Two South African youth activists returned home this weekend, after being detained and deported from Israel. Wits student, Laeeqa Sujee was deported from Israel following her unlawful detention in Tel-Aviv. The 21 year old physiotherapy student was travelling to Palestine for a Youth Camp hosted by the Palestinian Higher Council for Youth and Sport, when she was detained.
Prior to the official confirmation received from DIRCO, Sujee’s family received an email from her. Her brief message said she was being flown out at midnight. This was subsequently confirmed by Israeli immigration via the South African Embassy. Since her arrest on Saturday morning, Sujee was held in solitary confinement.
“Her plans to participate in the Palestinian youth camp have been unjustly sabotaged by Israel’s immoral conduct,” said the Palestine Solidarity Alliance Youth League (PSAYL).
Another young activist, Altaaf Adam, belonging to the Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (PSA) and also en route for the same Palestinian Youth Camp, was detained on Thursday and thereafter deported by Israeli authorities.
“Israel is increasingly preventing South African activists, young people and in particular church members from traveling to Palestine,” said PSAYL in a statement.
Last week on the 16th November, Rosalia Mpele who was traveling as part of a World Council of Churches (WCC) programme was also denied entry and deported back to South Africa by the Israeli regime when she was en route to Bethlehem in occupied Palestine.
Others, majority of whom are church members and activists, who have been denied entry to Palestine by Israeli authorities in the last two years alone include: Itani Rasanahlavho, Daniel Kemp, Khulekani Magwaza, Rosalia Mpele , Sarah Robinson, Marthie Momberg.
In the past Israel has also denied Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister Thulas Nxesi and various other high profile South Africans entry into Palestine.
The National Coalition for Free Palestine (NC4P) has demanded that the South African Government immediately investigates the issue of South Africans, particularly church members, being denied entry to Palestine.
“A clear message must be sent by DIRCO that Israel’s behaviour of denying South African citizens’ entry into Occupied Palestine is unacceptable,” the NC4P said in a statement. VOC