Israel Braces for Pro-Palestinian ‘Flytilla’
Posted on Jul 7, 2011
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists are expected to arrive at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport Friday in a “flytilla” that the organizing campaign “Welcome to Palestine” says is simply an invitation to supporters to visit friends in the West Bank and Gaza. An ever-jittery Israeli government, however, isn’t taking any chances.
Israel’s public security chief already has denounced those planning to take part as “hooligans,” and the media reported that hundreds of extra police are being deployed at the airport. —BF
Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has taken a personal interest in the “flytilla” threat, visiting airport officials before a trip to Romania and insisting that “every country has the right to prevent entry of disrupters and provocateurs at its borders”.
Israel’s public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, had already denounced those planning to participate as “hooligans and radicals”.
“The same hooligans who tried to break the law and disrupt the peace will not be allowed into Israel and will return to their home countries,” he said this week.
“I want to make it clear that as a sovereign, democratic country, we will not allow public propaganda, incitement and illegal demonstrations to occur, not at the airport and not in any other place.”
Flickr / JerandSar Gimbel (CC-BY)
An El Al jetliner waits to be loaded at Los Angeles International Airport before taking off for Tel Aviv, Israel.