The Peaceful Palestinian ‘Fly-In’ Lie

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More than 120 foreign pro-Palestinian activists were detained at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on Friday and Saturday in connection with a long-planned “Welcome to Palestine” fly-in to protest the government’s policies toward the West Bank. The demonstration, sponsored by 15 Western Palestinian civil society organizations, was a bit of political theater designed to “expose Israel’s racist policies,” according to Welcome to Palestine spokesperson Dr. Mazim Qumsiyeh. The protest was also meant to build worldwide sympathy for the Palestinians in the lead up to a vote on statehood that will probably take place at the United Nations this fall.

Among the groups behind the “flytilla” is the California-based Free Palestine Movement whose mission statement says, in part, that they will “defend and advocate for the human rights of all Palestinians…by defying barriers imposed by Israeli and international authorities upon travel and trade to, from and within Palestine.” One of the co-founders of the group, Dr. Paul Larudee, helped come up with the idea for the fly-in, planning and organizing for months. The date was set to coincide with the 7th anniversary of the International Criminal Court’s advisory opinion on the legality of the Israeli security fence, which declared the fence illegal. It was also loosely timed to take place at the same time as the Gaza Flotilla that was recently prevented from leaving port by the Greek government.

Another prominent group taking part in the Welcome to Palestine protest was the London-based propaganda organization Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), which is affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and denies Israel’s right to exist. Also, the radical, Palestinian-led International Solidarity Movement was involved in the planning and execution of the protest. There were some Israeli leftist organizations who supported the fly-in but did not participate in the airport demonstration.

Originally, more than 600 anti-Israeli demonstrators planned to fly into the airport and announce their intention to visit the West Bank, thus forcing Israeli security to arrest and deport them. But Western airlines, responding to an Israeli “blacklist” of activists circulated last week and compiled from various social media sites, prevented most of them from boarding. Nearly 100 were denied access to Israeli flights from Paris alone, while other nations and airlines cooperated and kept hundreds more from making the journey.

Israel deployed more than 600 police and security personnel at the airport — most of them in plainclothes — in order to deal with the expected crush of protestors. As it turned out, one of their main responsibilities was protecting the pro-Palestinian activists from angry Israeli citizens who “punched, curse, and spat at them,” according to IPS News. The Israeli government had also beefed up security on the flights in order to keep the protestors and Israeli citizens apart on the planes.

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  • stern

    Please tell us which airline complained. I'll bet they fly to other countries – Saudi Arabia, for example – and follow those countries' immigration laws without complaint. Why is it that so many people have a problem granting Israel the sovereignty every other nation in the world enjoys as a matter of right? Why is it that every other country in the world has the right to decide who they let in, but when Israel exercises that right, these idiots bitch. (Don't worry, rhetorical questions. I know the answers.)

  • mcrobbins

    Is the international community wising up? This is great news! The Greeks stopped boats of the Flotilla. Most of the Fly-in protestors were prevented from boarding their planes. (Sounds like they are as welcome in Israel as Norman Finkelstein.) Is Israeli diplomacy finally working behind the scenes? Maybe people are finally ignoring the "We Con the World" spin of the PA.

    Concerning the coinciding of the protest with the Hague decision: many Israelis who were victims of terrorism protested at the International Court of Justice during the case about the fence. Their protest in favor of the fence fell on deaf ears. You would have thought that the events of the second intifada hadn't occurred by the attitude of the judges and press.

  • Asher

    Even Greece did not want the Flotilla, so they had no other option but to fly in…These activists are trying to provoke a war in the Middle East to bring chaos to the whole region! I am contributing to the IDF!

    • Yellow Rosebuds

      Me too!! I love the IDF. A finer group of soldiers does not exist on this planet.

  • Adam

    Anyone reading this, PLEASE BOYCOTT ALL ISRAELI GOODS until they end the illegal OCCUPATION of Palestine or offer Palestinians EQUAL HUMAN RIGHTS throughout Israel/Palestine. #BDS is the message to far right Israel that our bent politicians have failed to send them, namely WE WILL NOT SUPPORT RACISM & APARTHEID & ETHNIC CLEANSING of PALESTINE.

    • MixMChess

      Adam you're an idiot. Israel doesn't occupy any so-called Palestinian land. Israel completely withdrew from Gaza and over 98% of the W. Bank is governed autonomously by the P.A.

      The Arabs in Israel have full guaranteed equal rights and enjoy more civil and human rights in Israel than they do in every Arab/Islamic country and even most Western countries (see France).

      There is no such thing as apartheid in Israel. In apartheid S. Africa, blacks couldn't vote and "were not citizens of the country in which they formed the overwhelming majority of the population. Laws dictated where they could live, work and travel." In S. Africa, the government killed blacks who protested against its policies, whereas Israel allows freedom of movement, assembly and speech by all citizens including Arabs. The Israeli Arabs are full citizens who enjoy equal rights under the law, are represented in the Knesset, serve in high-level government positions and on the Supreme Court. Some of the Israel's harshest critics are Israeli Arabs and Israeli Arab groups formed inside Israel.

      There is no ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The Palestinian population has actually increased under Israeli rule, over 84% from 1993-2004 ALONE!

      Anyone reading this already knows to buy Israeli goods and support democracy and not your terrorism.