Israel Detains More than 120 Pro-Palestinians Activists

Posted July 9th, 2011 at 4:55 am (UTC-5)
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Israel says it has detained more than 120 pro-Palestinian activists arriving on flights into the international airport near Tel Aviv.

Officials said Saturday authorities have placed the activists in jails as they await deportation. Organizers of the so-called fly-in had said they expected hundreds of activists to arrive in Israel this week to show solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank.

Israel has already deported four of the activists that made it into the country.

At least 25 of the detained pro-Palestinian activists flew in from Frankfurt late Friday on a Lufthansa flight.

Israel deployed hundreds of police officers at the Ben Gurion airport, and sent airports and airlines in Europe a list with the names of more than 300 people that it said would be barred from entry.

Airport officials and air carriers in Europe prevented more than 200 of the blacklisted activists from boarding flights to Tel Aviv.

The fly-in follows an attempt by hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists to organize an aid flotilla to challenge the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip. The flotilla stalled after Greece banned the ships from sailing from its ports.

Last year, nine Turkish activists who were part of a Gaza-bound flotilla were killed during a confrontation with Israeli commandos.

On Friday, Reuters quoted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying it would be “unthinkable” for his country to normalize ties with Israel unless Israel apologized for the deaths of the Turkish activists. The news agency says he made the comments in a speech to parliament.