Israel refused to allow a total of 78 foreign activists to the country Israel on Sunday. Only a few pro-Palestinian activists managed to overcome airport scrutiny and reach Bethlehem. The activists include 51 French citizens, 11 Brits, six Italians, five Canadians, two Spanish citizens and citizens from the US, Portugal and Switzerland.
Some of the activists have already been sent back to their countries of origin and more than 50 were taken to the Givon holding facility for illegal aliens. More than 30 of the detainees are French and the rest are from Canada, Italy, Britain and other countries.
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Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and thanked the Israeli police for its successful handling of the pro-Palestinian fly-in at the Ben Gurion Airport. "The preparation of all elements involved, both operational and diplomatic, had proved itself," he said. "The world today has a better understanding of where the Middle East's true problems lie."
French activist at Ben Gurion Airport (Photo: Reuters)
The detainees are held by the force of an order of the Interior Minister and are expected to stay in custody until their deportation. They will be allowed to meet with consuls from their countries as well as lawyers.
Pro-Palestinian activist in Nice, France (Photo:MCT)
Their admission into the Givon facility included a medical examination and an explanation of their rights and duties in prison. They were each given a toothbrush, soap and a towel and were allowed to enter with their hand-bags. Their luggage remains at the Ben Gurion Airport. The Prison Service said that no unusual incidents had been recorded and that all the detainees behaved well.
Meanwhile, the French organizers of the fly-in condemned Israel and Air France for their "racism" on the website. They claim that one female passenger was not allowed to depart from France simply because she was neither Jewish nor Israeli.
"Only Jews or Israeli citizens were allowed to fly and a young passenger who replied negatively to both questions was grounded," the message said. The message noted that this had occurred on a flight from Nice and that legal steps will be taken against the airline.
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