Pro-Palestinian activists to hold second ‘fly-in’

Organizers say they expect 1,500- 2,000 people to arrive in Ben-Gurion Airport to protest Israeli policy vis-a-vis Palestinians.

 

Pro-Palestinian activists plan to hold their second fly-in to Ben-Gurion International Airport just after Passover at staggered times on April 15 and 16.

According to one of the organizers, Mazin Qumsiyeh of Bethlehem, anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 participants, ages 9 to 90, from 15 countries are expected to land in Israel on that day.

If they are allowed to enter the country, they will participate in a week of educational and volunteer activities in the West Bank, Qumsiyeh said. Last summer in an event labeled “Welcome to Palestine” activists also tried to board planes and land in Ben-Gurion in solidarity with the Palestinians and to protest Israel’s policy of banning such foreign activists.

Some 124 activists were detained upon arrival in Israel and deported. Hundreds more were barred, mostly in Europe, from getting on airplanes to Ben-Gurion after Israel passed on their names to the airlines.

“The point is to show the world that Israel is preventing people from visiting Palestine,” said Qumsiyeh who is a professor at Bethlehem University.

“By entering Palestine through Ben-Gurion airport, hundreds of people over 48 hours will send a message that we want Israel to recognize the basic human right … of those who want to visit us,” he said.

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