USA student Lara Alqasem held in Israel over BDS support

12 Octobre, 2018, 05:38 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv

However, Tzadok argued that because Alqasem had erased her Facebook profile prior to her arrival in Israel - what he called "well-known behavior" of BDS activists - he could not provide evidence to that effect.

The 22-year-old Alqasem, who has Palestinian grandparents, received a student visa from the Israeli consulate in the United States so she could study overseas.

But she was barred from entering the country and ordered deported, based on suspicions that she is an activist in the boycott movement. Israel insists she can leave at any time but must renounce the BDS boycott movement if she wishes to be reconsidered for admission. Determined to study in Jerusalem, she's fighting the decision in court. No ruling was given, and Judge Erez Yekuel said he would let the sides know his decision.

"She made a decision to appeal and is being held in the facility for those refused entry", the spokeswoman said in Hebrew.

She has been held at an immigration facility, choosing to challenge the entry ban rather than fly back to the United States.

A United States student arrested upon arrival in Tel Aviv over her support of an anti-Israel movement appeared in a court in the occupied territories on Thursday to challenge the Israeli regime's entry ban.

Alqasem, who is of Palestinian descent, has been held in a detention facility at the airport since and appealed to the Tel Aviv District Court against plans to deport her. "Israel will not allow entry to those who work to harm the country, whatever their excuse".

Israel enacted a law past year banning entry for any foreigner who "knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel".

Israel has come under heavy criticism for its handling of Alqasem's case.

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She was denied entry over membership, which she denies, in a pro-Palestinian student group at the University of Florida, according to her mother. The group is a branch of the BDS movement, whose name comes from its calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The official would not comment on whether U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman would visit her. He added that her claim in court that she hadn't recently been involved in such activities was "irrelevant". The university has thrown its support behind her, announcing Monday that it would join her appeal. "In our opinion in this instance the law does not apply to this student", he said.

"If Ms. Alqasem is, indeed, a threat to Israel's security", it concluded, "then Israel has far more serious problems than what type of hummus a college student buys or does not buy".

BDS supporters say that in urging businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel, they are using nonviolent means to resist unjust policies toward Palestinians. But Israel says its true goal is to delegitimize and even destroy the country.

Her second appeal hearing was on Wednesday scheduled for Thursday morning at Tel Aviv District Court, and her lawyer's office told ABC News she would be present for it.

Lara Alqasem has been at Ben Gurion Airport since October 2, when security flagged her for involvement in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement - an global campaign that calls for boycotts of Israel over Palestinian and human rights.

"As a general principle, we value freedom of expression even in cases where we don't agree with the political views expressed and this is such a case", State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.

Alqasem's family said Israel was exaggerating her involvement in SJP, saying she only belonged to the campus group for a semester.

A senior official at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem told ABC News Wednesday that American consular officials had visited Alqasem in detention a couple of times.

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