Thursday Apr 12, 201212:31 AM GMT
Flytilla 2 preparing to land in Tel Aviv
Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:30AM
Ramin Mazaheri, Press TV, Paris
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The latest high-profile attempt by activists to call attention to Israel’s obstruction of Palestine’s borders is set for April 15 -- the departure date of Flytilla 2. A group of international activists have refused to hide their intentions to peacefully visit Palestinian humanitarian associations.

More than 1,200 men, women and children will attempt to convene at Tel Aviv’s airport on Sunday in order to shine a light on Israel’s refusal to permit free travel to Palestine and to show their solidarity with people in Bethlehem.

The meeting is a repeat of last year, when the multinational group “Welcome to Palestine” was invited to tour the West Bank. The vast majority of participants never left their home airport as Israel orchestrated a vast airline blacklist. More than 120 participants made it through but were arrested in Tel Aviv.

Israel faced international criticism for overreacting to peaceful protesters, as did the compliant airlines and national governments. In an official statement, the French government paradoxically asserted the right of foreigners to travel freely to the West Bank, but also discouraged the group from making the trip.

Despite invitations from Bethlehem’s mayor and governor, major resistance is expected as Israel has said they will arrest the group, calling them a "hostile element".

No matter how often the activists stress the peaceful nature of their protests a confrontation with Israeli authorities seems certain. The group says they would prefer to bypass Israel altogether but all of Palestine’s airports have been confiscated or destroyed.
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