Israel deported Palestinian-American writer Susan Abulhawa from the country. The writer’s friend Linda Hanna, logged onto her Facebook page and wrote on Nov. 1, “...she was detained at the Tel Aviv Airport on her way to the Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival sponsored in part by the British Council.”
The statement added, “Upon landing, she was held for questioning and, eventually, told she would be deported despite the help of a lawyer from the British Council who was on hand to assist.”
On Nov. 2, her friend offered an update that she was denied entry in the country and “now on a plane to return to the US.”
Abulhawa had been detained at Ben Gurion airport since Thursday. Mahmoud Muna, a coordinator of the literary festival told Middle East Eye that the author was taken aside and interrogated as soon as she landed and was informed that she will be denied entry because she had not applied for a visa before her trip.
"They were planning to deport her at 10 p.m. last night (Thursday), but we had a lawyer appeal,” Muna said. An Israeli judge upheld the decision and ordered her deportation Friday 10 p.m. local time.
Abulhawa is a renowned Palestinian author who is a U.S. citizen and has two novels to her name, “Mornings in Jenin”, and “The Blue Between Sky and Water”. She is also a vocal supporter of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Her daughter Natalie Abulhawa, a Temple University student, has been featured in the infamous Canary Mission website which seeks to “expose” pro-Palestinian activists, students, and professors in U.S. universities.
Susan, after returning to the U.S., wrote a statement on her Facebook profile highlighting the entire ordeal and also strongly criticizing the Israeli authority.
“As you all know by now, Israeli authorities have denied me entry into my country and I am therefore unable to attend the festival. It pains me greatly not to be with my friends and fellow writers to explore and celebrate our literary traditions with readers and with each other in our homeland,” she wrote.
“It pains me that we can meet anywhere in the world except in Palestine, the place to which we belong, from whence our stories emerge and where all our turns eventually lead. We cannot meet on soil that has been fertilized for millennia by the bodies of our ancestors and watered by the tears and blood of Palestine’s sons and daughters who daily fight for her.”
The statement added, “The bitter irony of our condition was not lost on me. I, a daughter of the land, of a family rooted at least 900 years in the land, and who spent much of her childhood in Jerusalem, was being deported from her homeland by the sons and daughters of recent arrivals, who came to Palestine a mere decades ago with European-born ethos of racial Darwinism, invoking biblical fairy tales and divinely ordained entitlement.”
While speaking about the occupying nation, the author concluded, “Israel is spiritually, emotionally, and culturally small despite the large guns they point at us – or perhaps precisely because of them. It is to their own detriment that they cannot accept our presence in our homeland, because our humanity remains intact and our art is beautiful and life-affirming, and we aren't going anywhere but home.”