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Friday, July 8, 2011

Palestinian Activists Turned Back From Airports

Nadene Goldfoot
Those Palestinian sympathizers numbering about 600 who didn't succeed in their flotilla plans attempted to swarm Israel via airlines but have been deterred thanks to the cooperation of countries following the advice of the USA and the UN as well as Israel.  Their goal was to express solidarity with the Palestinians in the West Bank and draw attention to life under Israeli occupation, including travel restrictions.  Israel is trying to eliminate confrontations with these media-bent activists and international criticism that ensues from such things. 

Two planes did land in Tel Aviv's airport from Europe and 32 suspected activists  were taken and questioned Friday.    Six were deported which included two Americans wearing "fly-in" T-shirts which identified their intentions. 

Anna De Palma, 44, Portuguese, admitted that she has passed border controls because she didn't say she was an activist, only coming to visit.  She came in on a flight from Zurich. Israel had circulated a blacklist with about 340 names to airports  Most airports complied.  The names of flotilla members has been known.  Israel was able to track them through social networks they used to organize the protest.  Though the group, "Welcome to Palestine" said through Olivia Zemor, French, that they planned only nonviolent activities, these activities seldom stay nonviolent, however well- intentioned they are. 

The Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris turned away several from check-in counters and they gathered together shouting, "Boycott Israel," as the French police watched them shouting.  Cynthia Beatt, British but living in Germany, was barred from their Lufthansa plane and was called to tell her this before she came to the airport.  Geneva turned away about 40 activists from an EasyJet flight to Tel Aviv.  They even tried to pass through without a boarding card but stopped and turned back.  This caused the airport to have to close for about 40 minutes.

The West Bank can be reached through crossings controlled by Israel at the international airport or the land border with Jordan.  Because of security concerns, Israel stops most Palestinians from entering Israel or using its airport.  To fly out they can use Jordan's airport.  Hundreds of foreign activists and aid workers are in the Judea and Samaria (West Bank) all the time.  The Gaza Strip is ruled by Hamas.  Israel allows few people to cross its border to Gaza.  Most Gazans can travel abroad by crossing into Egypt through their shared border.,7340,L-4092661,00.html by Jeremy Last

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