RAMALLAH, April 10 (JMCC) - Pro-Palestinian activists will fly in to Israel's international airport on Sunday, seeking to visit Palestinians in Bethlehem on the day Eastern Christians celebrate Easter.
The initiative, backed by key figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Palestinian ambassador to Britain Manuel Hassassian, seeks to highlight that Israel controls nearly all entry points to the occupied Palestinian territories.
A similar effort last year resulted in the detention and deportation of several hundred internationals who came to Israel and announced their intention to visit Palestinians. Hundreds of others were blocked from traveling to Israel by officials in their home countries.
Welcome to Palestine 2012 will again challenge Israel's policy of isolating the West Bank while the settler paramilitaries and army commit brutal crimes against a virtually defenseless Palestinian civilian population, organizers said in a statemen
We call on governments to support the right of Palestinians to receive visitors and the right of their own citizens to visit Palestine openly.
that Israeli officials are preparing for the fly-in by sending representatives to the European countries that activists are expected to fly from.
In similar previous efforts, activists have tried to break Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip by sending flotillas by sea. In May 2010, nine Turkish passengers were killed aboard the Mavi Marmara as Israeli commandos took over it and other vessels in a flotilla seeking to dock in Gaza.