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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.

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