UPDATE (6 pm Friday): The last few hours have seen several Israeli motorists come under fire from Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria.
The supposed “flytilla” of self-proclaimed “pro-Palestinian peace activists” into Israel has begun today. The “flytilla” plan calls for 1500 “activists” to land at Ben Gurion airport from today through Sunday and proceed to areas controlled by the PLO/Palestinian Authority. The date was chosen to coincide with the International Criminal Court’s purely advisory (with no legal standing) and bogus 2005 opinion which declared that the security fence–which effectively put an end to suicide attacks on Israeli civilians–is “illegal”.
The flytilla is the brainchild of many international leftist groups as well as Palestinian groups. Some of those groups include the California-based “Movement Free Palestine”, the London-based and Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood affiliated “Palestinian Return Centre–which denies Israel’s right to exist, the “International Solidarity Movement”, the “Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions” movement, and “Anarchists Against the Wall”.
Local PLO organizers have been making threats all week.
One unnamed organizer said: “Israel can’t tell activists where to go and where not go, just as European countries don’t tell Israelis where they can or cannot visit.” Another organizer Abdelfattah Abusrour had this to say: “They have the right to enter Palestine. It’s not up to Israel to forbid anybody from coming into Palestine.”
According to the itinerary, the activists will be welcomed at a special ceremony in Bethlehem on Sunday followed by a tour of the Jordan Valley on Monday, and a trip to Hevron on Tuesday, Ramallah on Wednesday–culminating in a trip to Jerusalem on Thursday. On Friday, the flytilla organizers will have the activists back in Bethlehem for a seminar “How can we end the occupation?”
At a Tuesday press conference in Bethlehem, Mayor Victor Batarseh crowed that Bethlehem cannot wait to “welcome the 1,500 ambassadors to our land.”
He may be waiting for a long time.
Israel has placed 650 plainclothes and uniformed police officers inside Terminal One to “greet” these activists, deny them entry into the country, and immediately deport them.
If they can actually make it to Israel in the first place.
The Israel Interior Ministry has issued a “no-fly” list to all airlines flying into Israel. If an airline allows an “activist” on the no fly list to board a plane to Israel, then that airline will be forced to pay all expenses related to the deportation of that “activist”–including the cost of the airplane ticket out of Israel.
This morning the German airline Lufthansa canceled the tickets of dozens of “activists” scheduled to board its planes for Israel this weekend. A Lufthansa spokesman said: “Lufthansa, like all airlines, is obliged by the principle of following the laws and guidelines on entry to the territory of countries to which it transports its passengers. The Israeli authorities have written to several airlines including Lufthansa, and asked them not to fly certain passengers to Israel. Therefore, Lufthansa is obliged to follow this directive.”
Like the Gaza flotilla before it, as well as the previous flytillas, this particular flytilla is going nowhere fast.