A Dutch-Palestinian journalist was detained at Tel Aviv airport and refused entry to Israel, where she was to produce reports on the Jewish state's 60-year history, her employers said Monday.
A statement said Abir Sarras of Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) was arrested Sunday night on arrival at the airport to cover the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel in 1948.
"Abir Sarras has let it be known via her mobile phone that she is amazed at what has happened but that otherwise her situation is good. She describes her treatment by the police officers as 'rude'", it said.
"She was told that she was refused entry to Israel," the RNW statement said. It quoted the Dutch ambassador in Tel Aviv as saying the Israeli authorities' official reason for arresting Sarras had been that the last time she left the country, "she did so via the border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank.
"As a Palestinian, she could only return by that same border crossing and not, as she did, via Tel Aviv airport."
"Sarras is of Palestinian descent and holds dual Dutch and Palestinian nationality," RNW explained.
The journalist had been planning to produce, with a colleague, a series of reports about the 60-year existence of the state of Israel. She was flying back to the Netherlands on Monday.
Sarras, who works for the radio's Arab-language service, was able to phone her headquarters on her mobile phone while temporarily held in a police cell.
She had arrived at Tel Aviv on a KLM flight. "Shortly after her arrival, she was arrested by two police officers and taken to a cell near the airport," RNW said.
Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary on May 8 and 9.