A 60 year-old Irvine man arrested and imprisoned in Israel is home safe and well.
As reported in last week’s the3towns, Jim Henry, originally from Saltcoats, was arrested on April 15 at Tel Aviv airport after flying in from Manchester as part of an international initiative aimed at raising awareness of the plight of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza.
The ‘Welcome to Palestine 2012’ initiative saw people from around the world attempt to visit Bethlehem in order to meet with Palestinians currently living under Israeli rule. Israel enforces a blockade of Gaza and the West Bank, which restricts the movement of Palestinians and blocks vital supplies, including medicines, from reaching the areas. In addition, the State of Israel continues to sanction the establishment of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.
Ahead of the flights, Israel controversially issued airlines with a ‘blacklist’ of names, requiring that those on the list be refused permission to board aircraft bound for Tel Aviv. Although most Scots were turned away from a flight scheduled to leave Manchester, Jim Henry and four others were not on the Israeli list and were allowed to board.
However, the five Scots were arrested at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport after simply telling immigration officials they wished to visit Palestine. Along with other nationals on the Welcome to Palestine initiative, Mr Henry was manacled, hand and foot. He was then taken at gunpoint to Givon prison, where he spent four days before being released and deported from Israel.
The former nurse arrived home this week, but has vowed to continue efforts to help the people of Palestine living under Israeli military occupation.