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Israel Cannot Bar Fly-In Protesters: Lawyer

Israel’s Interior Ministry has no authority to refuse entry to activists taking part in Sunday’s pro-Palestinian fly-in protest, a lawyer who represented activists detained in last year’s protest claims.

The fly-in protest, part of a campaign entitled “Welcome to Palestine,” is due to take place on Sunday with the arrival of thousands of international activists at Ben-Gurion Airport. Last July, a similar “fly-in” took place, with over 300 international activists arriving in Israel, and 120 detained.

Attorney Amar Schatz, who represented two Australian activists who arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport for last year’s protest, but were refused entry at the airport, claims that the interior minister is not mandated to refuse entry at the airport based on a visitor’s desire to travel to the West Bank, as the territory is under military control, and given that Israel surrounds Palestine on all sides, travelers have no choice but to pass through Israel in order to reach a checkpoint and ask for permission to enter Palestine.

Schatz says that last year he submitted an appeal on behalf of a former Australian member of parliament, Phyllis Hale, and a friend of hers from New Zealand, who is a member of the organization “Jews for Palestine.” The court accepted the appeal, based on the principle that the interior minister cannot refuse entry to anyone who declares on arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport that they intend to travel to the West Bank, because the area is under miltary control. The interior ministry cannot refuse a request that is under the mandate of the military authority, and must allow those who intend to travel to the West Bank to enter Israel and request permission to travel to Palestinian territories.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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