Pro-Palestinian activists plan to hold their second fly-in to Ben-Gurion
International Airport just after Passover at staggered times on April 15 and
According to one of the organizers, Mazin Qumsiyeh of Bethlehem,
anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 participants, ages 9 to 90, from 15 countries are
expected to land in Israel on that day.
If they are allowed to enter the
country, they will participate in a week of educational and volunteer activities
in the West Bank, Qumsiyeh said.
Last summer in an event labeled “Welcome
to Palestine” activists also tried to board planes and land in Ben-Gurion in
solidarity with the Palestinians and to protest Israel’s policy of banning such
Some 124 activists were detained upon arrival in
Israel and deported. Hundreds more were barred, mostly in Europe, from getting
on airplanes to Ben-Gurion after Israel passed on their names to the
“The point is to show the world that Israel is preventing
people from visiting Palestine,” said Qumsiyeh who is a professor at Bethlehem
“By entering Palestine through Ben-Gurion airport, hundreds
of people over 48 hours will send a message that we want Israel to recognize the
basic human right ... of those who want to visit us,” he said.
on our elected representatives and our government to ensure that we shall be
normally and properly treated on our arrival in Ben- Gurion airport, as are
Israeli citizens when they come to our countries,” he said.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that Israel was working with
other governments and foreign airlines to identify activists and stop them from
But Qumsiyeh told The Jerusalem Post that after last
summer’s event, judges in France and Germany told the airlines they could not
collectively bar people from boarding planes.
“I think that this year
they will be able to get on the planes,” he said. “The question is, what will
Israel do when they land,” he said.
“I think that Israel should just let
them in. They are not coming to protest. They are coming to see the situation
for themselves and to experience what Palestinians experience,” he said.