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Israel deports Spanish aid worker

21 June 2011 | Civil Peace Service Gaza

Ignacio Garcia-Pedraza, a Spanish PSCC worker and Al Quds University trainer, 36 years old and living in Madrid, has been informed this morning at 9:00 a.m. by the Israeli Ben Gurion airport authorities that he had been denied the entry into Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt). After a long interrogation, he was informed that he would be repatriated to Spain due to security reasons. Until the deportation is completed, Ignacio Garcia will have to stay at the Detention Center of Ben Gurion Airport.

Ignacio Garcia-Pedraza has stated from that same center that: “this deportation is a clear evidence of the persecution against aid workers and human rights defenders. Israel uses its occupation over the Palestinian territory in order to deny the entry of human rights defenders who wish to work in this territory and, at the same time, bear witness to the violations against International Law. I think it is time for the Spanish authorities to defend Spanish aid workers and nationals and not to let them be politically persecuted by the state of Israel”.

The Israeli authorities hinder systematically the work of different international humanitarian and development aid organizations, impeding the access of their staff to the oPt, or denying the required working visas. With these practices, the state of Israel is violating different international treaties such as the IV Geneva Convention. Last January, airport authorities deported the Spanish aid worker Marcel Masferrer, holder of an Israeli working visa, also due to security reasons that were not clarified. In addition to him, a well known Spanish clown, Ivan Prado, was denied the entry in 2010.

These increasing difficulties were addressed to the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trinidad Jimenez, by Ignacio Garcia himself during a meeting held between her and Spanish aid and humanitarian workers in February 2011. On behalf of several NGOs, Mr. Garcia briefed the Minister on the legal persecution for political purposes being carried out by Israel against Spanish and other foreign aid and humanitarian workers.


University graduate on Mathematics, he has a wide experience on International Aid in different countries. Ignacio Garcia-Pedraza has traveled in many occasions to Israel and the oPt since March 2009 as a consultant and evaluation expert on Spanish funded international development aid projects for several NGOs.

This time, his entry to Israel and oPt came within the framework of his duties as University Teacher and Coordinator of the Diploma on Public International Law and Non Violent Conflict Transformation, offered by Al Quds University (Jerusalem), the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee and the Spanish NGO NOVA. This activity was partially funded by the Spanish Cooperation (AECID).

Ignacio Garcia was planning also to work as a consultant and evaluation expert for the project CPSGAZA. This project has launched an international mission to monitor Human Rights on board of the boat “El Oliva”, which through its sailing within the Gaza territorial waters informs diplomatic missions and NGOs on the frequent attacks from the Israeli navy against Palestinian fishermen. It also exposes the Israeli ban on these fishermen to work within the water limits that, according to international law, should be under the authority of the Palestinian National Authority.

CPSGAZA is a mission endorsed by 82 Palestinian, Israeli and international organizations, which has been explicitly supported by 600 people, among them the Former Deputy President of the European Parliament, Luisa Morgantini, or the Jerusalem city council member, Meir Margalit.

Ignacio Garcia is right now under detention in the Deportation Center at Ben Gurion Airport, waiting for the Israeli authorities to repatriate him. He is expected to arrive to Spain tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday 22nd June, without detailing neither the flight number nor the city of arrival.