14 August 2012
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators are planning their third protest event to highlight Israel’s policy of banning foreign activists who it believes could cause a public disorder while visiting the area, the ‘Jerusalem Post’ reports. The campaigners believe that Israel applies the ban too broadly to include political ideology. In July 2011 and in April 2012, activists from the grassroots organization Welcome to Palestine held a protest to highlight that issue, in which a number of activists flew into Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport on the same day, coming from different airports mainly in Europe.
Upon arrival they announced that they had come to visit “Palestine.” In both cases, Israel blocked most of the campaigners from entering the country. In many cases Israel worked with the airlines, which then denied the activists the right to board the plane. Israel also immediately deported those activists.
Welcome to Palestine has organized a small group of 25 activists mostly from France who will fly into the airport in Amman on August 23. They will visit Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, before attempting to enter the West Bank through the Allenby Bridge. Upon arrival at the bridge the activists will tell Israeli custom officials that they have come to visit Palestine, one of the organizers, Mazin Qumsiyeh, told the ‘Jerusalem Post’.
"Last time, the Israeli government claimed that we were provocateurs trying to stir up trouble, and therefore this time we decided to have the activists enter the Palestinian Authority through the Allenby Crossing – in order to prove that the people only want to come and express solidarity with the Palestinians," Jack Neno, one of the campaign organizers, said. Once in the West Bank, activists would visit Bethlehem and the region to meet with Palestinians and to help prepare children for the new school year, according to the press release.
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