More than 60 percent of the 1,500 pro-Palestinian activists due to arrive in Israel on Sunday to take part in a fly-in protest have received notifications from airlines that their flights were canceled, the spokesman for the “Welcome to Palestine” protest told Haaretz on Saturday.
The activists were planning to arrive in Israel to participate in a protest against West Bank settlement construction that was scheduled to take place on Sunday. Last July, a similar “fly-in” took place, with more than 300 international activists arriving in Israel. Of those activists, 120 were detained.
Among the airlines that notified the activists of flight cancelations were Lufthansa, Air France and Easyjet, Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem-based spokesman for the protest said, adding that the activists are threatening to take legal action against the airlines.
“Israel passed lists of hundreds of activists to companies, along with a letter in which it claimed that they were coming to carry out a provocation and disturb the peace, and this is just not true. It is very unfortunate that these companies bowed to Israeli pressure,” said Qumsiyeh, who added that he has no doubt that some of the activists and Palestinian organizations - including his own - will pursue legal action against the companies.
According to the spokesman, hundreds of activists will manage to board flights to Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport, and declare their intention to travel on to the West Bank upon their arrival.
Dozens of pro-Palestinian activists were prevented from boarding Israel-bound flights on Friday, due to the fact that their names appeared on the blacklist distributed by the Israeli government to a number of European airlines.
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This story "Israel-Bound Flights Canceled Amid 'Fly-In' Protest Plans" was written by Haaretz.