Thursday, July 14, 2011

INTERVIEW with Ms. Vivienne Porzsolt, Australian participant of Welcome to Palestine initiative

Ms. Vivienne Porzsolt, a 69 year old New Zealand spokeswoman for Jews Against Occupation, spoke with the Media Center of the Welcome to Palestine initiative on Thursday, July 14, 2011.

Ms. Porzsolt arrived at Ben Gurion airport at 4:30am on Monday, July 11, 2011. She had originally planned to join the flotilla to Gaza to highlight the unfairness of the blockade. When plans for the flotilla were cancelled, she heard about and decided to join the Welcome Palestine Initiative. Never expecting to board the flight from Athens, Ms. Porzsolt stated to Israeli passport control her intention to travel to Palestine. "The passport official said to me: 'What's Palestine?'. I was then led away to the detention center at the airport," said Ms. Porzsolt. While being led away, she chanted ‘Free Palestine!’ for which she was admonished for by the prosecution in court.

She would spend 36 hours in the detention facility awaiting the hearing that would decide whether she had the right to travel to Palestine. Sleeping on a narrow bed in a cramped cell, detention officers delayed showers, food and contact with her attorneys and the Australian embassy for hours.

When the Court announced that the deportation order would be denied and she was to be released, Ms. Porzsolt said: "I was very surprised at the outcome. Our lawyers were more surprised and happy because we didn't understand the significance of the decision. Now we do and we are so pleased."

Ms. Porzsolt told the Media Center that as a Jew, she felt compelled to speak out against what Israel was doing to the Palestinian people in her name. "I believe in human rights and international law and for people to live together in harmony and with respect." She went on to say that she had travelled to Palestine and Israel before starting in the 1990's. "In 2003 I marched to the West Bank for international human and women's rights."

"We never anticipated that this would happen but we're so happy and surprised that it did." Ms. Porzsolt hopes to travel to the West Bank and complete her long journey on Saturday.


  1. Way to go Vivianne and Sylvia. When we left you in Crete, you were determined to go, thinking you would get stopped in Athens. And now you've not only gotten in, you may actually get into the occupied West Bank..maybe even Gaza. Bravo to you both. It has been an honor to know you. greta

  2. Shame the boat didn't spring a leak