Pro-Palestinian activists
Photo: Reuters

Fly-ins to take place of flotillas?

Palestinians urge hundreds of pro-Gaza activists to gridlock Ben Gurion International Airport

The Gaza-bound flotilla may be encountering difficulties, but Israel is already gearing for the next challenge – a pro-Palestinian fly-in.


Ynet learned Sunday that the Internal Security Ministry and the police have started preparing for the possibility that hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists will fly into Ben Gurion International Airport next week, with the sole purpose of disrupting its operations.



According to the Palestinian Wafa News Agency, hundreds of activists from 40 groups intend to take part in the "Welcome to Palestine" fly-in, set to take place on July 8-16.


"Welcome to Palestine's" Facebook page, which was launched in May, urges participants to fly to Israel and declare upon arrival that they are heading to Palestine.


Once the activists land, they have scheduled tours in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, the West Bank, the Jordan Rift Valley and Jerusalem.


"The visitors will enjoy Palestinian hospitality, create partnerships and bonds and volunteer in Palestinian cities alongside hundreds of local activists," the report said.


Organizers of the fly-in have reportedly urged the international community "to recognize the Palestinians' basic right to host visitors from overseas and assert the right to have their own citizens visit Palestine without being harassed.


"Israel may be trying to isolate is, but we invite everyone to stand by us. We reject the attempted to limit our call," the organizers said.


The Foreign Ministry said that the initiative was "taken very seriously," and believe that pro-Palestinian activists have every intention to land in Israel's international gateway and cause a ruckus for the sheer sake of garnering the attention of the global media.


"We don’t think such internet initiatives can be dismissed," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor told Ynet. "The activists are motivated, and buying an airline ticket is easier than arriving by boat. This has to be taken seriously."


Still, Palmor stressed the ministry was not overly concerned: "There are known groups who are trying to stage 'organized embarrassments' for Israel, especially in illegal manners. Those who fail at sea are doomed to fail here, too."


Sunday afternoon saw the Foreign and Internal Security ministries and the police hold a situation assessment.


Homeland Security sources told Ynet that any passenger arriving in Israel and attempting to manufacture provocations at Ben Gurion International Airport will be detained by law enforcement officials and dealt with accordingly.



פרסום ראשון: 07.03.11, 21:05
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