Deported peace protester back from Israeli jail

John Lynes
John Lynes

A DEPORTED campaigner has spoken of his ordeal after being detained in Israel while on a peace mission.

John Lynes, 83, of Magdalen Road, St Leonards, was one of 12 people who were arrested at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on Friday, July 8, after flying in from Luton and thrown into jail for three days.

The group Mr Lynes was with intended to take part in events in support of Palestinians in the West Bank and in total around 700 campaigners from around the world set out to visit a Bethlehem refugee camp on the invitation of families there.

Mr Lynes said: “When we arrived they (Israeli authorities) took away everything we had - cameras, pens and even pencils. It was ridiculous. The only thing I was left with was a Bible. My rucksack was left in the hold at the airport which contained my changes in clothes and I didn’t get that back until I returned home.

“All of us were put in an overcrowded wagon and taken to a prison in the middle of Israel. It was extremely hot and people were gasping for breath as they were so thirsty. Some prisoners never got any water.

“We were put in cells and I shared one with six other men, who all spoke French.”

Mr Lynes, a retired lecturer, returned to the UK shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

• See the Hastings Observer, July 15, for the full interview.