Chesterfield protester detained in Israel

ndet 98518 Chesterfield Man Off To Palestine. Anthony Radcliffe
ndet 98518 Chesterfield Man Off To Palestine. Anthony Radcliffe

A RETIRED teacher from Chesterfield is being detained in a jail in Tel Aviv after attempting to visit Palestine as part of an international pro-Palestinian ‘fly-in’.

Anthony Radcliffe, 69, from Ashgate, flew from Manchester Airport on Saturday as part of the Welcome to Palestine campaign, which saw thousands of activists from countries across the world attempt to gain entry to the West Bank via Tel Aviv, in a bid to carry out humanitarian work there.

But on arrival in Tel Aviv, Mr Radcliffe, along with others arriving into the country, was detained by Israeli officials where he remains in custody.

Sue Owen, a supporter of the cause based in Chesterfield, said: “All he said was he wanted to go to palestine. He didn’t go with any intention of trouble, he just wanted to visit and has now been arrested.

“What this illustrates is Israel’s control over movement. They control movement in and out.”

Dubbed the ‘flytilla’, the protest marks the second time activists have tried to gain entry into Palestine, following an attempt to gain entry by boat in 2011, where they were refused and many detained.

Speaking to the Derbyshire Times last week, Mr Radcliffe, who is a member of the Chesterfield Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “We will probably get detained again like we did last time. The Israeli approach doesn’t soften. But I am hopefully I will spend five days in Palestine. There is work to be done there, there are houses that have been knocked down and we will also be working with children, but the aim is get through.”

Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins, said: “‘’I believe passionately that any of my constituents who wish to travel peacefully and openly to Palestine should be able to do so. Contact with educational groups and civil society organisations can be an important contributor to peace, and should be allowed. Palestinians should be able to enjoy the normal access and contact with visitors which citizens of other countries would regard as a right. I hope that this initiative can contribute towards this objective.’’

“It is important that Britain does all it can to encourage a peaceful two state solution that enables both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and with the right to real self determination. Hostility towards people who support Palestinians in their campaign for those rights diminishes Israel internationally.

‘’I am now personally raising this matter with officials at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Israeli Embassy in London to ensure Anthony’s immediate and safe release.’’