Ayalon thanks European states for helping stop 'flightilla'

Deputy foreign minister says assistance proves Israel is not alone; Yishai commends immigration authorities for stopping activists.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
July 9, 2011 12:58
2 minute read.
Israeli activists protest at B-G airport, Friday.

pro-palestinian activists at airport_311 reuters. (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

 
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Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon thanked European countries on Saturday for helping to limit the number of pro-Palestinian activists arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport. Ayalon said that "Israel thanks the European countries for their assistance and cooperation in preventing the provocative 'air flotilla' that was planned."

"Again [Israel] proved that contrary to conventional thought, [it] is not isolated and is a reputable player in the international community," the deputy foreign minister added. Ayalon said, "no country would allow a violation of its sovereignty and laws, not by local law breakers and certainly not by foreigners."

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RELATED:
Business as usual at B-G as police await 'Flightilla'
Police prepare for arrival of 'air flotilla' activists


On Saturday morning, thirty nine pro-Palestinian activists that arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport as part of the "air flotilla" were refused entry to the country and were taken to Ela Prison in Beersheba for questioning .

The Immigration and Population Authority reported that the activists arrived on a Lufthansa flight late Friday night.


On Friday,
Interior Minister Eli Yishai commended the Immigration and Population Authority for preventing activists from entering the country and holding disruptive demonstrations in Ben-Gurion International Airport.

"The Immigration department is doing a good job," he said. "They prevented a few illegal activists from entering." He continued, "We will take a firm hand against anyone disregarding [our] laws, and like any other sovereign state we will use any means at our disposal to prevent people intent on breaking the law from entering the country."

Yishai's statements in support of the police and border guards stationed at Ben-Gurion Airport over the weekend came as police diverted two passenger aircraft that landed at the airport on Friday. Security forces detained at least 250 suspected pro-Palestinian activists for questioning. Participants in the "Air Flotilla" arrived on at least three other flights as well.

Police Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said officers "succeeded in meeting the mission set by the government." Undercover agents and police continued to be deployed at the airport as more "air flotilla" participants were expected to arrive.

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