Jerusalem Calling! ...... I've always wanted to say that ~ My Eurovision Dreaming Days, I suppose ~ It ranks alongside "Follow that Cab", which I did manage to say to a taxi driver once in my life.
Israel deployed hundreds of extra police at its already heavily guarded international airport Thursday and asked European airlines to bar potential troublemakers from Tel Aviv-bound flights in anticipation of the arrival of hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists. In Paris, eight activists were blocked from boarding a Malev Airlines flight on Thursday. One of those turned away, Philippe Arnaud, said Malev showed him a list provided by Israeli authorities of nearly 400 people being barred from Israel. German carriers Lufthansa and Air Berlin said they also received lists.
The activists, expected to arrive in Israel late Thursday and Friday, say they are on a peaceful mission to the "West Bank" ~ the rogue term they use to describe the Israeli heartland of Judea & Samaria ~ to draw attention to the plight of 'palestinian's living under Israeli 'occupation'.
Israeli concerns have been further heightened by deadly clashes in recent weeks with pro-palestinian Arab activists along its frontiers with Lebanon and Syria. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said officers deployed at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport have been prepared to deal with scenarios ranging from uneventful landings to airport officials being attacked. Israel is known for its strict airline security, beginning with check-ins on incoming flights, and officials claim they have sophisticated intelligence procedures in place to identify potential troublemakers. It’s unclear how many activists would be denied entry after landing at the airport. Israel says it will not stop people because of their political beliefs, but that its only concern is to stop people who plan to carry out illegal or violent acts. (How Crazy is that????).
Rosenfeld said airport facilities could hold as many as 80 detainees, and that any overflow would be sent to a prison in southern Israel. The airborne activists, meanwhile, have denied any direct connection with the latest attempt to breach the Gaza blockade, which appears to have largely fizzled in recent days. The flotilla ships were held up by mysterious malfunctions and Greek authorities who did not let them set sail from ports in Greece where the ships had mustered.
In Europe, German federal police said as long as passengers had valid tickets and passports, they had no grounds to stop any activists at airports there. Two German airlines, flagship carrier Lufthansa and Air Berlin, said Thursday they received lists of people from Israel who are not allowed into the country. Lufthansa said it would comply. Lufthansa “is obliged not to transport any passengers who do not hold valid entry permits or whose entry into the respective state has been denied by local authorities beforehand as in this case” company spokesman Patrick Meschenmoser said Thursday. He declined to say how many passengers were on the list, or whether any of them had planned to fly with the airline.
Arnaud, the activist turned away in Paris, has led calls to boycott Israeli products in France. He said Malev refused to let him and seven others board at Charles de Gaulle Airport. “They showed us a letter from the (Israeli) interior ministry with a list of nearly 400 people, with names … saying to bar us from traveling to Israel,” he said by telephone from the Paris airport. WTG ISRAEL !!!!
The French airport authority wouldn’t comment on the incident, and Malev Airlines officials in Paris could not be reached. In London, Britain’s Foreign Office said it had not been asked by Israel to prevent anyone from boarding flights to Israel.
The “Welcome to Palestine” movement has estimated that between 500 and 700 people would arrive on flights over the weekend. It accused Israeli authorities of badly overreacting, noting that there are strict security procedures before boarding the plane. “This is a total circus by the Israeli authorities, who are painting us as criminals,” said French activist Olivia Zemor. As terrorist enablers that is precisely what they are!!!!
During a visit Thursday to Bulgaria, Netanyahu said Israel would exercise the “basic right” that every country has to block provocateurs from entering. “We have a restrained resolve to deal with provocations, to prevent disruptions of the public order,” Netanyahu said. And Eretz Yisrael as a Soverign Nation has EVERY right to do just that!!
The latest development comes in wake of recent failed attempts to jump start a second naval flotilla to the coasts of Gaza aimed to protest against Israel's naval blocked of the Hamas ruled Palestinian territory. Heavy diplomatic pressure applied by Israel and a series of technical problems have so far prevented the Gaza-bound ships from sailing off the coasts of Greece. And it's intending passangers are fizzling away .... Baruch Ha'Shem!!