Pro-Palestinian activists plan mass Ben-Gurion “fly-in”

Activists wait at Ben-Gurion Airport to welome protesters arriving for last year's unsuccessful "fly-in". (Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—Activists plan to stage a second “Welcome to Palestine” flying protest after the failure of a similar event last summer.

Organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh of Bethlehem told The Jerusalem Post that up to 2,500 participants—“aged 9 to 90”—from 15 countries are expected to land just after Passover at staggered times on April 15 and 16.

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.

In the first “fly-in” last summer, 124 participants were held at the airport and immediately deported. In coordination with Israeli security authorities, hundreds more activists were barred from boarding planes to Israel at European airports.

“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,” Qumsiyeh said.

“We call on our elected representatives and our government to ensure that we shall be normally and properly treated on our arrival in Ben- Gurion Airport, as are Israeli citizens when they come to our countries,” he said.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that Israel is working with other governments and foreign airlines to identify activists and stop them from boarding planes.


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