Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

Middle east

Israel blocks pro-Palestinian 'fly-in' stunt at airport

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-15

More than 40 pro-Palestinian activists were refused entry at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport Sunday when they attempted to "fly in" to flout Israel's decision to distribute "no-fly" lists to European carriers operating in Israel.

REUTERS - More than 40 pro-Palestinian activists reached Tel Aviv’s international airport on Sunday as part of an attempted “fly-in” only to be detained as Israel denied them entry and scrambled to stop other campaigners boarding flights in Europe.

Israel’s decision to distribute “no-fly” lists to European carriers and deploy hundreds of police at Ben Gurion airport underlined its deep concern over international campaigns against its treatment of the Palestinians.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that 41 people had been refused entry at Ben Gurion airport by early afternoon and would be deported. Four Israeli supporters, two holding “Welcome to Palestine” signs, were also arrested as they waited to greet the arrivals.

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman said Israel on Wednesday had given airlines the names of some 1,200 activists whose entry would be barred. Israel made it clear the carriers would have to bear the costs of repatriating any deportees.

Leehee Rothschild, a “Welcome to Palestine” activist, said dozens of campaigners had since been informed by airlines that their tickets to Tel Aviv had been cancelled.

Organisers had said some 1,200 Palestinian supporters throughout Europe had bought plane tickets to Israel, planning to travel on to the occupied West Bank, an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv, as part of a campaign called “Welcome to Palestine”.

The aim of the so-called “flytilla”, organisers said, was to help open an international school and a museum in Bethlehem.

But Israel, which described the fly-in as a misguided protest against “the Middle East’s sole democracy”, denounced the activists as provocateurs and said it would deny entry to anyone who threatened public order.

No-fly zone

In Brussels’ Zaventem airport, around 100 Belgian and French activists were not allowed to board flights to Israel.

The activists, some of whom said they wanted to build a new school, held up letters that were handed to them at the airport which said they were on a no-fly list because they intended to “disrupt order and confront security forces at friction points”.

Cellphone video uploaded by an activist to the internet showed about 20 pro-Palestinian activists at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris surrounded by police.

Some Israeli political commentators said Israeli authorities had over-reacted, playing into the hands of pro-Palestinian campaigners seeking publicity.

A similar, though smaller event last year led to a few hundred activists being blocked at European airports and more than 100 others were deported after Israel denied them entry.

“Israel’s willingness to detain people who have not committed any crime and have done nothing but say they came to visit Palestine is a hysterical reaction,” Rothschild said.

Palestinians hope to establish a state in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War, and the Gaza Strip that is ruled by Islamist group Hamas.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a letter on Saturday which it hoped to hand the activists upon their arrival.

Echoing the “thank you for choosing our airline” announcements cabin crew often make to passengers after landing, the letter said: “We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns.”

It called the activists’ campaign misguided and said they could have chosen instead “to protest (against) the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people”.

Israel’s left-wing Haaretz newspaper, criticising the government’s ban, said it should invite “peace activists to visit anywhere and welcome them with flowers”.

Date created : 2012-04-15

  • ISRAEL - PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

    ICC rejects Palestinian bid for Israeli war crimes inquiry

    Read more

  • ISRAEL/PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

    Palestinians clash with Israeli forces during 'Land Day' protest

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    Israel to free Palestinian hunger striker

    Read more

COMMENT(S)