200 pro-Palestinian activists stopped from entering Israel

Paris activists refuse to leave terminal after airline blocks them from boarding flight; "flightilla" leader: "Charles de Gaulle Airport is under Israeli occupation"; police preparing for further arrivals at B-G airport.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 8, 2011 11:13
3 minute read.
Police at Ben Gurion Airport

Police at Airport 311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

Around 200 pro-Palestinian activists were denied entry to Israel or were prevented from boarding flights to the country as part of an "air flotilla," Israel Radio said on Friday.

Earlier Friday, fifty pro-Palestinian activists arrived at the Lufthansa terminal at Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport hoping to board a flight to Israel, and then refused to leave the terminal after they were denied from boarding the plane, according to Israel Radio.

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The German airline refused to let them board the flight to Israel via Frankfurt after the activits' names appeard on a blacklist submitted by the Interior Ministry. The list detailed the names of activists which may potentially attempt to cause provocations.

Olivia Zemour, leader of the EuroPalestine organization that is arranging the "air flotilla," said that the blacklist includes names of 347 activists.

"Charles de Gaulle Airport is under Israeli occupation. We are peaceful people and have no interest in causing disorder at Ben Gurion Airport," Zemour was quoted by Israel Radio as saying.

Another activist at Paris's airport said that the activists will remain there until Lufthansa agrees to give them a signed documnet saying the airline refused to let them board flights to Israel.



In Geneva, EasyJet also refused to let 30 acitivists on board a flight to Israel.

Overnight Thursday, two pro-Palestinian American activists were denied entry to Israel after they landed at Ben Gurion Airport from Athens.

The two told border officials that they had originally planned to take part in the Gaza sea flotilla, but due to delays, they opted to join the "air flotilla."

As a result, authorities refused to grant them entry and the two were forced to return to Greece.

Authorities had decreased the amount of forces operating at the airport overnight Thursday after being notified that the number of pro-Palestinian activists set to arrive in the flotilla was smaller than initially expected. However, security forces were again increased early Friday morning in preparation for further arrivals expected throughout the day.

The Interior Ministry had told foreign airlines they were required under Israeli law to remove “pro-Palestinian radicals” from flights bound for Israel.

The ministry sent the letter in advance of the anticipated “Flightilla,” in which about 700 pro-Palestinian activists, mostly from Europe, were expected to arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday on routine flights throughout the day.

Already on Thursday, Malev Hungarian Airlines barred around 20 activists from boarding a flight from Paris to Budapest on the first leg of their journey to Tel Aviv, according to French activists involved in the “Welcome to Palestine” event on Friday.



A letter from the Interior Ministry to the airlines provided to The Jerusalem Post by the activists said that “due to statements of pro-Palestinian radicals to arrive on commercial flights from abroad to disrupt the order and confront security forces at friction points, it was decided to refuse their entry in accordance with our authority according to the Law of Entry to Israel 1952... In light of the above-mentioned, you are required not to board them on your flights to Israel. Failure to comply with this directive would result in a delay on the flight and their return on the same flight.”

Tovah Lazaroff, Herb Keinon, and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.


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