Flytilla to attempt to reach Palestinians via Jordan
This posting has 3 items:
1) PNN: Pro-Palestinian Activists to Attempt ‘Flytilla’ to West Bank Via Jordan;
2) Al Arabiya: ‘Welcome to Palestine’ activists plan another ‘flytilla’;
3) JPost: Pro-Palestinian activists plan ‘flytilla’ via Jordan;
By Palestine News Network
August 14, 2012
Pro-Palestinian activists from the Welcome to Palestine/Bienvenue en Palestine group have said that they are planning to try to enter the West Bank from Jordan next week, after the group’s previous ‘flytillas’ were either prevented from flying by their airlines or blocked from entering Israel at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport in July 2011 and April 2012.
The activists, who currently number 104 men, women and children from several European countries and the US, will fly into Amman on the 24th August. They then plan to cross into the West Bank on the 26th August via the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge land border crossing, the group said in a statement on Tuesday 14th August.
A spokesperson for the group said that they will be travelling into the West Bank at the invitation of the Governor of Bethlehem, Abed Al-Fatah Hamayel, and will be bringing stationary for Palestinian children who will be starting school again at the start of a new academic year.
Following the turning away of hundreds of activists from Israel during the previous ‘flytillas’ Greg Roman, Deputy Director of the Gloria Centre in Herzliya in Israel, and a former political advisor to the Knesset told Al Jazeera’s ‘Inside Story’, “If they wanted to go to the area which I hope will one day be Palestine…they could have entered through the Rafah crossing in Gaza…or the Allenby Bridge…there were alternatives.”
In the statement to PNN, the spokesperson said that they would be using the Jordan land crossing “as recommended” by Israeli officials.
The spokesperson said, “because we are against ghettos and because we would be ashamed to imitate these political “leaders”, we’ll keep trying to visit Palestinian families and their associations. Even prisoners should have a right to have visitors, shouldn’t they?”
They also asked, “Can you imagine Israelis banned from European countries because they criticize European policies?”
The spokesperson pointed out that the activists who had previously tried to reach Palestine were not criminals. They said, “All the participants in these initiatives, who could reach Tel Aviv airport on these two occasions, peacefully lined up, showed their passports, and told the truth about their destination and motivation.”
Another activist told Israeli media that the smaller group was intended to help them enter the West Bank more easily. “We hope Israel lets them cross, but if it refuses, we will return with another campaign which will see masses of activists swarm Ben-Gurion airport,” he said.
At the previous ‘flytillas’ those activists who made it to Ben Gurion airport had announced their intention to visit Palestine, and the Welcome to Palestine spokesperson confirmed to PNN that they would also be stating their intention to visit Bethlehem this time.
She said, “We are even ready, if asked, to sign a statement saying that we won’t go to Israel during our short stay.”
Ny Al Arabiya
August 06, 2012
Activists are gearing up for another “flytilla” to continue with their “Welcome to Palestine” campaign, a newspaper reported on Monday.
Pro-Palestine activists attempted their first fly-in to Ben-Gurion airport four months ago and are now aiming for another fly-in scheduled to take place on August 24, the Israeli Ynet News website reported.
The activists, who are planning to visit refugee camps in Israel before going to Allenby Crossing, where they will ask to pass over into the Palestinian Authority, will start their journey after arriving in Amman’s airport.
Campaign organizers, meanwhile, said this fly-in will be different from the previous ones as fewer activists, who hail from different countries but mostly from France, are expected.
The reason for this fly-in’s few number of activists was to ensure they could enter the Palestinian Authority without any hassle, said one of the campaign organizers, Jack Neno.
“We hope Israel lets them cross, but if it refuses, we will return with another campaign which will see masses of activists swarm Ben-Gurion airport.”
Bethlehem Governor, Abed al-Fatah Hamayel, who also said there would only be a few hundred activists at the upcoming “flytilla,” said that “one of the Israelis’ claims was that the last fly-in was a provocation,” was quoted as saying in Ynet.
“They said that the activists should have entered the Palestinian territories through Allenby Crossing and not through Ben-Gurion Airport, so we took their advice.”
Neno said that the plan was to bring supplies for Palestinian students.
“Last time, the Israeli government claimed that we were provocateurs trying to stir up trouble, and therefore this time we decided to have the activists enter the Palestinian Authority through the Allenby Crossing – in order to prove that the people only want to come and express solidarity with the Palestinians.”
Demonstrators hope to highlight Israel’s policy of banning foreign activists who it believes could cause a public disorder
By Tovah Lazaroff, JPost
August 14, 2012
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators are planning their third protest event to highlight Israel’s policy of banning foreign activists who it believes could cause a public disorder while visiting the area.
Pro-Palestinian protesters believe that Israel applies the ban too broadly to include political ideology. In July 2011 and again in April 2012, activists from the grassroots organization Welcome to Palestine held a protest to highlight that issue, in which activists – mostly from Europe – flew into Ben-Gurion Airport on the same day.
Upon arrival the pro-Palestinians announced that they had come to visit “Palestine.” In both cases, Israel blocked most of the activists from entering the country. In many cases Israel worked with the airlines, which then denied the activists the right to board the plane.
Israel also immediately deported those activists who landed at Ben-Gurion Both events, which involved hundreds of activists, were dubbed the “flytilla.”
Welcome to Palestine has organized a small group of 25 activists mostly from France who will fly into the airport in Amman on August 23.
They will visit Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, before attempting to enter the West Bank through the Allenby Bridge.
Upon arrival at the bridge the activists will tell Israeli custom officials that they have come to visit Palestine, said one of the Bethlehem organizers, Mazin Qumsiyeh.
In a statement to the press, Welcome to Palestine organizers said they had chosen to try and enter the West Bank through the Allenby Bridge because Israeli officials had suggested that this passage, rather than Ben-Gurion, was the more appropriate way to enter the area.
“We have decided to take them at their word,” the activists said.
Once in the West Bank, activists will visit Bethlehem and the region through the end of the month, according to the press release.
They will visit with Palestinians and volunteer to help prepare children for the new school year.
Activists who made it into the West Bank in July 2011 and April 2012 also participated in a range of educational and volunteer activities in support of the Palestinians.