Flotilla activists deportation starts

June 2, 2010 00:57

PM decides not to prosecute any of 680 detainees from ships.

1 minute read.

One of the flotilla boats docks at the Ashdod port

greek ship flotilla ashdod 311. (photo credit: Ron Friedman)

The deportation of activists from the Gaza protest flotilla who were arrested in an IDF naval raid on Monday started late Tuesday, as the first groups of detainees left Israel via Ben-Gurion Airport and the Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided Tuesday that Israel would not prosecute or continue to hold the participants it captured from the Gaza protest flotilla, despite earlier indications from Israel that some of those who attacked the Israeli soldiers boarding the ships will be prosecuted.

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Barak: Flotilla organizers to blame

Earlier Tuesday, the cabinet ministers discussed the release, and accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in taking a progressively hardening anti-Israeli stance for years.

The cabinet will reconvene Wednesday to continue discussing the affair.

The detainees will start leaving Israel on Monday night, the process taking about 48 hours. Those of Turkish origin will be flown home on several planes that Turkey sent and have already arrived in Ben-Gurion Airport, and the rest of the group will be deported to Jordan by the Israeli Military Police through the Allenby Bridge border crossing.

Detainees refusing to return to their countries will be brought before a court of law which will decide whether to deport them.

The largest group of protesters came from Turkey (380). The rest of the group of nearly 700 protesters came from the UK, Greece and Jordan, with other Arab, European and Islamic countries such as Indonesia contributing small numbers.

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