U.S. Backs Israel on Stopping 'Flytilla'
The United States on Monday defended Israel’s actions to stop the anti-Israel ‘flytilla’. Israel managed to stop the pre-publicized event in its tracks, without fanfare.
“Israel is a sovereign nation. Like any sovereign nation, it has a right to control the flow of people and goods through its ports,” AFP quoted State Department spokesman Mark Toner as having told reporters in Washington.
On Sunday, some 78 radical leftists and anarchists landed at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, in an attempt to cause provocation.
56 of the activists were arrested, 18 were deported back to their country of origin and four others are being held in a detention center at the airport.
The activists who arrived at the airport were given sarcastic letters in which they were ‘thanked’ for choosing Israel as their cause for humanitarian concern. The letter suggested the activists first protest again regimes such as Syria and Iran, and then come back to criticize Israel.
Meanwhile, 47 foreigners were still being held pending deportation on Monday, according to AFP.
Sabine Haddad, an Israeli immigration official, told the news agency, “There are 47 people still awaiting deportation, including 37 French nationals, eight Britons, an Italian and a Canadian.”
She added, “Those who remain will be repatriated by the same airline companies that brought them to Israel as soon as there are places available for them.”
Haddad said the activists would be barred from entering Israel for five years.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Sunday evening, and thanked the officers and commanders of the Israel Police for their determined and successful operation in foiling the ‘flytilla’.
Netanyahu told Aharonovitch, “The deployment of the operational and diplomatic elements proved itself. Today, the world better understands where the true problems are in the Middle East.”