Hundreds of police to await ´fly-in´ activists at terminal (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury 04/12/12)
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-Top
Hundreds of police and special forces will converge on Ben-Gurion
Airport to block the entry of pro-Palestinian activists on Sunday,
but human rights activists say the airport has no authority to deny
entry to anyone intending to visit the Palestinian territories.
Hundreds of police officers, most of them in plainclothes and
unarmed, will await the so-called fly-in at Ben-Gurion on Sunday,
while special forces will deploy outside the terminal.
The foreign, transportation, interior and public security ministries
are working together to thwart the protest with as little commotion
as possible, in a bid to prevent the activists from achieving a
public relations victory, officials said.
The Interior Ministry has given airlines the names of activists who
are denied entry to Israel and told them that if any activists
arrive, the airlines will have to fly them back at the companies´
Last summer Israel thwarted a similar fly-in, when around 200
activists were not allowed to board flights at their country of
origin. Others were detained at Ben-Gurion Airport.
Undercover police agents will staff passport control counters, seen
as the first possible friction point between the activists and the
authorities, police sources said.
The police will turn over any activists they apprehend to the
Immigration Authority, which will seek to put them on the earliest
flights out of Israel.
Failing that, the activists will be taken to a Prison Service
detention center until they leave the country.
Police sources said they knew of Israeli anarchists´ plans to meet
the visiting activists and hold demonstrations at the terminal, at
roadblocks and in Jerusalem.
The police also say they will not allow far-right activists to clash
with the activists at the airport or engage in any other sort of
Human rights attorney Omer Shatz said the airport authorities were
not authorized to deny entry to the West Bank - only the military,
which is the sovereign in the territories.
This is because a visitor to the Palestinian Authority who lands at
the airport has no choice but to pass through Israel to reach a
border crossing and ask the Israel Defense Forces for an entry permit
to the West Bank, he said.
Last year a court granted a petition Shatz submitted on behalf of two
activists who arrived on the fly-in and were detained at the airport.
The two, former Australian parliamentarian Phyllis Sylvia Hale and
Vivienne Porzsolt, a member of Jews Against the Occupation from New
Zealand, asked to visit the West Bank.
The Petah Tikva Central Court ruled that the interior minister cannot
deny the request of a person who declares at the airport that he is
heading for the West Bank. Since the West Bank is under military
rule, a person traveling there must be allowed passage to the border
crossing, where he may ask to be allowed in.
Any other interpretation the interior minister makes regarding a trip
in the West Bank implies annexing the territories, the court ruled.
The court revoked the expulsion order that had been issued to the
petitioners, ordered their release and allowed them to enter Israel
for 24 hours to enable them to travel to the West Bank.
Ultimately the two were not allowed to enter the West Bank and had to
A day after granting the petition, the court denied a petition by
another pro-Palestinian activist from Germany and allowed her
deportation, based on an intelligence opinion submitted by the state
and the argument that she did not cooperate with the investigators in
The fly-in organizers have said the activists plan to declare on
their arrival that they are traveling to the West Bank as part of the
Welcome to Palestine campaign.
The Interior Ministry´s Population and Immigration Authority said
that since the entry from Ben-Gurion Airport is entry into Israel, it
is authorized to grant or deny entry.
The Gush Shalom movement asked the public security minister yesterday
to call off the police deployment ahead of the fly-in, calling
it "unnecessary" and a "waste of taxpayer money."
The movement said the fly-in was believed to consist of more than
1,000 activists, including elderly people, parents with children and
disabled people in wheelchairs.
"Their only purpose is to pass quietly and in an orderly way through
passport control like any other visitor and declare openly and
explicitly that they have come to visit the West Bank, at the
invitation of various Palestinian civil groups and Bethlehem Mayor
Victor Batarseh," Gush Shalom´s spokesman Adam Keller said in the
"They plan to stay at the Peace Center in Bethlehem and help lay the
foundations of an elementary school, plant trees, renovate wells in
villages and inaugurate a museum."
According to Keller, "They have no intention of engaging in any
provocation at the airport, so the huge police force is unnecessary
and a complete waste of taxpayer money."
The public security minister´s spokesman said he would not comment on
requests to the minister via the media. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY