In the wake of “Nakba Day,” “Naksa Day” and an anticipated Gaza-bound flotilla
later this month, pro-Palestinian activists are planning to send hundreds of
Palestinians living abroad on commercial flights to Ben-Gurion Airport next
month in a dramatic display of solidarity.
According to a report released
this week by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an Israeli NGO,
organizers believe the planned Gaza flotilla is too limited in scope, and
broader action is needed to “remove the blockade from the entire land of
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Organizers said the “fly-in” would occur July 8, the date in
2004 that the UN’s International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion
that Israel’s West Bank security fence is illegal by international
After holding a protest rally at the airport, the arrivals plan to
travel to the West Bank to “express solidarity” with
Organizers said 500 people have already scheduled flights
to Israel, including Palestinian families from Europe, North and South America,
Asia and Africa. Germany will be one of the participants’ main departure
Fifteen organizations are involved in the initiative, including
the influential International Solidarity Movement.
The ISM is active in
organizing weekly protests against the West Bank security fence at Bil’in, and
in the Free Gaza Movement behind last May’s controversial flotilla.
NGO report suggests the fly-in may be the product of rivalries between
pro-Palestinian groups, and that diverting attention from the Gaza flotilla may
be one of the initiative’s chief objectives.
“While we rightly focus on
Gaza, we must not forget that Israeli colonial authorities are implementing
their racist apartheid policies throughout historic Palestine,” organizers wrote
on the website bienvenuepalestine.com.
“In the West Bank (including east
Jerusalem) and in the Negev and the Galilee, ethnic cleansing and
killing/injuring civilians are just some of the many violations of basic human
“Israel destroyed the only Palestinian airport, built with our
money (European grants). As a result, we have no other option but to go
through Israeli security, even though we don’t want to go to Israel,” organizers
wrote. “We are pacifists, we will have nothing dangerous in our bags. We call on
our elected representatives and our governments during the following months to
ensure that we shall be normally and properly treated on our arrival in Ben
Gourion [sic] airport, as are Israeli citizens when they come to our
Meanwhile, a Hamas-linked website called on Palestinian
refugees and their descendants to travel to Israel on commercial flights on
Saturday and Sunday as part of events commemorating the “Naksa” of Arab defeat
in the Six Day War.
The fly-in is touted as part of wider rallies and
marches this weekend and early next week.