Security forces detained 30 pro-Palestinian activists attempting to enter Israel on board easyJet and Alitalia flights on Friday as part of an attempt to stymie an influx of activists into the country.
Ten of the activists were on board the easyJet flight, while the remaining 20 were flying with Italian airline Alitalia. Earlier in the day, police arrested six Israelis who arrived at the airport with signs reading “Free Gaza”.
The flights landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport Friday afternoon, however when it became clear that there were activists on board the planes were diverted to a runway further away from the airport and the activists were detained by police.
Israel has thus far been successful in preventing the entry of 200 passengers wishing to come to Israel as part of the Welcome to Palestine campaign, which had organized a “fly-in” to the Middle East this weekend for solidarity visits in the Palestinian territories.
The 200 activists were on a list of 342 blacklisted passengers scheduled to arrive in Israel later Thursday and early Friday, submitted by the Transportation Ministry to foreign airlines on Thursday.
Earlier Friday, two American citizens planning to take part in the pro-Palestinian “fly-in”, were refused entrance to Israel after landing at Ben-Gurion Airport, and were sent on an outbound flight back to Greece.
The women, wearing “fly-in” T-shirts, flew in from Athens and were stopped by the Israeli police, who decided to decrease security presence at the airport on Thursday evening, saying it no longer expects mass fly-in activists, because most of them had been already stopped abroad.
The women were questioned and after stating the reason for their visit, Israel Police sent them on an outbound flight due to their intention to create provocations and disrupt the peace.