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air flotilla

  • Welcome to Israel: Where protesting racism is dangerous

    On Sunday, as Israeli security forces were rounding up activists who were trying to enter Palestine, a racist conference was held in Ramle and a middle-aged woman was beaten for protesting racism. Welcome to a frightening Israel, where being non-racist is dangerous Even though almost all of the “Welcome to Palestine” participants were prevented from reaching the West Bank, the campaign was a success. As the international and local media watched, 79 internationals were refused entry to Israel. But they weren’t trying to enter Israel. They were trying to get to Bethlehem, in Palestinian Authority-controlled Area A. And they brought…

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  • Who are the 'Welcome to Palestine' activists?

    In the air between Geneva and Tel Aviv, I spent some time talking to the international activists who joined the "Welcome to Palestine" campaign.  Activists who told this writer in the Geneva airport that they are traveling to Palestine cheered quietly and smiled as the plane took off. However, a number of those activists declined to be interviewed. Several who had said, in the airport, that they were part of the action became skittish and recanted, claiming that they were visiting Tel Aviv or that they didn’t speak English at all. Two men, aged 25 and 49, said that they…

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  • Activists plan to land in TLV airport, hundreds of flights already canceled

    I'm writing this from somewhere in Europe. Sunday morning, I will board a plane* bound for Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. Organizers of the “Welcome to Palestine” campaign tell me that more than half the passengers on my flight will be international activists. UPDATE: According to reports in international and Israeli media, hundreds of flights scheduled to land in Israel Sunday have already been cancelled. According to Haaretz, 60 percent of the 1,500 activists who planned to fly to via Lufthansa, Jet2 and Air France have received notice from the airlines of their flights being cancelled. Hundreds are still expected to…

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  • Where are the Palestinian voices in mainstream media?

    Have international solidarity mobilizations drowned out Palestinian voices? Over the last few weeks, media in this region was filled with images of people from all over the Western world holding up Palestinian flags and chanting “Free Palestine.” We’ve heard from the likes of Americans, like prize-winning author Alice Walker and former CIA official Ray McGovern (both passengers on the US boat to Gaza) about the importance of standing up for Palestinians in Gaza; we’ve heard about hunger strikes by Spanish and American citizens stuck in Greece after their boats were not allowed to sail; and we’ve seen videos of activists landing…

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  • Out of hundreds, two 'air flotilla' activists allowed to stay

    According to various news reports, two "air flotilla" activists who arrived in Israel last Friday have been allowed to remain in Israel (and travel to the West Bank freely) on the condition that they "refrain from disrupting the peace." The activists were part of the "Welcome to Palestine" campaign which sent hundreds of European tourists to Israel last week with the intention to freely and openly visit the West Bank. The two activists, former Australian Green MP Sylvia Hale and New Zealand national Vivienne Porzsolt, were brought before an Israeli district court in Petach Tikva this morning. There are conflicting reports as…

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  • Were 'air flotilla' activists arrested in West Bank?

    According to media reports carried by all major news outlets in Israel, four ‘air flotilla’ passengers were arrested/detained Saturday in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh during an unarmed demonstration this morning. Haaretz, in its headline story, is citing reports by Channel 10 (Heb), that four ‘air flotilla’ activists have been taken for questioning after they had been arrested in the demonstration. The Jerusalem Post, citing unnamed ‘organizers’, claims that air flotilla passengers are clashing with security forces in Nabi Saleh. The paper does not cite the name of the organizations that the ‘organizers’ are representatives of. Ynet is…

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  • "Air Flotilla" successful in exposing Israeli blockade of West Bank

    Israeli authorities deployed hundreds of police officers to arrest and deport pro-Palestinian visitors. The Minister of Tourism announced that "good tourists" will be greeted with flowers Panic. There is no other way to describe the Israeli reaction to a plan organized by a few activists—no more than a thousand, according to the most generous estimates—to try and travel to the West Bank via Ben Gurion International Airport. A handful of those visitors arrived  (five of them have already been deported), and it seems that the whole country has gone mad. Haaretz has reported a special deployment of hundreds of police…

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