Welcome to Palestine!

London prepares for Flytilla II

By London BDS

Welcome to Palestine, an initiative that involves international activists flying into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and openly declaring their desire to visit Palestine was a successful tactic last July, challenging Israel’s siege of the West Bank that sent a clear signal to the apartheid state that the international community will not remain impassive to injustice.

Even before any activists departed, the Israeli government pressured airlines to prevent passengers they deemed ‘pro-Palestinian’ from boarding aircraft by threatening to send them back on the same flight if they landed in Tel Aviv -something that many carriers did reluctantly.

Israel’s response of detaining and deporting tourists who simply wanted to visit the West Bank fully exposed its siege of Palestine and denial to Palestinians living in the occupied territories to receive visitors, a right even granted to prisoners.

Last July, London BDS reported on the midnight arrival of UK and American activists at Luton Airport who were detained and deported by Israel after declaring upon arrival their intention to visit Bethlehem.

Welcome to Palestine is endorsed by Desmond Tutu, Ronnie Kasrils, Noam Chomsky, Tony Benn, John Pilger and dozens of other international humanitarians.

On Sunday, April 15th 2012, people of conscience from countries throughout the world will once again be boarding flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport in a second “flytilla” to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and drawing attention to Israel’s siege of the West Bank by stating upon arrival to immigration officials their intention to visit Palestine.

Organisers tell us that this year, a high-profile send-off at Luton Airport is planned and in an Electronic Intifada interview, Mick  Napier, chair of Scottish PSC and a Welcome to Palestine organiser, stated that regardless of whether or not you’re on a flight, Welcome to Palestine is an international action that everyone can participate in.

Here’s a short documentary about the experiences of several flytilla participants who were detained by Israel:

For those wishing to find out more and be a part of Welcome to Palestine – be it in the air or on the ground – this Saturday there’ll be a briefing and an opportunity to find out how you can get involved.

Here are the details:

Date: Saturday 3rd March
Time: 12:00 noon 
Where: Housmans Bookshop5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DY
 
See you there!