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.
Campaigners said that those who had received the notifications had not committed any offense and "do not accept these mafia-methods favored by governments complicit in the imprisonment of the Palestinian people." Therefore, they said they would show up at their respective airports as scheduled to board flights to Tel Aviv.
The Public Security Ministry and the Israel Police are making final preparations ahead of the scheduled event on Sunday, anticipating that the activists will try to cause disturbances. Police will beef up their presence at the airport and single out activists when they deplane with the intention of arresting them and deporting them back to their point of origin as quickly as possible, with minimum disruption to ordinary passengers in the airport.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told Channel 1 news on Monday evening that Israel hopes it will succeed in preventing many of the travelers from boarding planes in their home countries, by sending blacklists with activists’ names to foreign airports like it did last year.
“Welcome to Palestine 2012,” calls on activists to “challenge Israel’s policy of isolating the West Bank while the settler paramilitaries and army commit brutal crimes against a virtually defenseless Palestinian civilian population,” according to a message posted on the group’s website.
The group has received endorsements from Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, former South African politician Ronnie Kasrils and linguist Noam Chomsky, among others.
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report