Jared Malsin, news editor for a Palestinian agency, put on flight to New York reports Dimi Reider
Jewish-American journalist Jared Malsin, the chief English editor at the Maan agency, was put on a plane to New York this morning, without being allowed to speak to his lawyer. His appeal process was cut short.
According to colleagues at Maan, Malsin last met with his lawyer, Castro Daud, yesterday, to discuss his statement for an appeal hearing, scheduled to be held at Tel Aviv district court. Shortly after Daud lef Malsin was approached by two officials, who asked him to write an independent motion stating he was not being forced to leave the country and that when he left, he would leave voluntarily. They told Malsin this was necessary for his departure, and Malsin, having spent a week in a detention cell at Ben Gurion airport, did as he was told. He was not allowed to speak to his lawyer before or after signing the statement, and colleagues said he was not made aware this would have any implications on his appeal.
However, the statement was quickly delivered to the judge, who proceeded to close the appeal process and clear the ground for Malsin’s deportation.
Last night, Daud was told that his client has decided to terminate his appeal and leave Israel, and that he would be deported to Prague.
However, this morning Malsin contacted his parents and colleagues. A colleague told Index on Censorship he sounded badly shaken, and said he was on his way to a flight to New York. The flight left at 10:40am local time. Mr Malsin’s girlfriend was detained with him, and deported to Prague last week.
Daud said his client’s decision was as surprising as it was disappointing, as the judge said he wanted to review the deportation order and believed the appeal had reasonable grounds.
The District Attorney’s office claimed in an earlier statement to the Tel Aviv court that Malsin was being deported for strictly legal considerations — having entered Israel multiple times, allegedly lied about his intention to immigrate and outstayed his welcome. Both government spokesman Mark Regev and Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad denied Malsin’s detention had anything to do with his writing. However, an internal report on his interrogation obtained by Maan reveals that Malsin’s deportation is directly linked to his journalistic work.
The report says Malsin has entered Israel a number of time, stating on the last occasion that he was considering making “aliyah” — immigrating to Israel under the Law of Return, which guarantees citizenship to any Jewish person anywhere.
“Searching his name on the internet showed that on his personal website — in his CV — he states that he has been covering events in the Palestinian Authority for the past year and seven months,” reads the report. “Further search brought up articles of which in which he covers events in the territories from a viewpoint critical of Israel. When asked why would he consider making an aliyah and becoming an Israeli citizen, since his anti-Israel opinions were perfectly clear, the passenger chose to remain silent.
“We believe the passenger exploited his Jewishness (which wasn’t proved yet) to obtain a visa.
“The passengers were sent for a search… and a cellphone number with contact details of territories residents was found, as well as pictures and articles calling for the liberation of the Gaza strip from the Zionist occupier.
“The passengers were explained to that according to the Law of Entry to Israel they are denied entry for the following reason: Lack of cooperation, lying at a border crossing and distorting facts, an unclear reason for arrival, illegal stay, and a fear they may have dishonestly obtained their [earlier] visas.”
The document also states that Malsin refused to give details of his flat mate in Bethlehem, citing this as yet another example of lack of cooperation.
Malsin’s attorney said that the ministry’s claims were unfounded, and that his client never concealed his positions or professional work. “I hope we’re still living in a democratic country allowing anyone to express his views. If someone thinks he is anti Israeli — I’m sorry, but anti or pro Israeli is not a legal term. Besides, I don’t believe my client is remotely anti-Israeli — on the contrary, he wants Israel to be a more peaceful place.”
However, Mr Daud said his client did tell him he wanted to leave the detention centre. The lawyer did not rule out the possibility Mr Malsin did indeed decide to cut short the appeal and leave voluntarily.
Dimi Reider is a freelance journalist based in Israel