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

Jerusalem Post's Larry Derfner surrounded by a mob at Ben Gurion airport (photo: Joseph Dana)

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 to where these woman were detained. Ynet is reporting that they were detained after after reportedly yelling “free Gaza” during passport inspection at Ben Gurion International Airport. Organizers of the “Welcome to Palestine” movement claim that the two woman were detained trying to enter Bethlehem after successfully entering Israel on Friday.

Regardless of where they were detained, the ruling that they are allowed to remain in Israel after openly stating their intention to travel to the West Bank sets a new legal precedent for traveling to the occupied Palestinian territories. There are still over 40 “air flotilla” passengers in Israeli detention waiting deportation and/or hearings on their status in Israel.

For more on this issue:
“Air Flotilla” successful in exposing Israeli blockade of West Bank
Mobocracy at Ben-Gurion Airport / Larry Derfner

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    1. Deïr Yassin

      Well, that’s funny. Your guest writer, Evgeni Klauber I think his names was, pretended after much critique of his nonsense article on post-modern tourism that he met various members of the Flytilla in a Tel Aviv night club, Belgians and Germans among others – in order to ‘confirm his ‘sociological’ analysis.
      Some of us questioned that strongly. I guess calling him ‘liar” is allright now, and the guy is supposed to be a visiting professor at TAU.

      Reply to Comment
    2. max

      JD “the ruling that they are allowed to remain in Israel after openly stating their intention to travel to the West Bank sets a new legal precedent for traveling to the occupied Palestinian territories”
      That’s – as I previously wrote – is blatantly false, as thousands of visitors arrive each year with papers showing their trip was booked via Palestinian travel agencies and their destinations are hotels in the WB.
      @DY: the article doesn’t claim that only 2 have been allowed to enter, but that 2 who were detained were allowed to continue.
      In principle, I agree with you that his casual encounter with activists in a TLV pub is “interesting”.

      Reply to Comment
      • Max, the entire drive of the Welcome to Palestine campaign is that one can’t openly and freely travel to “Palestine” because of Israel’s control of all border crossings in and out of the West Bank. Now, I interviewed the Arabic spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office at the airport on the day of the Flytilla, he told me that ALL people entering the West Bank require a permit to do so from the Israeli military. That is a direct quote. Perhaps the people that you cite could have acquired such a permit. Stranger things have happen. Note, that religious tours are a different story. Welcome to Palestine activists did not say that they were religious pilgrims which desired to visit holy sites, rather they were interested in traveling to visit Palestinians living under occupation.

        Next time you travel into Israel, take the “welcome to Palestine” challenge. When asked the nature of your visit, state clearly and in plain English or Hebrew, if you speak it, that you are traveling to “Palestine,” “Ramallah” or “Nablus.” See what happens. I would be the first one eager to hear the results of your experiment.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Tactical Nuclear Housecat

      Can someone explain how a person who’s not a legal resident, permanent or not, can appeal a deportation order? This could be a valuable piece of information.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Sol Salbe

      Nuclear scientist, perhaps you should study the mother of all democracies where Sheikh Ra’ad Salah, a non-citizen and non-resident,is appealing his deportation orders. A Google search will give you hundreds of similar examples from Australia. It is a normal practice in a democracy.

      Reply to Comment
    5. J

      Since 1970, the military issued General Entry Permit #5 that states that no Israeli or foreign national can reside in the West Bank without a permit issued by the military commander. Any Israeli who chooses to spend over 48 hours in the West Bank requires a different permit – and all structures/buildings also require a military permit.

      The fact that no one has ever applied or received one of these permits is something else.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Tactical Nuclear Housecat

      Ah thank you. Saleh’s mistreatment is a great example of ruthlessly oppressing free speech in the name of god knows what. Seems to me what should happen is clog up the gears of the state. Have thousands of people flock to the Zionist state and demand an appeal for their deportation.

      Reply to Comment