Daily Israel Report

‘Flytilla’ Activists Planning to Defy Israeli Ban

French activists say they will seek to violate Israel's sovereign right to control its borders despite Israeli promises to bar entry
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 4/11/2012, 10:25 PM

Border Police Prepare for Flytilla
Border Police Prepare for Flytilla
Flash 90

Hundreds of French anti-Israel activists are planning to stage a "flytilla" at Ben Gurion airport this weekend said they still plan to travel despite Israeli officials saying they will be denied entry.

"We are obliged to transit through Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion) to get to the West Bank. This is not a choice," organizer Olivia Zemor said on Wednesday.

Zemor also said that buses have been already been reserved to ferry the activists to Bethlehem where they plan to participate in anti-Israel demonstrations.

Minister or Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Tuesday the "provocateurs will be dealt with in a determined and quick way."

He explained that the activists would be stopped at the airport and immediately deported.

"If they arrive to Israel they will be identified, removed from the plane, their entry into Israel will be prevented and they will be moved to a detention facility until they are flown out of Israel," Aharonovitch said.

His office said that security officials had tracked the activists on social media sites, compiled a blacklist of hundreds of names and asked airlines to keep those on the list off flights to Israel.

The French foreign ministry has advised the 500 to 600 French nationals believed to be signed up for the "flytilla" not to travel "because of the risks of expulsion or detention".

Zemor condemned the French government's position on the event.

Campaign's organizers in PA enclaves in Judea and Samaria say they want to publicize Israel's "control of movement into and out of the Palestinian territory" and to "boost solidarity with the Palestinian people."

The so-called "Welcome to Palestine" campaign, which has been dubbed a "flytilla," is taking place for the third year.

In 2010, organizers said around 100 activists were able to arrive without incident and travel to PA areas in Judea and Samaria.

However, last year Israel worked with airlines to prevent hundreds of activists from boarding planes bound for Ben Gurion, and detained and later deported 69 others who managed to arrive.

Israel has reportedly already beefed up police presence at Ben Gurion in anticipation of this year's "flytilla," and contacted various airlines to request that they block activists from boarding flights.