Israel blocks entry to 40 pro-Palestinian activists (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Lior Zilberstein Latest Update: 04.15.12, 15:38)
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Foreigners arrive in Israel as part of ´Welcome to Palestine´ fly-in
protest; activists from Canada, Portugal, France, Italy Spain and
Switzerland denied entry. In Paris, dozens protest Israel entry
ban: ´France new Israeli settlement?´
PARIS – Forty pro-Palestinian activists who arrived in Israel as part
of the "Welcome to Palestine" fly-in protest have been denied entry
to the country.
Three people who arrived aboard an El Al flight from Paris Sunday
morning were questioned at a booth set up by the Interior Ministry at
Ben Gurion Airport. They were subsequently released and allowed entry
into the country.
A Portuguese national who arrived in Israel aboard a Royal Jordanian
flight was denied entry, as was a Canadian citizen who arrived on an
American Airlines flight. The two were expected to be deported.
Four French women were denied entry to Israel at around noon.
Airport officials said that so far a total of 40 activists, including
33 French nationals, two Italians, two Spanish nationals and three
more activists from Canada, Portugal and Switzerland have been denied
entry to Israel. In addition, they said, a number of Israeli leftists
were held for questioning after they waved signs in support of the
fly-in protest and attempted to disturb the peace.
The activists, who were all questioned by Immigration Authority
officials, are expected to be deported from the Israel.
Twenty-seven of the French activists – 14 men and 13 women – have
been transferred to Givon Prison in Ramla, where they will be held
until Israeli authorities organize their return to France.
Police officials said hundreds more activists are expected to arrive
in Israel throughout the day.
Earlier, dozens of activists gathered at Paris´ Charles de Gaulle
Airport protest their "exclusion" from Israel. Some of the foreign
activists received notices alerting them to the fact that their
flights to Israel had been cancelled while others managed to issue
their boarding cards but are not sure they will be able to reach the
Palestinian Authority. During the protest they called out: "Today the
barrier is here," "Israel get out, France is not yours" and "Let us
A sign waved by the protesters read, "France, a new Israeli
The activists in Paris sought to make it clear that they were not
operating against Israel, rather they were seeking to carry out
a "pacifist action" and go to Bethlehem to see the situation with
their own eyes.
The flytilla organizers briefed activists from around the world
through social networks on methods of challenging the airports and
governments and how to reach the airports with boarding cards in
"The (foreign) governments must pressure Israel so that it will allow
the arrival of visitors into the occupied territories. This blockade
is a breach of the fourth Geneva Convention. Israel has turned
Palestine into a huge prison," they wrote.
The organizers noted that the Oz Unit at the Immigration Authority
chose to halt its strike due to the flytilla and claimed: "Racism
unites the government and its employees."
Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) and right-wing
activists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel also arrived at BG
Airport with an Israeli flag ahead of the expected arrival of more
The fly-in activists received precise directions explaining how to
act should the Israeli authorities refuse to allow them entry into
Israel. The activists were told to leave a copy of their passport
with a family member and to take the telephone numbers of local
government officials in their countries.
The activists were also briefed on the rules and regulations at
Israel´s airport in order to make it easier for them to deal with
arguments against allowing them to enter Israel.
Lihi Rothschild, an Israeli activist and one of the organizers of
the ´flytilla,´ said Israel´s "willingness to arrest people who did
not commit any crime and say they only came to visit Palestine is a
Speaking to Ynet, she said, "It´s unfortunate that European airlines
are cooperating with this violation of human rights by the State of
Israel - and we consider them accomplices to the crime."
Rothschild estimated that about two-thirds of the foreign activists
will succeed in boarding a flight to Israel, adding that those who
enter Israel will be presented with drawing made for them by children
Addressing the "welcome" letter from the Israeli government, which
the activists are expected to receive upon their arrival at BG
Airport, the Israeli activist said, "In this letter Israel is
repeating the same lies and excuses. Israel is not the only democracy
in the Mideast – it is not a democracy at all. Instead of taking
responsibility for the crimes it is committing, Israel chooses to
deal with its human rights violations by pointing out that there are
Palestinian fly-in organizers said a number of foreign activists have
arrived in Bethlehem. They said Turkish and Swiss authorities
prevented pro-Palestinian activists from boarding flights to Israel,
but added that more than 20 were able to board flights to Israel at
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Saturday expressed
satisfaction with the cooperation of foreign airlines who he said are
preventing those identified by Israel as pro-Palestinian activists
from boarding their flights. (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet
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