|Communist Party of Israel called on government to welcome fly-in peace activists|
|Saturday, 14 April 2012 12:33|
Communist Party of Israel called on the Israeli government not to stop international peace activists who plan to fly into Tel Aviv airport next week to demonstrate their support for the Palestinians. Last July, a similar "fly-in" took place, with over 300 international activists arriving in Israel, and 120 detained. Under the slogan, “Welcome to Palestine,” some 1000 activists are planning to fly into Israel starting Sunday in order to demonstrate their support for the Palestinian people and to show that Israel does not allow free access and movement for the Palestinian people under its occupation.
The mission aims to openly challenge the Israeli siege of occupied Palestinian territories by visiting the West Bank and engaging in peace-building activities with the sponsorship of Palestinian NGOs. "Welcome to Palestine 2012 will again challenge Israel's policy of isolating the West Bank while the settler paramilitaries and army commit brutal crimes against a virtually defenseless Palestinian civilian population," read a statement issued by campaign organizers. It further called on national governments "to support the right of Palestinians to receive visitors and the right of their own citizens to visit Palestine openly." The letter was signed by prominent pro-Palestine figures, including American philosopher Noam Chomsky and renowned South African Bishop Desmond Tutu.
Attorney Amir Schatz, who represented two Australian activists who arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport for last year’s protest, but were refused entry at the airport, claims that the interior minister is not mandated to refuse entry at the airport based on a visitor’s desire to travel to the West Bank, as the territory is under military control, and given that Israel surrounds Palestine on all sides, travelers have no choice but to pass through Israel in order to reach a check-point and ask for permission to enter Palestine. Also Gush Shalom, the Israeli peace bloc, called in a letter to Israeli Minister of Public Security, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, to cancel plans for flooding Tel Aviv airport with a massive police force in preparation for the arrival of the international activists.
In a letter Gush Shalom spokesperson, Adam Keller, sent to the Minister Aharonovitch, he calls upon the minister to cancel plans for flooding Israel's Ben Gurion Airport with a massive police force, in preparation for the activist "fly-in" expected on Sunday. "It is sad to note, Mr. Minister, that you - as well as the commanders of the police force for which you bear responsibility - have learned nothing from the events of the previous 'fly-in'. At that time, more than a hundred international activists managed to make their way to Ben Gurion Airport. Not a single one of them took any provocative or violent act, I would like to reiterate the basic facts - though they have already been published extensively by the people concerned themselves, presented on numerous occasions to the international media and published on various websites - and therefore, you must already be familiar with them.""More than a thousand international activists are planning to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday, including aged persons, parents with their children and handicapped people in wheelchairs. Their sole aim is to get in a quiet and orderly way to the passport control, like any visitor. Once there, they intend to declare openly and explicitly that they are coming to visit the West Bank at the invitation of various Palestinian civil society organizations as well as of the Mayor of Bethlehem, Dr. Victor Batarseh. If allowed to go through, they intend to leave the airport with no further ado and proceed to their destination. Their program includes being hosted at the Peace Center in central Bethlehem, participating in laying the foundations of a new elementary school in the city, planting fruit trees, rehabilitate wells at villages in the area, and inaugurating a museum. I would like to repeat this point once again: they had no intention of causing any incident at the airport, and therefore the mighty police mobilization is completely unnecessary and a total waste of the taxpayers' money. All that is needed is instruct the passport control officials to answer each and every one of the visitors with the word 'Welcome'. At a small fraction of the cost of the planned police operation, it would be possible to give each of the visitors a pretty flower on behalf of the State of Israel."
|Last Updated on Saturday, 14 April 2012 12:45|