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Police prepares in force to meet "activist airlift" Friday (updated)

The Israeli authorities are determined not to let any visitor who would declare his desire to come to the West Bank enter the country this Friday. In a statement made yesterday, PM Netanyahu’s office called the planned attempt by hundreds of activists to conduct a solidarity visit in the Palestinian Territories “an effort to undermine Israel’s right to exist”. “Everyone here is in hysterics,” sources in Jerusalem told media

This post was updated.

As we have reported here on Sunday, A coalition of organizations has made public its intention to have hundreds of international activists land at Ben-Gurion airport this Friday, July 8th, and openly admit their intention to visit the Palestinian Territories. The campaign has been named “Welcome to Palestine.”

Israel controls all entries and exits to the Palestinian Territories. Until now, visitors coming in solidarity with the Palestinians–and even non-political visitors–had to conceal their destination when questioned at the airport, or risk immediate deportation. A couple of years ago, American scholar Noam Chomsky was denied entry to Israel at the Jordanian border, after declaring his intention to give a lecture at Ramallah’s Bir Zeit University.

Though the intention of the international activists to visit the West Bank has been known for sometime, it was only picked up by the Hebrew media in the last couple of days. Citing security officials, Israeli papers have reported on special deployment of police forces at Ben-Gurion international airport to take place from Thursday.

A police source told the daily Maariv that an effort will be made to locate the activists before they board their flights to Israel. “Those who will try to disturb public order will be dealt with,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Office told the site Walla.co.il.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office has released a statement declaring that the arrival of the protesters “is a continuation of the efforts to undermine Israel’s right to exist.” Netanyahu ordered the Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharomowitz (Israel Beitenu) to handle the preparation of all security agencies to the arrival of the activists. Aharonowitz will conduct a joint session of senior police officials tomorrow, the Army Radio reported.

“We will block those Hooligans from entering the state,” Aharonowitz told the press today.

The local media has labeled the event as “the air flotilla.”

The Israeli warning doesn’t seem to deter the activists from coming, though it is nor clear how many of them did buy tickets to Tel Aviv, and how many of those will be able to pass through the security questionings at the gate and board their flights.

In an article at the British Guardian, Sam Bahour, a coordinators of the Right to Enter campaign, called Israel’s threat to deny visitors entry to Palestine “disturbing” and “shocking”:

…more than 300 international activists plan to arrive in Tel Aviv during the week of 8 July at the invitation of 30 Palestinian civil society organisations, to participate in an initiative named “Welcome to Palestine”. Delegations from France, Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, the USA, Japan and several African countries are expected.

Upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport, the invited guests, all from countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel, will make no secret of their intent to go to the occupied Palestinian territory. This nonviolent act, a civil society tsunami of sorts, only comes after Israel’s restriction of movement and access to and from Palestine for Palestinians and foreigners has exhausted all established channels that carry the responsibility to uphold international law first and their domestic laws second.

Israeli anti-occupation activists are planning to conduct their “welcoming party” at the arrival hall of TLV airport.

UPDATE: Ynet’s report this morning (Wednesday) detalis more security arrangments to be taken by Israeli authorities at the airport. “Everyone here is in hysterics,” sources in Jerusalem told Ynet. A special operation room will be active at Ben Gurion airport starting tomorrow, and plainclothes detective will be stationed in the terminals. Flight from Europe might be directed to a separate terminal.

“We expect that some 500 pro-Palestinian activists will attempt to land in Israel from Europe in the coming days, with a large mass expected on Friday,” an element at the Public Security Ministry said. “They will try to create provocations. We are not familiar with them all but will urge the airlines to prevent those we do know from boarding the planes.”

Israeli chief of police told Maariv that “we won’t be soft on protesters coming to the airport”

UPDATE II: two dutch Journalist, coming to do a pro-Israeli story on the flotilla, were prevented from boarding a flight to Tel Aviv. Five activists were deported until Wednesday night.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. David

      STRIP SEARCH !

      Reply to Comment
    2. @David: this is a blogs’ site, not Ynet. you are welcomed to comment, but to the point and with certain (not too much) respect to others. get a grip on yourself or get banned – your choice.

      Reply to Comment
    3. David

      I have been strip searched a few times. It’s all in the mind. This procedure is “available” across the world at all airports, hardly controversial.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Mary in Seattle

      “…an effort will be made to locate the activists before they board their flights to Israel….”

      Question: And do what, exactly?

      Reply to Comment
    5. tom hussey

      Palestine is to the early 21st century what the Spanish Republic was to the 1930s. The international brigades were defeated and driven from Spain, but the new ones mounting in support of Palestine are as strobngly motivated as their predecessors and it will take bullets and bombs to defeat them.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Shoded Yam

      “…I have been strip searched a few times”
      .
      In the other thread you intimated that a strip search would include an investigation of a more “intimate nature” So tell me, as a veteran “srtip searchee”, did you find repeating the mantra; “It’s all in the mind” effective in disassociating during the “cavity probe” phase? :-p

      Reply to Comment
    7. Shoded Yam

      “…The international brigades were defeated and driven from Spain, but the new ones mounting in support of Palestine are as strobngly motivated as their predecessors and it will take bullets and bombs to defeat them.”
      .
      Unfortunate analogy. The international brigades while brave, were poorly trained and led, and as a result were slaughtered. Toward the end, the brigades suffered an extremely high rate of desertion, and subsequently many executions, purges and assasinations at the hands of the NKVD. The International’s performance in Spain (with a few notable exceptions; Madrid, Jarama, and arguably Bruneiga) was pathetic and they were in the main, stalinist dupes. you would have done well to have read; “Homage To Catalonia” by Orwell before embarking on any misplaced lionizations.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Shoded Yam

      “…The international brigades were defeated and driven from Spain, but the new ones mounting in support of Palestine are as strobngly motivated as their predecessors and it will take bullets and bombs to defeat them.”
      .
      Unfortunate analogy. The international brigades while brave, were poorly trained and led, and as a result were slaughtered. Toward the end, the brigades suffered an extremely high rate of desertion, and subsequently many executions, purges and assasinations at the hands of the NKVD. The International’s performance in Spain (with a few notable exceptions; Madrid, Jarama, and arguably Bruneiga) was pathetic and they were in the main, stalinist dupes. you would have done well to have read; “Homage To Catalonia” by Orwell before embarking on any misplaced lionizations.

      Reply to Comment
    9. “undermine Israel’s right to exist…” OUTSIDE of Israel, in Palestine. Indeed and rightly so.

      Eventually an Israeli Government will have to start telling the truth. Israel was declared independent of Palestine May 15th 1948.

      The Jewish People’s Council, accepted UNGA Res 181 without reservation. Israel was declared in accordance with UNGA Res 181, still enshrined in the Declaration for the Establishment of the State of Israel.

      The Israeli Government sought recognition as “an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947″ It was recognized as such and accepted into the UN as such, BEFORE making any claims to any territory acquired by war.

      The Israeli Government confirmed the extent of Israel’ s frontiers on May 22nd 1948 in a statement to the UNSC as being ” as defined in the Resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947″

      Israel has never legally annexed any territory to it’s declared sovereign extent. East Jerusalem and the Golan are NOT Israeli

      It is inadmissible to ‘acquire’ territory by war. ANY WAR. The territories Israel has never even attempted to annex, acquired by war by 1949, are NOT yet legally Israeli.

      Israel has dug a big, black, deep,’facts on the ground’ hole for it’s witting and alas unwitting citizens, in Palestinian territory.

      One can only hope that after September in the UN, Deuteronomy 20:15 can at last be ripped up and thrown away

      We will then see 63 years of Israeli lies exposed as it scrambles to legally annex territories it has acquired by war since May 15th 1948 and through illegal annexation and illegal ‘facts on the ground’.

      I say scrambles, because a Palestinian state would have equal rights to annex the same territories

      Reply to Comment
    10. i hope e al made a few sheckel on this debaucle. at least b4 they send these misguided fools back.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Muslims Must Suffer for their Wicked Policies

      this comment was removed

      Reply to Comment
    12. Sylvia

      4 deported so far. Others were allowed to enter, yet others are being questioned.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Sylvia

      10 activists allowed entry so far.

      Reply to Comment
    14. annie

      either way it’s a win win for palestine.

      lots of people do not believe or understand the tight grip israel has on palestinians and palestine, that is about to change. the idea israel will deny entrance to people desiring to visit palestine is an outrage. why should people have to lie to enter palestine? and why should people have to lie about their visit to palestine when they leave israel (unless they want to go thru hours of unnecessary questions and searches at the airport?

      how does visiting palestine constitute underminee Israel’s right to exist? just the mention of palestine undermines israel for some people. if only you could wash away thousands of years of history and create a myth it was land just for you and you alone.

      Reply to Comment
    15. max

      Annie, you may be right had the facts been as you understand them.
      However, your understanding is wrong (granted, the post didn’t try to provide clear and correct information).
      .
      Thousands of visitors each year enter Israel with explicit, even written intention to spend their time in the West Bank / Palestine. You can book your tour with a Palestinian travel agency and specify that you’ll stay in any Arab place.
      The ones sent back are those that show intentions to seek and create trouble.
      That’s the norm around the world, though more people come to Israel for that than to other countries, because they know that they won’t end their journey in prison but may rather find their names as heroes on a tabloid’s front page.
      .
      p.s. If your misinformation is due to this post, you may want to inform Noam that his post may be misleading.

      Reply to Comment
    16. max

      “more people come to Israel for that than to other countries, because they know that they won’t end their journey in prison but may rather find their names as heroes on a tabloid’s front page”

      Hilarious twaddle

      Reply to Comment
    17. Empress Trudy

      But now they have to boycott themselves. Does that mean they won’t allow themselves to leave?

      Reply to Comment

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