flightilla activists at ben gurion 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel is looking to deport the 124 pro-Palestinian activists arrested on Friday
after they landed at Ben- Gurion International Airport as part of a mass fly-in
protest action, called “Welcome to Palestine.”
As of Saturday night
neither the police nor the activists could say how many had agreed to be put on
planes back home and how many were refusing to sign papers agreeing to be
'Air Flotilla' lands, 69 activists barred entry
as usual at B-G as police await 'Flightilla'
prepare for arrival of 'air flotilla' activists
The group is made up of 76 women and 48 men, including
activists from the US, Spain, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Some of them
are being held in Givon prison in Ramle and others in Ela prison in
Pro-Palestinian activist Laura Durkay, who landed in Israel at
4 p.m. on Friday and spoke with The Jerusalem Post
close to 7 p.m. from the
airport’s detention area on her cell phone, said she would prefer to be arrested
than deported, and that a number of others who were with her felt the same
has not been able to reach her since then.
29-year-old New York resident said she flew on an Easy Jet flight without
trouble from England to Israel.
She was able to disembark with all the
passengers and head to passport control.
But that was as far as she
“They asked me standard questions, like my parents names,” she said.
“Then they asked me what are you going to do on your trip,” Durkay
“I told them, I am here to visit Bethlehem and the Aida Refugee
Camp. At that point a security officer came over and told me to come with her,”
“We have been in the immigration waiting area for two or
three hours,” she said.
“They have not told us anything yet,” she
“The latest we heard from a senior officer is that they are trying
to decide what to do with us.”
She said she had spoken with the US
consulate and told them she was being held.
John Paul, of Belgium, was
The 55-year-old gray-haired, smiling man arrived from Brussels
and gave the same response as Durkay.
To his surprise, they let him
through. He spoke with the Post
as he stood with his bags in the crowded
arrivals area at the airport.
He said that a few other activists from his
flight also made it through, before authorities began detaining the
He was among the 50 to 100 activists, mostly from Europe, who made
it through passport control.
Another activist, Ana Da Palma, 44, said she
took a roundabout way to get to Israel. She went from Portugal to Rome, and then
to Zurich, before boarding a Swiss Air flight to Tel Aviv.
“I got out
easily,” she said, mostly because she didn’t use the word “Palestine.”
was scared,” she said and added that she wanted to be able to participate in the
week of protest events planned for the West Bank.
As reporters and police
crowded the arrivals section of the airport, she sat on a metal bar, almost
unnoticed, trying to figure out how to work her Israeli cell phone so she could
check in with other activists to see if they had made it through.
still waiting to find out,” she said.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this