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Israeli Ambassador agrees to relay Palestine travel concerns

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 18 Jul 2011

Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon today spoke to the Israeli Ambassador Mr Yuval Rotem about the ongoing failure of the Israeli authorities to allow Sylvia Hale and Vivienne Porzsolt to visit Palestine.

The Israeli Ambassador Mr Yuval Rotem told Senator Rhiannon that he would relay to his government her request that the Israeli military allow Sylvia Hale and Vivienne Porzsolt to visit Palestine.

"Freedom of movement is a basic human right that is now being denied not just for Palestinians but also to people who attempt to visit Palestine," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Senator Rhiannon rang the Ambassador on ascertaining that the Israeli military have so far ignored the application to visit the West Bank lodged by the two Australian citizens in compliance with the conditions
of their release from detention.

Last week the Judge who heard the case ruled that Ms Hale and Ms Porzsolt could stay in Israel for 24 hours provided they applied for permission to enter the West Bank and that if they were refused entry to Palestine they would leave Israel within 24 hours.

"I raised with Ambassador Rotem that I am concerned that the failure of the Israeli military to respond to the request from Ms Hale and Ms Porzsolt is just another way to stop them entering Palestine.

"The Ambassador responded to my concerns by stating that the Israeli military cannot subvert any court ruling and that Ms Hale and Ms Porzsolt still had the option of appealing to the court, even the Supreme Court.

"While I appreciate that the Ambassador took my call and said he would convey my concerns to the Israeli government I remain concerned that Australians are not allowed to freely travel to Palestine.

"The Israeli government, in failing to facilitate the free movement of visitors to Palestine, is illustrating why there is growing support for the human rights of Palestinians," Senator Rhiannon said.

For information and comment: Alison Orme 0487 350 880.

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