Apr 16 2012
Pro-Palestinian ‘Flytilla’ heralded as success even though only a handful out of hundreds of troublemakers were allowed to enter Israel
Anti-Israel Organizer said event “proves Israel is not a democracy.” Most who did arrive were quickly returned to ports of origin, dozens of others were held in custody awaiting return flights, and most were not even allowed to depart their home countries as airlines cancelled the flights and prevented blacklisted (by Israel) activists from boarding.
JPOST Israeli authorities blocked hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists from flying into Israel on Sunday as part of a planned “flytilla” initiative. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told reporters at the airport, “As you can see, things are working normally at Ben-Gurion.”
As he spoke a police presence made up of both uniformed, unarmed officers and plainclothes policemen secured the airport. The minister praised them for enabling the airport to function smoothly, and thanked European countries and airlines for refusing to allow hundreds of activists to board aircraft bound for Israel.
The majority of the activists were stopped from boarding their Israel-bound flights at European airports, after Israel transferred a list of 500 blacklisted people to foreign airlines.
Frustrated flytilla activists held protests in European airports including Manchester, Brussels and Paris. Israeli Police have said that the flytilla participants were planning to create disturbances,
Throughout the day and evening, planes believed to be carrying activists who managed to board aircraft were diverted to Terminal 1, where the Interior Ministry’s Immigration Authority questioned dozens of suspected activists.
Over 60 activists were barred entry by press time. At least 30 activists were taken to the Givon prison facility in Ramle pending their return flights, and activists from Portugal, Canada, Switzerland and France have already been flown out of the country, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Rosenfeld added that a Portuguese pro-Palestinian activist “caused disruptions” on board a flight from Jordan to Israel, and was denied entry into the country. A delegation of eight British activists was denied entry on Sunday evening.
Nine Israeli Left-wing activists who came to Ben- Gurion’s Terminal 3 from outside of the airport caused sporadic waves of commotion in an otherwise busy but routine day.
Most of the troublemakers never made it off the ground:
The activists came in pairs, brandishing “Welcome to Palestine” signs every few hours. They were instantly spotted by police and whisked away on each occasion, trailed by a handful of pro- Israel activists who waved the national flag and shouted: “Why don’t you go to Syria, hypocrites!” Organizers of the “Welcome to Palestine” event, also dubbed “the fly-in,” estimated that several hundred activists from 15 countries, most of them European, had been barred from boarding flights, but did not have the exact numbers.
Belgian activists said that Lufthansa and Swiss Air airlines refused to board their entire 60-member delegation. Some 100 people were stopped in Paris. An additional 50 members of that delegation tried to fly Turkish Airlines and were stopped in Istanbul, where they remained as of press time. About 15 British citizens were stopped from boarding in Manchester.
Israeli soldier got in trouble for popping one of the pigs in the face with the side of his gun. But I bet it was worth it.