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Israel Orders Pro-Palestinian Nobel Laureate Deported

Former Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire speaks to the media as she arrives back at Ireland's Dublin Airport, in June 2010 (file photo)

Israel's Supreme Court has upheld a deportation order against a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was banned from Israel for 10 years after taking part in an aid flotilla that tried to breach the Israeli naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in June.

A lower court issued a deportation order for Mairead Corrigan Maguire after she landed at the Tel Aviv airport last Tuesday to meet with peace activists.

The pro-Palestinian Northern Irish activist appealed the order to the Supreme Court, claiming she did not know about the entry ban when she arrived in Israel last week.

The high court Monday rejected Maguire's argument, noting that she had signed the entry ban herself. The ruling, which also accused her of spreading "propaganda," clears the way for her deportation.

Maguire had described Israel as an apartheid state engaged in ethnic cleansing.

The 66-year-old won the Nobel peace prize in 1976 for organizing a peace movement in Northern Ireland to end sectarian violence and promote reconciliation.

Maguire said peace would come to Israel only when it "ends apartheid and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people." She also called for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

The Nobel laureate is represented by lawyers from Adalah, an Israeli pressure group defending Arab minority rights.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.