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Welcome to Palestine Campaign April 15th-21st 2012

Palestinian civil society organizations and peace and human rights defenders and activists call on the international community to join us on April 15th -21st for peace building in Palestine and to challenge the Israeli siege of the occupied territories. Over 1500 people of conscience from over 15 countries are scheduled to arrive for this year’s WTP campaign.

The first Welcome to Palestine (WTP) Campaign in December 2010 brought 100 individuals. The second WTP in July 2011 saw hundreds of individuals purchase airline tickets and attempt to board planes to Palestine. Israel sent a “black list” of 342 participants from the ages of 9 to 83 years old to prevent them from boarding planes sparking huge protests in several international airports. The Israeli military also turned the airport near Tel Aviv into a military compound. One hundred twenty-seven women and men were arrested at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and then imprisoned for several days as they insisted on their right to visit Palestinian associations and families.

Still, a lot of good resulted from this as well. As a result of legal challenges, many European airlines not only fully refunded the tickets, but also agreed not to repeat the incident. Furthermore, the publicity shed light on Israel’s attempts to deny visits by internationals for humanitarian peaceful support to millions of Palestinians living under occupation. Lastly, despite these obstacles, many activists were in the end able to join the activities carried out throughout the occupied areas throughout the week of July 9th, 2011. The international community recognizes the basic human right of Palestinians to receive visitors from abroad and support the right of their own citizens to travel to Palestine without harassment (see http://www.righttoenter.ps/ ).We pledged that where Israel works to isolate us, we invite all to join us openly and proudly. We reject all attempts to isolate and silence us. We are thus having larger programs to challenge the siege.

With the help of the international community, we will achieve our goal of peace and freedom and thus restore the values and principles that we share as human beings. We believe in global popular resistance as a method to achieve implementation of International Law and Human Rights, especially where governments fail to act. We believe that every single one of us is a change maker, and nobody has the right to deny access to suffering populations. We call on more internationals to join the hundreds who already booked their tickets and come help us begin to build a school, work with farmers, and join the struggle to bring peace with justice.

Who is traveling to Palestine the week of April 15th, 2012?

Fifteen hundred to twenty-five hundred human rights activists between the ages of 9 and 90 years old from over 15 countries.

Who invited them?

Palestinian civil society organizations, peace and human rights defenders, as well as activists on the ground made the call. They include the following (list in formation):

Al-Awda Center, Beit Sahour
Al-Rowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Centre, www.alrowwad-acts.ps
The Alternative Information Center – AIC - www.alternativenews.org
Bil’in Popular Resistance Committee www.bilin-village.org
Friends of Freedom and Justice, Bil’in www.bilin-ffj.org
Handala Center - www.handalla-center.org
Holy Land Trust: www.holylandtrust.org
International Solidarity Movement: www.palsolidarity.org
Les Enfants, le Jeu et l’Education www.ejepal.org
Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative
Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People www.PCR.PS
Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center (Wi’am) www.alaslah.org/
Palestine Justice Network www.palestinejn.org
Palestine Solidarity Project WWW.palestinesolidarityproject.org
Popular Committees in different villages and towns
Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies, www.sirajcenter.org
Youth Against Settlements (Hebron)
The Right to Enter Campaign www.righttoenter.ps

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Welcome to Palestine 2012

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