly detain, deport and imprison these human rights activists but the Israeli Ministry of the Interior states that it does not seek to stop those involved with ISM from entering the country.
Thousands of supporters of Palestinian Human Rights have been denied access to the occupied territories by Israel. We hear about them sometimes, when some, like Mr. Larudee, choose to use their privilege as citizens of countries like the United States and demand an explanation from the state of Israel, at the price of spending weeks in detention. What we don’t hear is that Israel permanently denies entry to millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Palestinian refugees are denied access by Israel to their native land, in what is now Israel and to the Palestinian occupied territories occupied in 1967. They are denied the right to visit with their family members that managed to remain and they do not have the privilege of an explanation or a day in court. Nor do we hear about the conditions set by Israel denying access to ALL visitors to Gaza including Palestinians, unless they hold an Israeli issued Identity card, even through the Egyptian border. Spouses of Palestinian living in the west bank, Gaza or Israel are denied access to Israel and the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. They are denied the right to live with their spouses and children. All these people cut off from their land, loved ones, families and friends are offered no explanation. So Paul’s day in court in itself is a victory.
For Paul using his privilege as an American is part of what he came to Palestine to do. Israeli Border Police questioned in court have revealed that their instructions regarding opening fire are different when Israelis and Internationals are present with Palestinians at demonstrations. When Israeli and International peace activists are present with Palestinians the border police are limited to using non lethal weapons. When Palestinians protest alone the military use live ammunition against them. That is why International support is essential to support Palestinian non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation.
Paul’s reading and writing materials were confiscated by the Israeli authorities, but the latter were returned after consular and legal intervention. Only the representatives of the American consulate and his attorney are being allowed to speak with him.
Israeli attorney Gabi Lasky stated: “The policy of blacklisting a nonviolent peace activist as persona-non-grata, then denying them access to the Occupied Territories because of their nonviolent activities raises questions regarding Israel’s intentions to resolve the conflict through dialogue and nonviolent means”.
For more information, please contact
Neta Golan at the ISM Media Office: + 972-2-297-1824
Attorney Gabi Lasky: + 972-5444 18 988
Greta Berlin, Los Angeles 310-422-7242