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Flytilla? Manovra a tenaglia per Gaza, a Tel Aviv attesi attivisti in aereo

Manovra a tenaglia della nuova flottiglia per Gaza? Attesi su voli aerei al Ben Gurion di Tel Aviv attivisti della flottiglia. L’articolo del Guardian del 7.7.2011:

Israel braces for Gaza protest ‘flytilla’

Activists from Welcome to Palestine campaign expected to land in Tel Aviv after blocking of aid flotilla

Peter Beaumont, Thursday 7 July 2011 14.25 BST

Article history

Israel was bracing itself on Thursday for an expected attempt by hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists to fly into the country, as the latest flotilla of ships intended for Gaza appeared to have been largely stalled.

Israeli media reported that hundreds of extra police would be deployed at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv to try to halt the influx of protesters, who are part of the Welcome to Palestine campaign.

Most are expected to arrive on an estimated 50 scheduled flights from across Europe, beginning at 1am on Friday. The campaign has denied that those participating intend to try to reach Gaza or provoke deliberate disruption at Ben Guirion airport.

“As stated … we invite international guests including families to visit us in Palestine,” Welcome to Palestine said in a statement on Thursday. “We hope and expect the Israeli authorities to allow them safe passage in compliance with international law and normal diplomatic relations.

“We also reject the Israeli government threat of mass deportation of peace activists and the attempt to justify this unjustifiable action with rumours that have been spread.”

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.”

In expectation of what has also been called the “fly in” Israel’s transport authorities have demanded foreign airlines present lists of passengers two days in advance of departure for scrutiny.

Israel expects at least 600 activists to attempt to enter, half of them from France. They have said they intend to spend a week visiting Palestinian families.

Michael Rabb, a US pro-Palestinian activist, told Israel Army Radio he expected at least 500 activists to arrive at Ben Gurion airport and “announce openly and honestly that we’re flying into Palestine to visit our friends”.

Announced earlier this week by Welcome to Palestine, the campaign said that those taking part would include citizens of Britain, Belgium, Italy, France, Germany and the US.

The “fly in” is the latest chapter in the continuing game of cat and mouse between Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters who have increasingly used tactics designed to challenge Israel and invite a response which would embarrass it in front of the world.

Ben Gurion airport has long had a reputation for its stringent screening of arriving foreign passengers and questioning of departing non-Israeli nationals, including questions about where they have travelled and whether they have met Palestinians.

According to the Haaretz newspaper, in this case Israeli officials have warned that if a plane arrives with a suspect on board, that person will be detained at Ben Gurion and be put on a plane back to his home country before he reaches passport control.

Israeli authorities are also making arrangements for planes suspected of carrying larger numbers of activists to be diverted to an outer runway at the airport so passengers can be questioned.

According to the paper, police being deployed for the operation were told during a briefing that “when you enter the airport, it will be as if you are entering the set of Big Brother” – and warned they should not be be goaded into using force and then being filmed by activists.

The concern has been prompted by the international outrage that followed the release of footage of the Israeli commando raid on the Gaza aid flotilla ship the MV Marmara, a raid that resulted in the deaths of nine activists on


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