Interior Minister Eli Yishai commended the Immigration and Population Authority on Friday for preventing activists from
entering the country and holding disruptive demonstrations in Ben-Gurion
"The Immigration department is doing a
good job," he said. "They prevented a few illegal activists from
entering." He continued, "We will take a firm hand against anyone
disregarding [our] laws, and like any other sovereign state we will use
any means at our disposal to prevent people intent on breaking the law
from entering the country."
as usual at B-G as police await 'Flightilla'
prepare for arrival of 'air flotilla' activists
statements in support of the police and border guards stationed at
Ben-Gurion Airport over the weekend came after police diverted two
passenger aircraft that landed at the airport earlier on
Friday. Security forces detained at least 250 suspected pro-Palestinian
activists for questioning. Participants in
the "Air Flotilla" arrived on three other flights as well.
said that 69 activists have been denied entry. Four of those denied
entry were sent back to their original destinations, while the rest were
taken into custody until flights could be arranged, Army Radio
Two of the flights, one EasyJet from Geneva and one Alitalia, were diverted to Terminal 1, where police combed passengers for pro-Palestinian activists expected to attempt entry into the country as part of the "Air Flotilla," Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Police
believed a bulk of foreign pro-Palestinian activists were on those jets.
police finished checking the flights, passengers not connected to the
groups of activists were ferried back to Terminal 3. The suspected
activists were taken to a separate area of the airport for questioning.
activists involved represented a number of different countries,
including the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, and the
Police Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said his officers "succeeded in meeting the mission set by the government." Undercover
agents and police continued to be deployed at the airport as more
"air flotilla" participants were expected to arrive.
Meanwhile, six left-wing Israeli activists were
arrested after causing a disturbance in the arrivals area at Terminal
Three, police added.
"Five males and one female are being questioned," Rosenfeld said.
The activists held up signs inside the terminal saying "Welcome to Palestine."
Several of them were taken outside by police where they were arrested and attacked by bystanders.
Earlier Friday, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said
that even though hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists taking part in
the "air flotilla" were prevented from entering Israel, "the wave was
still ahead of us," adding that in the coming hours approximately 100
activists are expected to land in Israel.
"We're not taking any chances," the minister said.
made the comments during an assessment held at the airport together with Danino and other
senior police officials.
During the meeting, the latest
security preparedness was discussed, and the minister heard that all
security agencies were able to "significantly minimize" attempts by
hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists abroad from reaching Israel, by
preventing them from boarding at their point of origin, the Public
Ministry said in a statement.
"At the same time, police
preparations at Ben-Gurion Airport is creating deterrence," the
statement added. "The presence of undercover and overt forces at the
airport has prevented many who sought to disturb public order from
heading [to Israel]," the statement added.
Police were also mobilized at the Temple Mount and along the green line to prevent any disturbances.
Tovah Lazaroff, Herb Keinon, and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.