UPDATE: Katrina Plotz and Sarah Martin are on a plane, en route to MSP, scheduled to arrive early afternoon.
Two Minneapolis women, Katrina Plotz and Sarah Martin, are in jail in Israel after being refused entry to the country. A third, Karen Sullivan, was deported August 1 and was en route back to the Twin Cities on Sunday. They were deported after Israeli officials, checking the internet for information about passengers arriving in Israel, discovered that they intended to visit the Palestinian territories, according to Jess Sundin of the Anti-War Committee.
Martin, age 69, lives in Minneapolis and is affiliated with Women Against Military Madness. She is a retired nurse and a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Plotz, age 40, also lives in the Twin Cities, and is a teacher. (FULL DISCLOSURE: Katrina Plotz has written for the TC Daily Planet.)
According to Sundin, Israeli officials told the three that they were security risks and would not be allowed to enter the country. They were held at the airport and told to sign a paper that said they were leaving voluntarily. Plotz and Martin refused to sign, and were then jailed and told they would be handcuffed and forcibly deported, according to Sundin.
Sullivan was escorted onto a plane by armed guards at about 3:30 p.m., Minnesota time, on Saturday (11:30 p.m. in Israel). According to Sundin, the U.S. embassy in Israel said that Plotz and Martin may be put on a plane at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Hosted by the Palestinian Women’s Committee in Ramallah, they will travel to various cities including Jenin, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. The group will meet with human rights groups, union members, prisoners’ rights advocates, and refugees. Delegates will witness living conditions under military occupation and extend our solidarity to Palestinian activists, organizers and community leaders.
Sundin said the U.S. embassy in Israel has been helpful in getting information, and that, ” In fact, it was the embassy that first called to tell me that they are being held.” She said that the embassy has not been concerned with helping to get “our desired outcome – the right to enter the country.”