200 Pro-Palestinian Activists Stopped from Entering Israel

Posted July 8th, 2011 at 7:25 am (UTC-5)
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Airport officials in Europe have blocked 200 pro-Palestinian activists trying to reach Israel to draw attention to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Israeli officials say they sent airports a list of 345 people who were denied entry into the country. Organizers of the “Welcome to Palestine” group said about 600 people were scheduled to participate in the fly-in.

The German airline Lufthansa refused to let 50 pro-Palestinian activists board a flight from Paris, France, to Israel Friday because their names appeared on a blacklist.

Israel had deployed hundreds of police officers to its international airport near Tel Aviv in anticipation of the Friday arrival of large groups of pro-Palestinian activists.

Earlier, Israel denied entry to two pro-Palestinian Americans who landed overnight in Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport from Athens, Greece. They told Israeli officials they had planned to join the Gaza sea flotilla but later decided to join the fly-in when the flotilla was delayed.

The activists planned to fly into Israel on a mission to show support for Palestinians. The activists say they hope to attention to Israeli policies that often bar foreigners who have ties to Palestinians.

Israel believes that the fly-in was organized after the aid flotilla stalled in Greece. Activists deny that, saying it is a separate initiative.