Pro-Palestinian demonstrators are planning their third protest event to
highlight Israel’s policy of banning foreign activists who it believes could
cause a public disorder while visiting the area.
protesters believe that Israel applies the ban too broadly to include political
ideology. In July 2011 and again in April 2012, activists from the grassroots
organization Welcome to Palestine held a protest to highlight that issue, in
which activists – mostly from Europe – flew into Ben-Gurion Airport on the same
Upon arrival the pro-Palestinians announced that they had come to
visit “Palestine.” In both cases, Israel blocked most of the activists from
entering the country. In many cases Israel worked with the airlines, which then
denied the activists the right to board the plane.
immediately deported those activists who landed at Ben-Gurion Both events, which
involved hundreds of activists, were dubbed the “flytilla.”
Palestine has organized a small group of 25 activists mostly from France who
will fly into the airport in Amman on August 23.
They will visit
Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, before attempting to enter the West Bank
through the Allenby Bridge.
Upon arrival at the bridge the activists will
tell Israeli custom officials that they have come to visit Palestine, said one
of the Bethlehem organizers, Mazin Qumsiyeh.
In a statement to the press,
Welcome to Palestine organizers said they had chosen to try and enter the West
Bank through the Allenby Bridge because Israeli officials had suggested that
this passage, rather than Ben-Gurion, was the more appropriate way to enter the
“We have decided to take them at their word,” the activists
Once in the West Bank, activists will visit Bethlehem and the
region through the end of the month, according to the press release.
will visit with Palestinians and volunteer to help prepare children for the new
Activists who made it into the West Bank in July 2011 and
April 2012 also participated in a range of educational and volunteer activities
in support of the Palestinians.