Israel blocks 200 pro-Palestinian activists from flying into country
The 200 passengers are on list of 342 blacklisted passengers refused entry to Israel in bid to stymie influx of pro-Palestinian activists; passengers demonstrate at Paris airport after barred from boarding flights.
Israel successfully prevented the entry of 200 passengers attempting to fly into Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport on Friday in a bid to stymie an influx of pro-Palestinian activists to the country, according to the police.
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.
Israeli police warned activists ahead of time that they would not be allowed entry to the country, however dozens of pro-Palestinian activists staged a protest at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris Friday morning after being barred from boarding their flights to Tel Aviv.
The activists, many of them French but also at least one German, only discovered that they appeared on the list of undesirables when they arrived for their flights, they reported in videos posted online and on social networking site Twitter.
German carrier Lufthansa and other airlines, including Alitalia and Hungarian airline Malev informed the blacklisted passenger Friday that they were not allowed check in because their names were on a list of "undesirable people" that had been circulated to the airlines.
Lufthansa barred 50 pro-Palestinian activists from boarding an Israel-bound flight from Paris via Frankfurt because they appeared on the Transportation Ministry's list.
A spokesperson for the German airline in Israel, Tal Muskal told Haaretz that the group was demonstrating at the check-in area in terminal 1 at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Muskal said that just like other European airlines, Lufthansa received a list of passengers who would not be allowed entry at Ben-Gurion Airport.
Some passengers booked on Alitalia flights managed to check in but were refused permission to board.
"Roissy (airport) under a blockade, Lufthansa collaborators," some of the passengers in the airport's Terminal 1 shouted.
"Roissy-Charles de Gaulle is under Israeli occupation," the coordinator of the France chapter of the campaign, Olivia Zemor, accused.
"This is an infringement of our freedom to travel," one frustrated French passenger said in a video posted on YouTube.
The activists are part of the Welcome to Palestine campaign, which had organized a "flytilla" to the Middle East this weekend for solidarity visits in the Palestinian territories.
They were due to arrive through Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv late Thursday and Friday, where hundreds of police had been deployed in anticipation of their arrival.