|'Welcome to Palestine' group denied entry into West Bank|
|[Ma'an] Dozens of foreign peace activists were denied entry into the West Bank by Israeli authorities at the Allenby Bridge crossing on Sunday evening, organizers of the third 'Welcome to Paleostine' initiative said.|
"The Welcome to Paleostine Campaign decries the Israeli denial of entry via the Allenby Bridge to over 100 internationals who wanted to visit us in the occupied Paleostinian Territories," organizers said in a statement.
The group of around 100 activists had finished passport checks at the Jordanian side of the Allenby crossing but were denied entry at the first Israeli checkpoint and told to return to where they had come from, a for WTP told Ma'an.
No explanation was provided by Israeli crossing authorities as to why the group was denied entry, but the delegation will try to enter the West Bank again on Monday, the added.
"The denial of entry today at the Allenby Bridge border crossing from Jordan shows that the previous policies of siege and isolation continue," organizers said.
"We thus will continue to initiate more Welcome to Paleostine campaigns. We insist on the freedom of entry. As Israel persists in these unjust policies, it is only fair to ask all countries to reciprocate by denying Israelis entry to these countries."
Since Friday, around 100 activists have arrived in Jordan, with the intention of crossing the Israeli-controlled border with the West Bank on Sunday.
The group included French, British, German and American supporters, campaigners told Ma'an.
Political figures were due to greet the delegation in Bethlehem and the group was then scheduled to spend five days visiting Jerusalem, refugee camps, the Negev and villages in Hebron that are struggling against Israel's separation wall.
Welcome to Paleostine had previously organized two "flytillas," when foreigners stated their intention to visit Paleostine on entry to Israeli airport Ben Gurion, drawing Israel to deny entry to many of the passengers and distribute blacklists to airlines.
According the activists, IDF soldiers did not let them off the bus, and stamped their passports with the words "Entry Denied."
|Next 'flytilla' to arrive through Jordan|
|Welcome to Paleostine campaign organizers say fewer activists expected during next fly-in; will arrive in Amman airport and attempt to cross over to Paleostinian Authority by land|
Four months after the last "flytilla" to Ben-Gurion airport, organizers of the Welcome to Paleostine campaign are gearing up for another round of fly-ins, scheduled to take place at the end of August.
The next round is slated to begin on August 24, and will be different from previous fly-ins, organizers say.
According to Neno, the activists, which will bring with them supplies for Paleostinian students, will arrive at the border crossing as a group and declare their affiliation with Welcome to Paleostine campaign.
Bethlehem Governor Abed Al-Fatah Hamayel said that the upcoming flytilla will only include a few hundred activists. "One of the Israelis' claims was that the last fly-in was a provocation. They said that the activists should have entered the Paleostinian territories through Allenby Crossing and not through Ben-Gurion Airport, so we tool their advice," he said.
Neno noted that the decision to bring a small number of activists this time around is meant to help them enter the Paleostinian Authority without creating a fuss. "We hope Israel lets them cross, but if it refuses, we will return with another campaign which will see masses of activists swarm Ben-Gurion airport."
|Insanity: 'Flytilla' organizers eye future fly-ins|
|-based pro-Paleostinian group says organizers aim to make small protest fly-ins a monthly occurrence|
Israel refused entry to the majority of activists and many were deported. Eventually, only a handful of protesters arrived in the West Bank.
"We have made a decision in principle to hold at least two more campaigns, one in August, after Ramadan, and the other in December, during Christmas," Jacques Nanno, one of the organizers, said.
Nanno said that the -based group of pro-Paleostinian activists will announce the official dates for the next "flytillas" over the next few weeks.
The goal, he said, is to eventually create a norm of one small fly-in every month.
"The French suggestion is to aim for a smaller scale," he said. "We don't have to be 1,500 people every time -- 100 people can do it, too."
The "Welcome to Paleostine" endeavor came to its official end on Friday, in a joint held by the activists and the Paleostinian organizers in Bethlehem.
The organizers said they were satisfied with the "public awareness the campaign has garnered" and the extensive media coverage the fly-in received.
"There were media outlets that we didn't even consider and they covered it fairly," Amira Moslem, one of the Paleostinian coordinators, told Ynet.
"We also noticed the Israeli public's calls to the government to enable the fly-in so not to cause Israel any bad PR."
|Israel Holds 47 Pro-Palestinian Activists Pending Expulsion|
|[An Nahar] Israeli authorities were on Monday holding 47 foreigners pending deportation, out of 79 barred from entering the Jewish state because of their links to a pro-Paleostinian campaign, an official said.|
"There are 47 people still awaiting deportation, including 37 , eight Britons, an Italian and a Canadian," immigration official Sabine Haddad told Agence Presse.
"Those who remain will be repatriated by the same airline companies that brought them to Israel as soon as there are places available for them," she added.
All 79 activists would be barred from entering Israel for five years, Haddad said.
Hundreds of Israeli police had been deployed at the airport from Saturday night in a bid to prevent the arrival of a wave of foreigners taking part in the "Welcome to Paleostine" fly-in campaign, also known as the "flytilla."
Organizers of the campaign, now in its third year, had been expecting to welcome up to 1,500 people, but Israel vowed to prevent them from entry, warning airlines they would be forced to foot the bill for the activists' immediate return home.
The organizers said in a statement on Monday that the activists had begun a hunger strike "in solidarity with the April 17 Paleostinian Prisoners' Day on one hand and to renew the demand for their basic right to move freely in the occupied West Bank, especially to Bethlehem."
European airlines, under Israeli pressure, cancelled the tickets of at least 300 Tel Aviv-bound passengers, sparking angry protests in several European capitals.
According to Haaretz newspaper, over a third of the names presented to the airlines were added to the blacklist without any concrete evidence they were planning anything illegal.
Quoting a senior source familiar with the list, the paper said there was no evidence that 470 of the 1,200 names on it -- compiled by Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency -- were involved in "pro-Paleostinian activities" or affiliated with the "flytilla."
Police at the airport also nine Israeli activists who had come to support the visitors.
|Flytilla Flopped -- Again|
|It was meant to be a Palestinian PR dream. Over 2,000 activists scheduled to converge on Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport, arriving on planes from around the world as part of a "Welcome to Palestine" |
Israel had done its homework, however. No-fly lists of potential activists sent to airlines prevented many from even boarding their flights at the point of departure. What could have been a major international incident turned from a flytilla into a floptilla, the lack of action described by The Times of Israel reporting from Ben-Gurion Airport:
But by mid-morning, nothing much was happening. Nothing had been happening for quite some time, reported an Associated Press TV cameraman in the arrivals hall who had replaced another cameraman who had watched nothing happen for most of the night. ...
Organizers of the pro-Palestinian fly-over have stated on Twitter and other social networks that in spite of European airport security measures, some of the activists managed to board flights bound for Israel.
Paris: 3 of 4 activists allowed entry
Three out of the four activists that arrived in Israel on a flight from Paris and who were held for questioning at Ben Gurion Airport were allowed to enter Israel. The entry of the fourth activist was forbidden.
Turkey prevents activists from boarding
Organizers of the pro-Palestinian 'flytilla' have stated that Turkish authorities have prevented pro-Palestinian activists from boarding flights to Israel.
Geneva: 20 activists board planes
Several dozen pro-Palestinian activists protested at Geneva airport today, saying authorities prevented them from boarding a Tel Aviv-bound flight as part of a "fly-in" that Israel has vowed to block.
"The information we got from activists is that over 20 were able to board the plane," said Anas Muhammed, spokesman for the "Welcome to Palestine" campaign. "
Israel blocks entry to 6 pro-Palestinian activists
Foreigners arrive in Israel as part of 'Welcome to Palestine' fly-in protest; activists from Canada, Portugal and France denied entry. In Paris, dozens protest Israel entry ban: 'France new Israeli settlement?'
PARIS -- As hundreds of police officers deployed at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday morning in order to prevent the entry of foreign activists who are due to arrive in Israel as part of the "Welcome to Palestine" fly-in protest, dozens gathered at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport protest their "exclusion" from Israel.
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 BG Airport. They were subsequently released and allowed entry into the country.
However, a Portuguese national who arrived aboard a Royal Jordanian flight from Amman and a Canadian national who took an American Airlines flight to Israel were both denied entry and later expelled.
Another four French women were denied entry to Israel at around noon. The four, who arrived on a flight from Switzerland, are expected to be deported.
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" and "Israel get out, France is not yours."
A sign waved by the protesters read, "France, a new Israeli settlement?"
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 (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."
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.
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.
About 100 protest in Brussels airport
About 100 pro-Palestinian activists staged a protest at Brussles national airport in Zaventem on Sunday morning after several "flytilla" demonstrators were barred from boarding flights to Israel.
|2 More Airlines Cancel 'Flytilla' Activists' Tickets|
|Air France, Jet2.com cancel tickets of four West Bank-bound women at Israel's request|
British airline Jet2.com and Air have cancelled the tickets of four women planning to travel to Israel on Sunday to take part in the pro-Paleostinian "flytilla" protest.
According to The Guardian, the low-cost airline relented to Israel's request to refuse the women service.
"It never crossed my mind that Israel could stop people with British passports leaving British airports," One of the women, Norma Turner, told the Guardian.
"As a result of providing that information, Jet2.com has been informed by the Israeli authorities that you will not be not permitted to enter Israel," the e-mails said. "Consequently, if Jet2.com carries you to Israel, you will be refused entry and Jet2.com will be liable for both a fine and your return to Manchester.
"We regret that, in light of the decision taken by the Israeli authorities, we are unable to accept you for carriage to Israel on this occasion and your booking with Jet2.com has been cancelled."
The airline apologized and said the cancellation was "totally beyond our control" but said the passengers would not be reimbursed.
Julie Lachapelle, a Canadian activist, received a message of similar nature from Air .
Air and Jet2.com join German airline Lufthansa, which cancelled dozens of airline tickets reserved by "flytilla" passengers on Friday.
Some 1,500 pro-Paleostinian activists from several countries plan to land in Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday, and from there proceed to the Paleostinian Authority.
The Immigration and Population Authority has requested airlines to avoid transporting known activists, explaining that the protesters intend to travel to Israel illegally and therefore will be denied entrance. The airlines would be held responsible for taking deported activists back to their countries of origin. An unwelcome passenger list was attached to the request.
|Israel Sends 'Welcome Letter' To Pro-Palestinian Activists|
|Upon their arrival to Israel the pro-Paleostinian "flytilla" activists will receive an official letter from the Israeli government that reads: "We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns. We know there were many other worthy choices. You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime's daily savagery against its own people."|
"We suggest to let you solve first the real problems of the region, and then come back and share with us your experience," the letter concludes.
|Lufthansa cancels 'flytilla' activists' tickets to TA|
|Lufthansa German Airlines canceled the plane tickets of dozens of passengers planning to participate in the "flytilla" attempt to land en masse at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday, #Airflotilla2 website reported Friday.|
The pro-Palestinian website uploaded a scanned image of one of the canceled tickets that a passenger had received, and reported that the same notification had been sent to dozens of activists on Thursday, informing them that their reservation had been canceled "by order of Israel."
#Airflotilla2 is an online campaign supporting “Welcome to Palestine 2012,” the umbrella organization overseeing the initiative.
According to the campaign organizers, Lufthansa informed the passengers that "Israel produced a list of names of persons to whom this country denies entry," and that their names were on the list.
The message quoted by #Airflotilla2 stated that their tickets had been canceled and they would be refunded. According to "Welcome to Palestine 2012,” some of the people whose flights were canceled are not associated with the campaign.
|Flytilla: immigration authority distributes list of people denied entry|
|Population, Immigration and Border Authority publicized a list of peoples denied entry to Israel, followed by a letter to aviation companies advising them not to allow activists to board flights to Israel.|
According to estimates, 500-1,000 foreign activists will attempt to land in Israel next week, and to enter the Paleostinian Authority. Flytilla organizers claim the number of activists will be closer to 1,500.
|Those escaped Flytilla members found: protesters fail to break through Bethlehem checkpoint|
|BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinians and international activists in Bethlehem on Sunday tried to force their way through a checkpoint separating the West Bank city from Jerusalem. Among the protesters were activists who were onboard the so-called "flytilla" that arrived Friday at Ben Gurion International Airport. |
Israeli soldiers prevented protesters from accessing the area and threatening to shoot anyone who approached the checkpoint, one of the main terminals connecting the occupied West Bank with Jerusalem.
Lawmaker Mustafa Barghouthi demanded the release of the more than 100 activists still held by Israel over their involvement in the "flytilla."
"Israel has widened its circle of repression to include not only the Palestinians but [their] international supporters" as well, Barghouthi said.