Report: Hundreds to challenge Israeli restrictions on traveling to Occupied Territories

Posted: July 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, unarmed protest | Comments Off

Israel is not yet done with the second flotilla, and a new effort to challenge its control over the travel to and from Palestinian Territories might take place this week – in no other place than the Tel Aviv International Airport

A coalition of organizations has made public [French, PDF] its intention to have hundreds of international activists land at Ben-Gurion airport this Friday, July 8th, and openly declare their wish to visit the West Bank.

Until now, visitors coming in solidarity with the Palestinians had to conceal their destination when questioned at the airport, or risk immediate deportation. A couple of years ago, American scholar Noam Chomsky was denied entry to Israel at the Jordanian border, after declaring his intention to give a lecture at Ramallah’s Bir Zeit University.

The closure over the West Bank works in the opposite direction as well: Many don’t know it, but Israel controls all air and land entries to the West Bank, not only to Gaza. Palestinians wishing to travel abroad must apply for special permission from the Israel authorities. Those wishing to travel to the United States must first obtain a permit to visit the American Consulate in East Jerusalem and obtain their visa.

Human rights organizations have often cited the complete authority over entries and exits from the occupied territories as further proof of Israel’s effective control over Palestinians’ lives, in stark contradiction to the claim that since the Oslo agreement, “Palestinians run their own business.”

The organizations planning the protest at Ben-Gurion airport have declared that 600 activists have already bought tickets to Israel, but so far I haven’t been able to confirm this. When I have more details, I will report them.

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