Pro-Palestinian Activists Detained In Israel

NEWS, 16 Apr 2012

Al Jazeera – TRANSCEND Media Service

More than 40 Welcome to Palestine activists blocked entry at Tel Aviv’s international airport.

More than 40 pro-Palestinian activists reached Tel Aviv’s international airport as part of an attempted “fly-in” only to be detained by Israeli authorities.

Micky Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman said on Sunday [15 Apr 2012] that 41 people had been refused entry at Ben Gurion airport by early afternoon and would be deported.

Four Israeli supporters, two holding “Welcome to Palestine” signs, were also arrested as they waited to greet the arrivals.

The Welcome to Palestine campaign, now in its third consecutive year, aims to gather activists from over 15 countries in Israel from April 15 to 21 to “challenge the Israeli siege of the occupied territories”, it says on its website.

Earlier on Sunday hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists have been prevented by authorities across Europe from boarding flights bound for Tel Aviv.

The Swiss police, early on Sunday morning, prevented about a hundred pro-Palestinian activists from flying to Ben Gurion airport, according to the Welcome to Palestine campaign website.

Anas Mohammed, the campaign spokesman said on Sunday, “The information we have obtained from activists is that there is a high presence of police there and that the police are trying to prevent them from boarding.”

“Besides that there has been the confiscation of a passport of one of the activists,” he said.

The Swiss and French activists had bought their tickets in advance and were due to fly on a 6:30am local time (04:30 GMT) flight to Tel Aviv, Mohammed said.

“They are going to visit Palestinians who are under occupation, they are going to visit the West Bank.”

British airline and French carrier Air France said on Saturday they were cancelling seats on flights to Tel Aviv.

Israel deploys police

Israeli police said early on Sunday that hundreds of officers are deployed at Israel’s main airport to detain activists flying in.

“Four activists have been detained after arriving on an El Al flight from Paris and are being questioned at [Tel Aviv] airport,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

An interior ministry spokeswoman said the immigration authority had on Wednesday given airlines the names of some 1,200 activists whose entrance to Israel would be barred.

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