As Al Jazeera described the incident…
…The activists, approximately half of which are French nationals, were destined for the West Bank town of Bethlehem. The campaign name “flytilla”, is in reference to a parallel maritime protest flotilla, most of which was never allowed to leave Greek ports from which the ships were to sail.
According to activists involved in the action, the main goal was to show the injustice and human rights violations imposed on Palestinian community by Israel.
Nearly 100 activists were not allowed to board their Lufthansa Air flights at Charles de Galle airport in Paris on Friday morning.
“We came this morning at 4:30 am to get our 6:30 am flight,” Satina, an activist who asked that only her first name be used, told Al Jazeera, “When we arrived and wanted to check in, they told us to go to another check in point, where there they told us they could not check us in. We grouped together and asked why, but they didn’t give us anything in writing.”
Her group then began demonstrating in front of all the airlines that were not allowing the activists to board, shouting “Collaborators, collaborators!” to condemn the French authorities for their action. In addition to Lufthansa, other airlines that disallowed activists from boarding were Air France, Alitalia, Malev Airlines, easyJet, and Swiss Air.
“We asked why they wouldn’t check us in and they would not give a reason, they simply said we could not board this flight,” Satina added.
Most of the passengers not allowed to board are French citizens with valid passports, according to Satina, who said activists were “supposed to go on two Lufthansa flights and one Swiss Air flight in terminal one, and Air Italia and Air France flights in Terminal two.”
Some tweets of the festivities:
Things are going wild in #Paris at the airport as Policemen assault French #AirFlotilla activists, firing tear gas at their faces.
Video shows #Israeli police arresting activists at BG airport for protesting http://t.co/iIRWPQv #AirFlotilla
…@IDFSpokesperson allowed ppl in terminal to scream, spit on and attack protesters as they were being arrested #airflotilla
As Ma’an reported today, it wasn’t confined to just Ben Gurion and Charles de Gaulle…
…A French activist with the ‘EuroPalestine’ group told Ma’an that Mohammad Al-Amir, Petseyana Leddis and Adrian Rue, who were planning to travel to Ben Gurion airport, had been detained in Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport.
“Israel is dictating laws to France by barring its people from traveling,” she said.
She added that the group of 300 activists are waiting “paralyzed” at the airport having being blocked from travel. “We are a very peaceful movement,” she insisted.
At Roissy airport in France, at least nine activists were prevented from boarding a flight of Hungarian carrier Malev to Tel Aviv via Budapest.
Some 50 airline passengers describing themselves as “pro-Palestinian” were prevented from boarding a flight to Israel from Geneva airport on Friday, officials said, prompting flight delays.
Now, for the best coverage of what really happened today in Ben Gurion, 972+’s Joseph Dana
was onsite all day…
Dozens to be deported from TLV airport, 5 Israeli activists arrested
More than 60 ‘Welcome to Palestine’ activists reportedly barred from entering Israel and will spend the weekend in detention facilities, while hundreds others banned from boarding flights; bystanders jeer, assault Israeli activists as police look on…
Despite all those hurdles, some made it all the way to Bethlehem…
Around 30 activists gathered tonight in Manger Square to celebrate the commencement of the Welcome to Palestine campaign and to welcome its participants.
To begin the demonstration, one of the organizers, Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh gave an update on the current status of the campaign. He said that many of the participants have been detained, and that Israeli security forces have arrested a number of Israelis who went to the airport in support of the campaign.
Following Qumsiyeh’s speech, organizer Sami Awad explained that the campaign’s “purpose is to expose the injustice of the occupation.”
“Internationals who come to Palestine have to lie … to say they’re tourists. They are peace activists, and everybody has the right … to come into Palestine. Israel cannot hide behind this charade of saying they are democratic”, Awad said.
Awad went on to welcome the two Welcome to Palestine participants present in Manger Square, who had arrived from France in the morning, and hoped that they would join in the week’s activities that the organizers have planned.
The two participants, Pascal and Annie, told PNN that they have been conscious of the problems in Palestine for a long time, and that this was their first visit. On what they told the Israeli security upon entry, they said that they were tourists and did not mention Palestine for fear of deportation…
Again, God Bless and God Speed…!