Photographers almost outnumbered fly-in activists at Ben Gurion airport as Israel’s diplomatic efforts stymied the pro-Arab protests in the air and on the sea. Several pro-Hamas activists who failed to set sail for Gaza tried their luck in the air, but to no avail.
Video - Activists blocked at the Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris:
International media admitted that Israel successful and peacefully defeated the attempts to force a clash with Israeli soldiers and police. Airlines were more interested in dealing with the peak travel season than in having to find scarce seats and pay for the return of fly-in activists not allowed to enter Israel. They largely accepted Israel’s “black list” of unwanted activists and refused to allow them on board.
The pro-Hamas organizers denied allegations that they planned to incite Arabs in visits to cities to Ramallah, Shechem, Jenin, the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem.
Those who were barred from boarding airplanes threatened to sue. The ones who were able to land at Ben Gurion Airport were not able to do much more than stage a noisy demonstration and try to raise a Palestinian Authority flag for dozen of photographers and aggravated travelers.
Six Israeli citizens were arrested at the airport where they sympathized with the fly-in activists. Bethlehem University Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh, quoted in The Los Angeles Times, said that the fly-in was a protest against Israel’s alleged "discriminatory policy against Palestinians and its violation of Palestinian human rights."
Video - Local activists arrested at the Ben Gurion Airport, Israel:
The numbers are far less than the 800 planned to enter Israel in the “Welcome to Palestine” campaign.
On the sea, one boat, called “The Dignity,” was able to leave the Greek island of Crete with approximately 10 people. It circumvented the Greek ban on sailing to Gaza by stating its destination was Rhodes, from where it plans to change course for Gaza if it can reach past Greek waters.
The Canadian boat Tahrir gave up all efforts to sail, and eight other ships remain stuck at Greek ports.
The London Guardian’s Stephen Pollard wrote that the activists “have been trumpeting the latest flotilla's size, making claims about what it will achieve and taunting Israelis with what they intend to do. And yet their actions have instead strengthened Israel's hand….
“So successful has Israel been in stymieing the flotilla that what is actually setting sail amounts to one small boat with nine activists on board, leaving two weeks late. It is barely worth noting, and poses no threat to the Israeli naval commando unit, Flotilla 13, which played out a range of scenarios in expectation of a more substantial group, from a peaceful takeover of the boats to dealing with activist violence.”