Israeli police have been briefed on the arrival of international activists, taking part in the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ programme, at Ben Gurian airport in Tel Aviv over the coming days. Hundreds of activists are set to arrive at the airport with the intention of announcing their plans of travelling to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Israeli special police have begun arriving at Ben Gurian (BG) airport in order to prevent the entrance of international activists taking part in the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ programme.
According to Haaretz European air agencies have been instructed to provide Israeli security forces with a list of passengers to Israel 48 hours prior to departure.
Haaretz reports that if suspected activists board flights to BG they will either be processed from a separate terminal on arrival or police will question passengers from an outer runway and suspected activists will be detained by police.
Israeli peace group, “Gush Shalom”, have condemned portrayals of the activists as ‘law-breaking hooligans’ by The Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Mr Yitzhak Aharonowitz. Adam Keller, spokesperson for the organisation, stated that the intention of the participants was purely peaceful.
“They have no intention of creating chaos at the airport, and their only intention is to pass through passport control, like any other traveler, and be on their way” he stated.
Men, women and children from France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Britain and the US are planning to arrive on Friday morning for the week of activities which will include home stays with Palestinian families and planting olive trees in the Ramallah area.
Unlike other activists who must lie at Israeli border access points to gain entry to Palestine, those intending to take part in the “Welcome to Palestine” initiative have stated their intention in advance to be truthful as to what their purpose at Ben Guirian is.
Organisers of ‘Welcome to Palestine’ state that “The aim [of the programme] is to show that, if our governments do not seem to be interested in the fate of these people who have been under occupation for far too long, there are men and women from all countries, who are ready to bring them moral support, using a week of their holidays to go and meet them.’