Israeli police have detained 30 pro-Palestinian activists attempting to enter the country via Ben Gurion Airport. Ten of the activists were on board an EasyJet flight, while the remaining 20 were flying with Italian airline Alitalia. The flights landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday afternoon. When it became clear that there were activists on board the planes were diverted to a runway further away from the airport and the activists were detained by police, ‘Haaretz’ reports. Israel has thus far been successful in preventing the entry of 200 passengers wishing to come to Israel as part of the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign, which had organized a ‘fly-in’ to the Middle East this weekend for solidarity visits to the Palestinian territories.
The 200 activists were on a list of 342 blacklisted passengers scheduled to arrive in Israel late on Thursday and early on Friday. According to ‘Haaretz’, the document was submitted by the Transport Ministry to international airlines on Thursday, which in turn prevented most of the activists from boarding flights to Tel Aviv.
At Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport, fifty activists arrived to board a flight to Israel, and then refused to leave the terminal after they were denied boarding, ‘Israel Radio’ reported. Olivia Zemour, leader of the Euro-Palestine organization, said: “Charles de Gaulle Airport is under Israeli occupation. We are peaceful people and have no interest in causing disorder at Ben Gurion Airport.”
Earlier on Friday, two American women planning to take part in the ‘fly-in’ were refused entry into Israel after landing at Ben-Gurion and were put on a flight back to Greece. Israel Police decided to decrease security presence at the airport on Thursday evening, saying it no longer expected a mass fly-in of activists because most of them had been already stopped abroad.