Welcome to Palestine

Irish Times | April 12, 2012

MARK WEISS in Jerusalem

BETHLEHEM’S MAYOR has urged Israel to allow hundreds of international activists, expected to arrive this weekend as part of the Welcome to Palestine solidarity campaign, to travel freely to the West Bank.

Israel views the fly-in as a “provocation” and has vowed to arrest known activists who land at Ben Gurion international airport. However, Bethlehem mayor Victor Batarseh has called on Israel not to “humiliate” the foreign visitors.

“We demand our international friends have access to Bethlehem,” he said. “It is our right to welcome visitors.”

Israel believes up to 1,000 activists will try to reach the West Bank, which is occupied by Israel, on flights from Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Israeli officials have contacted airlines with lists of activists in the hopes that they will not be allowed to board flights to Ben Gurion. Known pro-Palestinians…

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