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The Israeli "case" demolished in Al Jazeera debate<

Israel: The fear of a 'flytilla' - Inside Story - Al Jazeera Englishwww.aljazeera.com/programmes/.../04/201241714839661426.html"It has always been an axiom of the Israeli foreign policy to isolate Pal [ ... ]

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Welcome to Palestine 2012<

19th October 2011

In the West Bank the accelerated demolition of Palestinian homes is part of an open and illegal policy of changing the demographic composition of the area.  This siege and forced population transfer could not take place without the complicity of European Governments and, we have learned, it is even policed by European airline companies.  Israeli crimes do not stop at the medieval siege of Gaza.

Last year hundreds of human rights activists signed up to Welcome to Palestine 2011 to assert their right to enter Occupied Palestine openly and peacefully at the invitation of Palestinian hosts.  In that first open effort, over 100 ended up being attacked by Israeli soldiers, imprisoned by the Israeli authorities without charge, and barred from peacefully proceeding to Bethlehem.  Hundreds of others were illegally prevented from even boarding their flights in a number of European capitals at the behest of the Israeli Government.

An international organising meeting in Paris, involving both those jailed in 2011 and new groups joining next year for the first time, agreed to issue a fresh call for Welcome to Palestine 2012, the next round of the campaign to be allowed to enter Palestine peacefully and openly.  This campaign will continue until the inmates of Israel’s giant system of control, the imprisoned Palestinian people, enjoy the right to receive international visitors in peace and solidarity. 

Welcome to Palestine 2011 planned to help Palestinians replant some of the million olive trees destroyed by Israeli authorities since 1967.  Participants in Welcome to Palestine 2012 aim to contribute their skills towards the building of a Palestinian school.

We call on you to join and support our peaceful action to secure this fundamental right to freedom of travel: Israel’s failure to concede this minimum right will mean it has publicly crossed another red line in its denial of Palestinian human rights.

Join Welcome to Palestine 2012, which begins on Sunday April 15th with flights from many international airports to Occupied Palestine, by necessity via Tel Aviv Airport in Israel.

  •  Join us on April 15th flying into Palestine via Tel Aviv
  • Add your name and that of your organisation, trade union, campaign group, church, etc., to list of signatories endorsing the appeal: Welcome to Palestine Initiative 2012 (English)<. 
  • Forward the Appeal to other human rights supporters

Contacts:

USA: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

UK: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. <

A ‘quiet time’ in Palestine – nothing in the Western press...but

Settlers paint ‘Death to Christians’ on Jerusalem Monastery
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=458709<

More Israeli land theft
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=458622<

Israeli army uproots Palestinian olive trees
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=18917<

Israeli forces arrest more Palestinians across West Bank
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=18929<

Israeli torture of Palestinian detainees continues with impunity
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/shabak-tortures-and-ill-treats-palestinian-detainees-impunity<

Israel steals more water from the Jordan Valley
http://palsolidarity.org/2012/02/tubas-israel-robs-the-jordan-valley-dry/<

Israeli Army holds journalists without trial
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk<

'Unprecedented' internet attacks strike West Bank
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=458930<
From Ali Kazak’s daily news bulletin 09 February 2012 02:40Today in Palestine; News & Opinion ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Dear Friends,

More than 1,200 women, men and children bought a plane ticket to go to Bethlehem this weekend to show their solidarity to the Palestinian people threatened with destruction, with the complicity of our leaders .

We thank all those here and those elsewhere who responded to the call for help by some 25 associations of Palestinian civil society as part of the initiative "Welcome to Palestine", from 15 to 21 April 2012.

Thank you for agreeing to show to the world, despite all forms of intimidation, that Palestine is not a dirty word, nor a prohibited destination.

Palestine, all Palestine, is under occupation. All Palestinians are prisoners, and in addition they would be deprived of the right of visitation? By what right?

A big thank you to the airline unions (CGT and Sud) who have sent statment of support Welcome to Palestine. Just as MRAP who voted, during its national convention, a motion of support for this initiative.

Thank you to the many personalities, presidential candidates, elected officials, who have also sent their congratulations and encouragement.

Thank you to the Mayor of Bethlehem for his invitation letter telling us all the happiness he has to greet us.

Thank you to the Governor of Bethlehem for his warm support.

And many thanks to the families and Palestinian organizations that prepare our welcome in the best conditions.

(You can find all this information on the site http://www.bienvenuepalestine.com<, the official Facebook page, as well as http://www.europalestine.com<, or with Twitter @touspalestine)

The Israeli government wants to portray us as terrorists whose aim is to "create incidents" at the airport in Tel Aviv, and the government announced it will block all passengers because they "would create disturbances to public order ". But our goal is not to demonstrate at the airport "Ben Gurion" but to visit the West Bank, where we are expected to launch the construction of an international school, a museum about the history of Palestinian refugees, repairing wells damaged by settlers, and land reclamation.

If Israel had not destroyed or confiscated the airports which allow us to land in Palestinian territories, we could skip transit through Tel Aviv. But there is no other way to get there, and Israel systematically denies travelers who would want to visit the West Bank.

All those suspected of sympathizing with the Palestinians are even forced to sign an undertaking not to enter the West Bank "at the risk of two years in prison in Israel", in addition to interrogations and humiliating and endless searches.

This is intolerable. Our leaders let them. Not us. And if they want once again to prostate themselves to the dictates of the right-wing government of Israel, they will show their contempt for international law and human rights. They show that they have chosen the side of illegal occupation. They show that there is a blockade not only on the Gaza Strip but also the rest of Palestine.

Why is it that we cannot go in the West Bank? Officials of the Quai d'Orsay were unable or unwilling to tell us. At the request to the Department on 27 March, the coordinators of the French group for the mission Welcome to Palestine were told that the French government did not envisage any sanctions against Israel, including when French diplomats are abused or injured in Palestine!

"Sanctions are not effective. We have also received Syrian dissidents who believe that sanctions against Syria are unnecessary and that a military intervention is needed," said verbatim a senior official of the Ministry, M . Alexis Le Cour Grandmaison. To which we replied: "We do not ask bombing on Israel, even though his government is more harmful than those countries that you allow yourself to bomb".

Politicians hope to conduct election campaigns by concealing the occupation, the colonization and the increased dispossession of Palestine. Women and men of conscience, by engaging in this mission of international solidarity with the Palestinian people, forced politicians to talk about Palestine.

Thank you to Nathalie Artaud. Thank you to Eva Joly. Thank you to ...

Jean-Pierre Elkabbach! We urge you all to support the volunteers of the mission "Welcome to Palestine", especially if obstacles are placed to their departure, now imminent, in French and European airports, or if the Israeli government prevented them from going to Bethlehem.

Regards,

The French delegation of "Welcome to Palestine" This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Israel is paranoid about pro-Palestinian activists

Israel will not stand idly by as thousands of activists prepare to arrive on Sunday; it will not miss an opportunity to look ridiculous in the eyes of the world.

by Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 13 April 2012<

And with what shall we frighten the Israeli public in advance of the seventh day of Passover? How will we provide the dose of fear to which it has long since become addicted? After a week of a quiet and safe vacation, we have to find something, after all. The Iranian threat has entered a negotiations freeze, terror is quiet, even the Grad missiles have diminished in number, there is no mass plague on the horizon and even the circumstances of the attack against the Jew in Kiev have not become sufficiently clear.

But Israel has not been abandoned, and the Israeli mind finally hit on something: the pro-Palestinian fly-in "provocation," as it has already been called. The minister of public security is convening feverish consultations, the airlines have received the "blacklist" prepared in advance by the omniscient security networks, the crime reporter - of course this is about crime, what else? - has already been sent to Ben-Gurion International Airport to greet the looming danger.

Israel is prepared for D-Day this coming Sunday. They say 2,500 activists will land in Israel and sow great fear. Although the crime reporter explained to the nation that the activists do not plan to bear arms or resort to violence, still, when it comes to danger, to terror, to scare-mongering, the forces are already prepared for the big day. The last time, about a year ago, it ended with 127 detainees who were immediately expelled, as they deserved, and the danger was nipped in the bud.

The intentions of the organizers - a visit to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people, a trip directly from Ben-Gurion to Bethlehem without any violent intent - were immediately blurred and replaced with the usual Israeli accusation: terror and delegitimization. As we accuse any peace lover or human rights activist.

Had Israel not inflated the story to such terrifying dimensions, few people would have paid attention to this innocent protest. Had Israel also welcomed them warmly and sent them on their way to Bethlehem, that would have embarrassed them and even undermined their objective. But the State of Israel will not stand by idly. It certainly won't miss an opportunity to look ridiculous and even more contemptible in the eyes of the world. It will immediately turn them into personae non grata, as it did to Gunter Grass, as well as an airborne threat.

Entry into Israel is permitted only to its declared friends. Not a Spanish clown and not a German writer, certainly not human rights activists. An ignorant, extremist, Christian American right-winger is welcome; an intellectual, conscientious European left-winger is sent to the expulsion cell. Israel 2012.

In the case of flotillas as well as fly-ins, these are activists, most of whom mean well. The Swedish writer Henning Mankell turned to us before the most recent flotilla to Gaza: "For once report the truth. Don't you see that there is no declaration of war here, but a declaration of peace?" And of course his words fell on deaf ears. Mankell participated in two flotillas to Gaza, was expelled twice from Israel in disgrace, and published his harsh impressions in the world's leading newspapers.

Had Israel not confiscated his computer and his property and treated him like a terrorist, his impressions would have been different. Had Israel invited him to present its viewpoint, perhaps his criticism would have been less harsh. Mankell and his friends will not give up. Now another flotilla is being organized in Sweden, this time on a sailboat carrying flowers, which we will probably also treat as though it were an aircraft carrier about to attack Israel.

The roots of this paranoia are deep and thought-provoking. Were Israel convinced of the justice of its path, it wouldn't behave this way. If Israel really thought the occupation is just and legal, it wouldn't be frightened by every conscientious activist who opposes it. If it had nothing to hide, it would respectfully invite them to visit.

But when the ground is burning beneath our feet, and the fire of doubt and insecurity is consuming everything, the only response is a violent and unrestrained attack. On Sunday, when the farce of arrests and the grotesque expulsion take place once again, the activists will register another significant victory: Once again they will prove that Israel does have something to hide, that in spite of all its propaganda, Israel is well aware that there are skeletons in its closet and anyone who dares come near them will suffer the same fate - expulsion.

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