Israel bans 'flytilla' activists

2012-04-15 19:12

Ben Gurion Airport - Israel on Sunday barred 40 pro-Palestinian activists who had flown in for a "Welcome to Palestine" campaign as hundreds more would-be protesters were stranded at airports across Europe.

As hundreds of police deployed at Israel's main international airport in a bid to stop activists from entering, Europe's main airlines faced a wave of passenger fury after cancelling some 300 tickets following heavy Israeli pressure.

By early afternoon, police had detained 40 passengers on suspicion of being part of the fly-in campaign, better known as the "flytilla," with all facing deportation.

Organisers of "Welcome to Palestine," now in its third year, had been expecting to welcome up to 1 500 people as part of a campaign to expose Israel's control of movement both into and out of the occupied territories.

But Israel vowed to prevent their entry, warning airlines they would be forced to foot the bill for the activists' immediate return home in a move which saw many carriers toeing the line.

With airlines cancelling at least 300 passengers' tickets, scores of activists staged angry demonstrations at airports in several European capitals.

At Brussels airport, protests erupted after at least 100 French and Belgian nationals were unable to board flights with Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss Air.

In Geneva, several dozen activists held an angry demonstration after around 45 people out of a group of 70 who had been planning to join the campaign were barred from boarding an easyJet flight.

Scores of activists also protested at Charles de Gaulle in Paris, where airport sources said 90 passengers had been prevented from boarding boarding Lufthansa and Swiss Air flights for Tel Aviv.

Barred from boarding

Flanked by dozens of anti-riot police, they marched up to the Lufthansa counter to demand an "official written statement" as to why they had not been allowed to fly.

At Istanbul airport, another 50 activists were stranded after Turkish Airlines reportedly refused to allow them on board, Anatolia news agency reported.

In Vienna, Austrian Airlines said five passengers were barred from flights to Tel Aviv, and in Rome, Alitalia turned back seven Italian activists, press reports said.

Air France and two British budget carriers, and easyJet, also barred an unspecified number of passengers, with easyJet confirming it had prevented activists from boarding Israel-bound planes from both London and Switzerland.

Despite the success of its diplomatic campaign to pressure European carriers not to allow activists to board flights for Tel Aviv, Israel deployed hundreds of police at its main international airport with orders to "exercise restraint, but to intercept any troublemakers."

All of Sunday's arrests took place far from the whirring cameras with police detaining 33 French nationals, two Spaniards, two Italians, one Swiss national, one Canadian and one from Portugal as soon as they landed.

Of that number 27 French nationals were refusing to board planes back to France, immigration spokesperson Sabine Haddad told AFP, saying they would be "transferred to a detention facility".

The rest had either already been deported or would be sent back later in the day, she said.

Police also arrested another six Israelis and a French national, who were already in the country, for disturbing the peace at various locations in and around the airport.

No protesters

Not a single protester was identified passing through the main arrivals hall at Terminal 3, an AFP correspondent said, although two protesters from outside the airport who held up signs reading "Free Palestine" were quickly hustled away by police.

Another two men and a woman carrying a handwritten sign reading "Palestine forever" were also quickly removed.

Last year, around 800 people tried to join the campaign, with many blocked from flying by airlines. Another 120 were denied entry by Israel and deported.

Israeli officials hailed their counter campaign as successful.

"We have prevented harm to Israel's sovereignty and also to Israel's image. The main aim is to prevent violent images and provocations," deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon told army radio.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday advised activists to concentrate on solving "real problems" in the region.

"We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns," he said. "We know there were many other worthy choices. You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime's daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives.

"We therefore suggest that you first solve the real problems of the region, and then come back and share with us your experience," he said.

"Have a nice flight."

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-04-15 20:01

    Hmm, reminds me of something and somewhere, just can't put my finger on it... wait...

      Jaba - 2012-04-15 23:07

      yet another Flop tilla... Why are these rabid Jew-haters not protesting the forced starvation, horrendous atrocities and genocide of Blacks in the Nuba Mountains by Sudan's Arab Muslim regime? HYPOCRITES!

      Fred - 2012-04-16 03:18

      ... it must be the delusional idea that the US attacked itself on 9/11 and the Rothschilds are the source of all evil in our world. :)

      boonzaierj - 2012-04-16 16:57

      fred and Jaba do you 2 no nothing of how to keep on point? This isn't a discussion about 9.11 nor about Sudan. You people must are so anti Muslim that you can't spew anti Arabic news at every turn. Since you want to go there Hitler was white and the Catholics killed much more people.

      Fred - 2012-04-16 17:46

      The point is that goyougoidthing believes the US attacked itself on 9/11, the Rothschilds are the source of all evil, and central banks are the arms of private banks not governments. His perspective is tainted by these ridiculous and wrong beliefs.

  • velvybokov - 2012-04-15 20:34

    \Have a Nice Flight\ Netanyahu. You rock!

  • Tony - 2012-04-15 20:39

    Divert these protestors flights to Their beloved Siria they will be welcomed there with open ARMS there .

  • Tony - 2012-04-15 20:42

    sorry I wrote this before reading the Isrealy goverment response well done.

  • hussain.adam - 2012-04-15 22:10

    This is why being in a free country like South Africa rocks, \r\nNetyahu didnt need much effort to sound like P Botha.\r\nApartheid, wrong for South Africans, wrong for Palestinians. 1 people, 1 country, no bantustans

      Larry - 2012-04-15 22:32

      Israel is free for all, unlike the Islamic countries in the Middle East. Just dont come here with your disruptive tendencies.

      Fred - 2012-04-16 03:23

      Unfortunately to your ears he sounds that way. The Apartheid experience has been lost on you. If it were not, you would be looking to the murderers in your midst: the crazed Islamic fundamentalists and UNELECTED dictators who have killed and maimed HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Muslims. Why do you not say a word about this? Strange.

  • Jaba - 2012-04-15 22:30

    Good to see these liars and charlatans bleating like sheep at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Whether they come by land, sea or air they won't suceed. And well done to the Israeli authorities for a professional response. The arrogance of these morons takes some beating insisting they have every right to enter Israel a sovereign nation with the sole purpose of stirring up trouble. Good riddance to them! In the words of Netanyahu, "Have a nice flight."

  • Larry - 2012-04-15 22:34

    These silly single issue activists are all a bunch of loners who need a club to join. They should all get Harley Davidson bikes and drive around in circles in the Sinai.

  • Iqbal - 2012-04-15 22:48

    See what else Israel did yesterday as reported on Haaretz and other news media - MUST WATCH VIDEO: Watch the brutality for yourself and make up your own mind as to who the REAL terrorists are ... then watch Tony and all the racist South African Zionists showing their true colours by applauding this IDF action (just as they applauded the Sharpeville and Soweto massacres) and voting against this post. Suppose these cowards will say the cyclists were a threat to the mighty Israeli army". Perhaps they will blame Syria or Iran for it ... or come up with some other stupid illogical explanation as they usually do. It is indeed a pity, Patrick, to see how Israel responds to peaceful action. Israel and its allies expect you to turn the other cheek to this brutality, else you will be a "terrorist", or at the very least "anti-semitic". In short, you can see for yourself that Israel doesn't understand the language of peace!

      Lenzi - 2012-04-15 23:09

      shocking video! the protesters looked to be American, clearly peaceful, obviously the American govt and media will hide this as well as countless others from their own public, thank you for posting. One thing is for sure they will gang up with insults and mockery but NEVER will they dare argue FACTS.

      Jaba - 2012-04-15 23:12

      Everyday Syrian civilians are being mowed down and we barely hear a whimper of protest from you nor the Arab world. But, let someone offer a mild criticism of Islam or serve justice to a known terrorist, then the hate start flying from a united Muslim front. The longer this glaring hypocrisy continues, the further the Arab/Muslim/Palestinian cause will degradeā€¦so be it! BTW Iqbal is it the religion of peace or submission?

      Larry - 2012-04-15 23:23

      Ha, Iqbal. let us analise this. An IDF officer beat a pro-Palestinian activist with a riflr. This is terrible and it should never happen. So you say an Israeli newspaper reported on this. What a wonderful example of freedom of speech, when the Israel media can freely expose a wrong committed by an IDF senior officer. I am sure that as a result of this report in an ISRAELI newspaper, this individual will be tried and punished if he broke any laws. However, let us balance this against the atrocious behavior of the Syrian government and the freedom of speach that exists in Syria and other Islamic countries. Civilian peaceful protesters were not beaten with rifles. They were shot at and murdered by snipers on rooftops. No comparison. We do not yet see you as a terrorist or anti-semitic, but your singular lack of objectiveness and fair play points to your skewed morality of Muslim supremacy. Your attitude is no different to the Nazi jackboots or Ku Klux Klan. Think about it.

      Lenzi - 2012-04-15 23:39

      There are about 4 million Palestinians living under foreign occupation in what is described as the worlds largest concentration camps in history. Here is a link to very well produced documentary on google video (Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land) showing how the Palestinians live in the occupied zones. Watch and judge for yourself.

      Jaba - 2012-04-15 23:46

      re vid: lynched and brutally murdered

      Jaba - 2012-04-15 23:47

      Jaba - 2012-04-15 23:48 Christians under Siege in Gaza

      Jaba - 2012-04-15 23:50

      Jaba - 2012-04-15 23:51

      Jaba - 2012-04-15 23:51

      Jaba - 2012-04-15 23:54 Mosab Hassan Yousuf, son of Hamas leader of West Bank Sheik Hassan Yousuf talks...

      Jaba - 2012-04-15 23:56 Wafa Sultan refutes a Muslim fanatic

      Lenzi - 2012-04-16 00:00

      @ Jaba. thank you for posting. I hope those interested watch all videos posted by Iqbal you and myself and form their own decisions on the matter.

      Fred - 2012-04-16 00:10

      I hope that you, Iqbal and other Muslim posters who post exclusively on Israeli and US sites pay as much attention to the sites reporting on the wholesale slaughter of Muslim families by unelected dictators in the Middle East, and crazed Jihadists.

      Jaba - 2012-04-16 00:10

      hope so 2 last one for you Lenzi

      boonzaierj - 2012-04-16 17:00

      forgive Jaba he can't keep on topic his clearly mentally challenged. Syria and Israel are 2 different countries and this story is about Israel not Syria.

      Fred - 2012-04-16 17:50

      Why don't you say anything about Syria, where Muslim families are being slaughtered wholesale, or the Jihadists who are killing and maiming hundreds of thousands if Muslims? Yet you're in the Israel threads like a flash. :) Call yourself a true Muslim? Wrong. You're enabling the untold slaughter and suffering of your brothers and sisters. Wake up!

      Larry - 2012-04-17 12:07

      You have just proved your narrow tunnel vision, Lesego. You may not restrict debate to single issues which suits your narrow agenda. Ironic, since when you get owned and are unable to counter debate, you zing off on an unrelated topic like the dung beetle that you are.

  • Iqbal - 2012-04-16 00:32

    Dear Larry/Jaba/Your fans You have done precisely what I expected. Typical Zionist/Israeli apologist/racist knee-jerk reaction. We had plenty of this type in Apartheid South Africa but there are still some remnants that keep apartheid alive in SA & Israel. Nowhere in the article is there any mention of Syria (or China, Sudan for that matter). Although irrelevant and a separate, for your info, I have strongly condemned the atrocities in Syria and elsewhere - but why should I be comparing this now? Just so it appeases your type in demonstrating that not only Israel is scum? You boast about free speech, but can you please take another look at the title. I'll remind you: "Israel bans flytilla activists". Netanyahu also considers Haatetz an "enemy of Israel" Bravo Haaretz!. So much for free speech! Now you know what I meant when I said people like yourselves will come up with illogical explanations or divert attention somewhere else. These are tired responses to ongoing Israeli atrocities. Lastly, why have you dragged religion into your argument ("Muslim supremacy")? Nowhere have I picked on Judaism or any other religion for that matter in my post, but you have decided to be presumptuous. Silly you - you forgot to mention that I am also anti-semitic. Nonetheless I invite you to once again peruse the two articles once more & try to determine the religion of the protesters/activists. Now are they Muslim? or Nazis? Hamas agents? KKK? Really bad guys, huh?

      Fred - 2012-04-16 02:39

      "Not only Israel is scum" gives away your personal prejudice. Everything follows from this core prejudiced belief. Why are you not as vocal about the murdering Jihadists and dictators?

      Fred - 2012-04-16 07:58

      Why are you not being smart enough to see that you are being played for a patsy by the unelected dictators of the region who are abusing the Palestinians instead of helping them. Why?

      Fred - 2012-04-16 18:31

      Zzzzzzzzzz Have you not read or learnt anything yet

      Larry - 2012-04-16 20:23

      You have never been to Israel, Patrick, and your name is actually Lesego, and are probably a born-free young man of no worth who has yet to experience anything.

      Larry - 2012-04-16 20:34

      Iqbal, it is patently dishonest to apply a single wrong act by an individual to a whole country. There is so little to denigrate Israel with, that you guts need to hoard little collectables into a big pile with which to lambast Israel. The Norway killer that we have heard so much about does not make Norway evil. But if the Norway killer was doing the bidding of a political party, government or religious sect, then that entity is pure evil, would you not agree? This is Hamas, this is Fatah given half a chance, this is Al Assad's Syrian government and Iran's ayatollah's and president. As it turns out, the IDF member was suspended and will be tried in a military court for his crime of striking the protester. I Gaza if a Jewish child is killed the nice people hand out sweets and Allah Akhbar in celebration. Dont come with your 'holier than though' bullsh1t here. We know you better than you know yourselves. This war was won before it even started.

      Larry - 2012-04-17 06:46

      Lesego, when you cannot answer debate with counter-debate, you resort to making up stories. I love South Africa as I love Israel.

      Larry - 2012-04-17 18:57

      Ah, Lesego, is that what you are getting at. Well you are very wrong. For those who may not know, I am an Israeli Jew who married a South African Hindu woman. Fifteen years now, two children, and we have lived both in Israel and South Africa on and off. What Lesego is getting at is that my family would not be welcome in Israel as they are not Jewish. Completely untrue. We all have Israeli passports, yet choose to live in this wonderful country of our own volition. Sorry Lesego

  • Iqbal - 2012-04-16 08:41

    Fred, it's a pity that this is all you can offer the debate. The zionist/racist/bigotted mind is pre-programmed and brainwashed into defending Israel no matter how heinous her crimes: \r\n\r\n- If you are a Christian critic of Israel, then you are Jew Hater (e.g. Tutu, Mandela)\r\n\r\n- If you are an atheist, then you are Anti-semitic. (Zillions)\r\n\r\n- If you are Jewish, then you must be a Self Hating Jew. (Kasrils, Shapiro, Friedman, Finkelstein, Gideon Levy , Uri Avnery

      Lenzi - 2012-04-16 09:14

      Gandhi was also very vocal against Zionism.

      Fred - 2012-04-16 15:49

      Sorry you think the truth is "all I can offer the debate". I'm sorry you're not being smart enough to understand what is really going on. Thankfully ONE HUNDRED MILLION MUSLIMS of the Middle East are and have freed themselves from the real tyranny and lies. Wake up!

      Fred - 2012-04-16 15:50

      Lenzi, as has been said to you before, you have to provide proper sources for quotes and references to be credible. Without this they are not.

      Fred - 2012-04-16 15:53

      Iqbal, start by ridding yourself of your stupid anti-Israel and anti-US prejudice. This is blinding you to the truer reality. Prejudice does this.

      Larry - 2012-04-16 21:06

      That little chap got a step-back smack. Serves him right for getting into the face of an IDF officer. Hardly, what did you call it Iqbal, - brutal savagery. Do you remember when people were thrown to their deaths from rooftops in Gaza during the brief civil war after Israel withdrew from the territory. Elections were held, Hamas won, and chased and killed Fatah members by tossing them to their deaths from buildings, to ensure that they would never be challenged in ellections again. Democracy Arab style - very short lived. My point - some would rightly label that 'brutal savagery', but a smack on the lip with a rifle but is just a tickle by comparison.

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