Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the country’s security services to prevent pro-Palestinian fly-in activists from entering the country.
“Every country has the right to prevent the entry of provocateurs into its borders,” Netanyahu said Wednesday at Ben Gurion Airport during a meeting with security services officials.
Five Belgian and French activists were deported in advance of the planned protests, Haaretz reported.
He told the officials to “act with determination, while trying to avoid unnecessary friction” with the up to 1,200 pro-Palestinian activists who reportedly are planning to fly to Israel’s international airport to protest the country’s policies toward the Palestinians.
Activists hope the “fly-in,” scheduled for July 8, will disrupt airport operations, including departing and arriving flights. Most of the activists are from Europe, according to reports.
The activists plan to declare “Palestine” as their destination once they land in Israel, according to reports. They face being denied entry to Israel and deportation. They reportedly will demonstrate if denied entry.
Hundreds of additional police and Border Guard officers have been stationed at the airport in preparation for the fly-in, Ynet reported.
Israel often prevents international activists it believes are planning disruptive demonstrations to enter the country
The activists who are allowed in to the country plan to tour Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and the Jordan Valley, and to take part in solidarity activities with the Palestinians, as part of the Welcome Palestine event sponsored by 40 pro-Palestinian groups.
This story "Israel Gears Up To Repel Fly-In Protesters" was written by JTA.