Israel pries into private e-mail for security check


An Israeli border policeman stands next to the international arrivals board at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. Hundreds of Israeli police, many undercover, are at the airport to block the arrival of activists taking part in a 'Welcome to Palestine' fly-in.



American peace activist Sandra Tamari was expelled from Israel after refusing to open her private e-mail account for authorities there, revealing a new standard for security checks being used by Israeli officials against those they deem suspicious, reported The Associated Press

It is not clear how often the country's officials demand that visitors open their e-mail accounts for inspection, but Haaretz cited several recent cases and AP confirmed Tamari's questioning with the Shin Bet security agency. 

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Tamari, a US citizen and Quaker peace activist who had been involved in some anti-Israeli protests, landed in Israel May 21 for an interfaith conference. 

The 42-year-old, who is of Palestinian descent, said during security checks at the Israeli International Airport, officials "turned their (computer) screens around to me and said, 'Log in,'" Tamari told AP.

When she said no, Tamari said the official responded by saying, "you must be a terrorist," accusing her of "hiding something.'"

She was reportedly put in a holding cell and then on a US-bound plane the next day, according to AP

Haaretz reported similar situations faced by New Yorker Najwa Doughman and Sasha Al-Sarabi, both of whom have Palestinian backgrounds.

The story first surfaced on the progressive blog Mondoweiss.

Israel is notoriously wary of those trying to cross its borders, especially after nine people died two years ago in clashes between Israel's navy and an activist-laden flotilla attempting to break Israel's Gaza Strip blockade, said AP