France Urges Citizens:Don't Travel to 'West Bank'

France urged anti-Israel activists to refrain from travelling to the 'West Bank' in order to avoid scuffles with Israeli authorities.

Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Israeli authorities questioning protestors at
Israeli authorities questioning protestors at
Israel news photo: Flash 90

France urged anti-Israel activists to refrain from visiting Bethlehem this month in solidarity with the Arabs in Judea and Samaria in order to avoid being detained or turned back by Israeli authorities, Reuters reported.

Approximately 1,200 pro-Arab supporters throughout Europe plan on visiting the area on April 15 in order to help open an international school and a museum, at the request of a local organization called "Welcome to Palestine."

Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said on Monday that while Paris wanted to enable citizens to travel freely, Israel reiterated that it would not allow anyone who poses a threat to national security to breach its borders.

"France is concerned by the risk of incidents ... as part of ‘Welcome to Palestine' operation" he said. "For this reason, we advise our citizens to not take part in this initiative given the risk of being turned away or being detained."

A similar, though smaller, operation led to a few hundred activists being blocked at European airports, last year.

Prior to their attempted arrival, Israel had issued a blacklist of about 300 names to airlines of individuals who were believed to pose a threat to the country’s security.