Israel braces for ‘fly-in’ by hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists

JERUSALEM (JWN)—Hundreds of police and other security forces are to converge on Ben-Gurion International Airport on Sunday to greet hundreds of foreign pro-Palestinian activists expected to try to enter the country as part of a “Welcome to Palestine” campaign.

The international protesters, most of whom will probably arrive without visas, are expected to be turned around and deported. Authorities intend to do so with a minimum of fanfare, to keep them from scoring public relations points at Israel’s expense.

As part of this effort, the Interior Ministry has given foreign airlines the names of activists who are already on Israel’s blacklist. If any of them do arrive, the airlines will have to fly them back to their origin at their own expense.

Last summer some 200 activists missed the first “fly-in” protest after airlines refused to let them board flights for Ben-Gurion. The few who did manage to arrive were held in a detention center until they were deported.

A police spokesman said the force is also aware of plans by “Israeli anarchists” to meet the visiting activists and hold demonstrations at the airport, at roadblocks, and in Jerusalem.