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July 6, 2011

Welcome to Palestine

Press Release 2: “Welcome to Palestine” Organizers decry Israeli propaganda
efforts and threats of mass deportation

Bethlehem and Jerusalem 5 July 2011–The organizers of the “Welcome to
Palestine” initiative decry the numerous attempts by Israeli and other media
to distort our message and planned activities.  There were messages claiming
that we are attempting to reach Gaza by going to Lod Airport (aka Ben Gurion
airport) on July 8. Some claimed that this initiative came after the
flotilla was blocked. Others claimed our visitors want to disrupt things at
the airport and some even claimed they will try to take over planes. These
claims and many others being circulated are false; we urge media not to
disseminate false statements.

As stated in our first press release: we invited international guests,
including families, to visit us in Palestine.  We hope and expect the
Israeli authorities to allow them safe passage in compliance with
International law and normal diplomatic bilateral protocols. We also reject
the Israeli government threat to engage in mass deportation of peace
activists and the apparent attempt justify this unjustifiable action by
using rumors that they spread.

We are accessible to the media and encourage them to speak with the actual
organizers and participants of this peaceful initiative.  Journalists will
be flying with us, and we encourage more  journalists to join us and to
report on what actually happens (without innuendos and propaganda efforts –
Israeli hasbara).

Our visitors are coming to Palestine with a nonviolent approach to peace
building and conflict resolution, with full respect of the universal
declaration of human rights. We urge the Israeli authorities to allow the
journalists to have access to our participants and to report the true story
of “Welcome to Palestine.”

Inviting Palestinians and internationals to join us is our right as people
under colonial occupation who yearn to be free.

Some journalists are flying with our visitors and we invite all journalists
who want to exercise their right to free press to fly in of the 8th of July
to Palestine.

We will have a press conference Friday July 8 at 10 AM at the Bethlehem
Peace Center in Bethlehem.


Press Release from the European group is posted at

نتنياهو في مطار بن غوريون يُعد لخطة احباط وصول نشطاء السلام

Xinhua agency Report
AFP Report

Israel to expel pro-Palestinian airport protesters

نتنياهو في مطار بن غوريون يُعد لخطة احباط وصول نشطاء

الشرطة الاسرائيلية ترفع حالة التأهب في مطار بن غوريون بعد أنباء عن وصول
نشطاء سلام

جلسة تشاورية للحكومة الاسرائيلية في مطار “بن غوريون” قبل وصول المتضامنين
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Challenging Israeli apartheid, starting at Ben Gurion Airport

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ph.D.




Nearly 600 women, men and children, among whom more than 350 French citizens, will fly to the West Bank next Friday 8 July, in answer to the call from 15 West Bank Palestinian civil society organizations.

The aim is to show that, if our governments do not seem to be interested in the fate of these people who have been under occupation for far too long, there are men and women from all countries, who are ready to bring them moral support, using a week of their holidays to go and meet them.

In order to go to Bethlehem, we have no other choice than first landing at Tel Aviv airport, since the only Palestinian airport was destroyed by Israel in the early 2000’s. We know that the internationals who go to Palestine are very often subjected to arbitrary, indeed criminal practices, when they are not turned back, which often leads them to lie on the reasons of their journey.

However, all the French, Belgian, British, German, Italian and American participants decided of one accord that, having nothing to hide, and coming with totally peaceful intentions, they would inform the Israeli authorities of our wish to go to the West Bank immediately after our arrival at Tel Aviv airport.

We then duly informed the French Foreign Office who forwarded the information to the Israeli authorities.

They therefore know perfectly well that we are not coming “to spread chaos at Tel Aviv airport” – contrary to claims by certain agencies, only to pay a visit to Palestinian families, share their daily life for a week, visit the towns, villages and refugee camps, discover the difficulties encountered by their inhabitants, also their culture and their expectations.

Our programme includes in particular exchanges with the Al-Rowwad Centre of the Aïda refugee camp (Bethlehem), help with olive tree planting around Ramallah, also a solidarity visit to the organizers of the Jenin Freedom Theatre whose manager, Juliano Meir Khamis, was brutally assassinated recently.

We strongly stress that we campaign for a just peace and for the freedom and security of both the Palestinian and the Israeli people. Such a peace necessarily means the end of the occupation of the Palestinian Territories and the respect of international law. There are many Israelis who share this point of view.

We are leaving with our passports in order. We are not carrying anything dangerous. We often come as families and we are ready to submit to the controls in force in all the airports of the world. However, we refuse both arbitrary practices, we mean without any connection with anyone’s security, and humiliation.

More information on :

Freedom for Palestine

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