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Activist detained at Ben-Gurion Airport Photo: AFP
Activist detained at Ben-Gurion Airport Photo: AFP
 
Police waiting for fly-in Photo: Israel Police
Police waiting for fly-in Photo: Israel Police
 
High alert at Ben-Gurion Airport Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
High alert at Ben-Gurion Airport Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
 
 

50 'flytilla' activists enter West Bank

After hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists blocked at European airports, 124 detained in Israel and face deportation, Ynet learns dozens have managed to reach PA territories. Hamas: Europe selling Palestinian people illusions

Elior Levy
Published: 07.09.11, 11:16 / Israel News

Hundreds of the pro-Palestinian activists who tried to fly to Israel in recent days were blocked in Europe and dozens were arrested at Ben-Gurion Airport, but it turns out that some of them have managed to evade the police and reach the Palestinian Authority territories.

 

Palestinian sources told Ynet that some 50 foreign activists who landed in Israel on Friday have already entered the West Bank. On Saturday they are expected to travel to the village of Bilin and the Qalandiya Checkpoint in a bid to reach Jerusalem.

 

 

"We know there are additional activists making their way to Israel, and they may arrive tonight," Fadi Katan, one of the fly-in's Palestinian organizers, told Ynet on Friday night.

 

He said the 50 activists joined 50 others who had already entered the West Bank over the past week.

 

Salah Hawaja, one of the leaders of the solidarity activity, said that some 1,000 international activists were scheduled to land in Israel on Saturday, but that due to the moves taken by the State – less than 100 arrived.

 

He stressed that the solidarity organizations would hold even more extensive activities to recruit additional foreign activists for the battle against Israel's actions.

 

Hamas slams Western countries

Meanwhile, the Hamas government in Gaza expressed its frustration over the fact that Europe chose not to support the pro-Palestinian activists – both in the Gaza flotilla and in the fly-in – and slammed the countries which stopped the activists from boarding planes to Israel.

 

The Hamas government's spokesman in Gaza, Taher al-Nunu, said the moves taken by the Western countries revealed their governments' true colors and double standards.

 

"The Western countries are perpetuating their policies by selling illusions to the Palestinian people, while the support the illegal and immoral siege on the Gaza Strip," he said.

 

Al-Nunu called on the countries to allow pro-Palestinian activists to fly to Israel "in order to expose the true colors of the occupation and its racism and inhumane activity which violates the rights of the Palestinian people."

 

Hundreds of activists which tried to take part in the fly-in to Ben-Gurion Airport were blocked by boarding planes to Israel in recent days, after the Interior Ministry handed foreign airlines a "black list" of passengers refused entry.

 

Although the move was legal, some of the fly-in organizers have threatened to launch legal proceedings against Israel.

 

Hundreds of passengers were questioned on Friday after landing in Israel, and 124 of them were refused entry. Four were deported and the rest were transferred to the Givon and Ela prisons.

 

The detainees, 76 women and 38 men, will be deported from Israel in the coming days.

 

Elior Levy is Ynet's Palestinian affairs correspondent

 

Omri Efraim contributed to this report

 

 

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