air flotilla police search airplane_311.
(photo credit: Israel Police)
The Public Security Ministry and the Israel Police are making final preparations ahead of an attempt by pro-Palestinian activists to land en masse at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday and create 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,” the umbrella organization overseeing the initiative, 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.
In July, police arrested and deported 124 activists from the US, Spain, Belgium, France and the Netherlands.
A small number of activists managed to bypass police and walk out of the airport, though the police intercepted the majority of them. Beforehand, blacklisted activists were prevented from boarding Israel-bound passenger flights at European airports.
The organizers of this year’s effort said that they received promises from several European airports not to prevent travelers from boarding the planes, since this involves reimbursing passengers for the ticket prices.