Friday, 8 July 2011

Fly-in: 342 blacklisted, 310 interrogated, 4 deported, 65 detained as another 25 arrive late Friday

From Haaretz

A group of 25 people suspected to be pro-Palestinian activists arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Friday night, and were expected to be denied entry to Israel.

The suspected activists arrived on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt late Friday night, after their flight’s departure was delayed due to runway improvement work being conducted at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Friday evening from 19:00 to 22:00.

The activists aboard the plane were not on the list of 342 blacklisted passengers submitted by the Transportation Ministry to foreign airlines on Thursday, and as such were able to board the plane.

Earlier in the day, police called Friday’s operations at Ben-Gurion Airport "successful" as most of the activists were identified and taken for questioning during the afternoon hours.

Not including those passengers who arrived on the Lufthansa flight, a total of 310 arriving passengers were questioned by the Immigration and Population Authority. Sixty-nine of those passengers were found to be "fly-in" activists and were denied entry to Israel. The others were found to be regular tourists and were permitted entry.

At this time, four of the 69 activists have been deported to their home countries. The rest have been sent to detention facilities until they can be deported.

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in occupied Palestine (30 June– 06 July 2011)

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

· Two Palestinians were killed by an Israeli air strike in the central Gaza Strip.

- A third Palestinian was wounded in the same attack.

· A Palestinian civilian died of a previous wound in the West Bank.

· Israeli warplanes attacked a number of civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip.

- A store of fodders was bombarded and a number of civilian facilities were damaged.

· IOF continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.

- Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear Gas inhalation.

- IOF arrested 4 international human rights defenders.

· Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip.

- A fishing boat was damaged.

· IOF conducted 32 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

- IOF arrested 6 Palestinian civilians, including a child.

· Israel has continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

- IOF arrested two Palestinian civilians, at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

· IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

- IOF cut 11 olive trees in Kufor al-Dik village, west of Salfit.

- IOF prevented Palestinian farmers from working on their lands near “Sousia” settlement, south of Hebron.


50 pro-palestine travellers stage sit-in at Charles de Gaulle over denial of boarding for plane to Tel Aviv

From IMEMC - Fifty pro-Palestinian activists refused to leave the terminal at the Charles De Gaulle airport after being denied to board the plane headed to Israel on July 8, 2011.

Activists have refused to leave the Charles De Gaulle airport until Lufthansa airline issues them a signed document stating they were denied boarding access for flights headed to Israel.

Olivia Zeymour, a French activist and leader of the EuroPalestine Organization, told an Israeli Radio that, "Charles de Gaulle Airport is under Israeli occupation. We are peaceful people and have no interest in causing disorder at Ben Gurion Airport." more

Welcome to Palestine participants start to arrive; Israel arrests 200 of them

From the International Solidarity Movement
Hundreds of participants from the Welcome to Palestine Campaign started to arrive at Tel Aviv international airport on Friday, July 8. In Europe, French activists were denied from boarding their planes after the Israeli interior ministry handed out black lists to airl ines of the people not allowed to travel to Israel.

In a video from YouTube from Paris international airport one of the participants said that “The airline has documents from the Israeli interior ministry saying I am not allowed into the country.”

Another activist said that her name was black listed as well “I had all the required flight documents and my passport is good too and ready for travel, however the Israeli government decided we are not allowed into the country.”

Meanwhile a third activist was forced to leave the plane as her name was also among those denied entry into Israel “The blockade has extended to all of Europe, I came and presented my documents and right away I was told to leave the plane along with some other people who had their names on a list.”

At the Tel Aviv international airport things were not much different. Israeli security was heavily deployed in the airport. When some participants of the campaign arrived at the airport, where some managed to go through, many were detained and sent back. Israeli peace activists welcoming participants at the airport were arrested and attacked by both security forces and Israeli civilians.

Israeli sources announced that 200 participants of the Welcome to Palestine Campaign have in fact been arrested. more

Participants in the fly-in are being interrogated as they arrive - report from Al Jazeera here

Egyptian Independent Union Federation backs Israel boycott movement

From Socialist Worker (UK)

Kamal Abu Aita announced that the newly-formed Egyptian Independent Union Federation (EIUF) is backing the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS.

Abu Aita, a leading figure in the EIUF and president of the property tax collectors’ union, was addressing a packed meeting at the Marxism 2011 festival in London.

He said: “The EIUF has a very clear position and that is one of solidarity with the Palestinian Arab people, support for their right to a state in the whole of their land and support for their right to use all forms of resistance against the Zionist state.

"The EIUF announces its rejection of all forms of normal relations with the racist, settler Zionist state and we will not co-operate with any of its official or trade union bodies because they are all connected to the Zionist occupation of our land. It is impossible for us to work with this racist regime, and it is vital to build a movement of humanity which aims to get rid of racist regimes against the world, just as we got rid of the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

"The Egyptian revolution opened the door wide for our people to express their rejection of the Zionist state. From the beginning, the revolution has worked in the interests of the Palestinians, by stopping the export of Egyptian gas to the Zionists, and opening the border crossings. Egyptian youth besieged the embassy of our enemy and demanded the expulsion of the ambassador.

"We reject any relationship with the Histadrut because it is part of this racist regime. We call on all friendly unions to boycott the Histadrut as part of the campaign to get rid of racist regimes all over the world.”

Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), also spoke at the meeting. He said:

“The support of the Egyptian independent unions, represented by their federation, for the Palestinian Boycott Campaign is a source of pride for us, just as we are proud of Egypt’s leadership in the march of freedom from imperialism both old and new. We look forward to the return of the spirit to the all the Arab peoples struggling for freedom and social justice, and to break away of dependency on imperialist domination.”

The connections established at this meeting have the potential to play a truly historic role in the struggle for Palestinian liberation. For the first time in decades, the Egyptian working class is creating its own independent organisations, which are playing a leading role in the on-going revolution. On the Palestinian side, the BDS campaign is both a mass popular campaign within Palestine which has shifted the Palestinian trade union leaders from open accommodation with the Israeli unions, to formal support for the BDS campaign, as well being a hugely significant global movement.

As Omar Barghouti told Friday’s meeting: “Our South Africa moment has come”.

Racist chants and physical attacks greet peaceful travellers at Ben Gurion airport en route to Palestine

Maan interviews some activists (see below) who have managed to get through to the West Bank. Others were attacked at Ben Gurion airport by terminal users, according to reports on Twitter, amid racist chanting. Police arrested the activists and then proceeded to converse and joke with the hooligans that lashed out at the peaceful travellers trying to get to Palestine.
Joseph Dana

And from Maan
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Briditta, from Germany, arrived in the West Bank on Thursday.

"As a German, I feel somehow drawn to Israel because of our history," she told Ma'an, "but that does not mean I tolerate illegal behavior."

Briditta is looking forward to joining in with activities planned by Palestinian civil society organizations as part of the 'Welcome to Palestine' initiative over the following week.

"I will enjoy being together with a group from various countries," she said. She said she had met a few people who also arrived yesterday from European countries, and hoped more would be able to join.

Israeli immigration authorities issued a blacklist of 342 passengers not permitted to enter the country to international airlines, and up to 200 travelers have been barred from leaving their destinations.

A welcome committee for activists at Tel Aviv-area Ben Gurion airport was called off after reports that Israeli police would arrest them on arrival, organizers said, and journalists reported that three people who unfurled a Palestinian flag in the arrivals terminal were detained by Israeli police. more

Six pro-Palestine activists arrested so far at Ben Gurion, others prevented from flying

A relatively quiet morning was noted at the Ben Gurion International Airport, as security forces remained on high alert ahead of possible disruptions by pro-Palestinian activists arriving in Israel.

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino held a situation assessment at the airport, and rejected criticism over the mass deployment at the airport; which they said contributed greatly to the morning's smooth operations.

Six pro-Palestinian activists who arrived at the airport and declared they were part of the fly-in have been deported so far. more

From the Alternative Information Center
The first international activists participating in the Welcome to Palestine campaign arrived yesterday to Ben Gurion airport from Europe. This morning hundreds more tried to board planes to Tel Aviv to join the week of activities in the West Bank, but they were prevented by airlines, like Lufthansa, Easyjet, Air France and Malev. On Thursday the Israeli authorities sent hundreds of names to these companies telling them to deny travel to individuals identified as activists.

One of these activists was Cynthia Beatt, a British researcher living in Berlin. She was supposed to fly today, but she received a call yesterday from the Lufthansa office to inform her that the Israeli authorities would not let her fly to Tel Aviv. Despite this, she decided to go to the airport and demand a written justification from the airline. The company didn't comply. "There's no reason for this. I have never done anything and I want an explanation as to why I was put on a blacklist", she explained to the AIC. Beatt and other participants will hold a press conference in the theater Filmbühne am Steinplatz,
(Hardenbergstr 12, Berlin Charlottenburg), in the center of Berlin, at 13, local time.

French activists were also prevented from boarding planes to Tel Aviv and are staging protests at the airports in Paris, Lyon and Nice. In some cases, the airlines even prohibited them to make local connections. Activists were also prohibited from checking in for their flights in Brussels and Geneva. The AIC received information that some participants are currently en route to Ben Gurion airport.

Contact information:

Berlin: Cynthia Beatt (activist prevented from boarding flight) +49 (0)3069569205 +49(0)1608451079

Paris: Nicolas Shahshahani (coordinator) +33 (0)1 42 94 39 94 +33 (0) 673382484

Jerusalem: Michael Warschawski (for Hebrew) +972 (0) 524733453

Bethlehem: Fadi Kattan (for Arabic) + 970 (0) 59575410

South African Advertising regulator says it's OK to describe Israel as an apartheid state

(pic: David Randall from Faithless - featured in the advert that was the subject of unsuccessful complaints by pro-Israel organisations in South Africa)

Johannesburg - PNN - Earlier this week in a bold statement against Israel, South Africa’s media watchdog the 'Advertising Standards Agency’ (ASA), dismissed complaints relating to an advert of 5fm radio that called for a boycott of Israel while comparing Israel to Apartheid South Africa.

The advert aired in South Africa in February this year, starred Dave Randall, lead guitarist of the band Faithless, where he stated: ‘Twenty years ago I would not have played in apartheid South Africa; today I refuse to play in Israel. Be on the right side of history. Don’t entertain apartheid. Join the international boycott of Israel.’

As a result an official complaint was filed to ASA by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), expressing that the adverts claim that Israel was an Apartheid State was ‘untrue, not supported by any evidence… and contains a lie which amounts to false propaganda.’

This week the ASA completely dismissed every complaint made by SAJBD against the advert.

Livni attacks Netanyahu for bringing Israel's international standing 'to a new low'

From Memo

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni has criticized Benyamin Netanyahu's government for "searching for superficial issues and ignoring the essence" while running Israel's affairs. According to the ex-Foreign Minister, the way that current ministers are operating "is losing Israel its friends and taking the country's international standing to a new low". Livni, recently returned from a political tour of the US, said that Netanyahu does not understand the extent of the harm that he and his government are causing Israel through his anti-peace policies.

When asked by Israel's Army Radio why she is ignoring the Palestinian Authority, which "rejects taking any action for resuming negotiations, and misses every opportunity that appears before it", Livni answered, "This is not true. We have to be frank and acknowledge that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen] did not reject negotiations and did not retreat from the path of peace."

That's not all: "Even the narrative that gets repeated daily in Netanyahu's circles," she claimed, "that the Palestinians rejected a generous offer from former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, is not true. Abu Mazen did not reject it. He just did not give a response, because Operation Cast Lead in Gaza was still hot." Livni claimed that if Netanyahu had agreed from the beginning of his term of office to resume negotiations from where Olmert left off, "we would have been in a different position today". Netanyahu, she added, "was afraid to lose his right-wing camp, so he sought to make the negotiations fail." more