As part of the initiative a press release was issued that stated ‘Welcome to Palestine 2012 will again challenge Israel’s policy of isolating the West Bank while the settler paramilitaries and army commit brutal crimes against a virtually defenceless Palestinian civilian population.’ The letter was undersigned by many top officials, politicians and writers including Tony Benn, Noam Chomsky and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu.
The letter called for a press conference on Tuesday at the Bethlehem Peace Center to announce the campaign to the public. Coordinators of the campaign told IMEMC that over 1000 visitor purchased their tickets and are getting ready to visit Palestine.
This is the second Welcome to Palestine campaign to be organized by over 25 Palestinian organizations in the West Bank. In July 2011 around 650 people signed up and purchased tickets to come to Palestine, however, over 350 of them had their reservation revoked one day before the travel date based on instructions from the Israeli ministry of Interior sent to the airline companies.
Over 120 passengers were denied entry at Ben Gorion airport as they declared their intentions to visit Palestine. The visitors are expected to arrive on Sunday April 15.