Monday, 27 August 2012

Israel stops activists from entering West Bank

By DALE GAVLAK | Associated Press

Over 100 international pro-Palestinian activists from the US and Europe were prevented entering the West Bank via the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge border crossing from Jordan on Sunday, the organisers of the 'Welcome to Palestine' campaign said.

Israeli border officials asked the activists no questions, and stamped "entry denied" in their passports without providing any explanation, Olivia Zemor, the French organiser of the campaign said.

"The denial of entry today at the Allenby Bridge border crossing from Jordan shows that the previous policies of siege and isolation continue," a statement from the group said on Sunday.

"Even prisoners are entitled to be visited. When governments fail to act, individuals act.

"We thus will continue to initiate more Welcome to Palestine campaigns. We insist on the freedom of entry. As Israel persists in these unjust policies, it is only fair to ask all countries to reciprocate by denying Israelis entry to these countries," the statement continued.

"By isolating the remaining Palestinians from the eyes of the international community, Israel confirms that it is an apartheid racist state," the group said.

The group had entered Jordan on Friday 24th August. Zemor told a press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman that the group had intended to deliver around a tonne of school supplies to Palesitnian children in refugee camps in Bethlehem, where they had been invited by the Mayor of Bethlehem.

The group had then planned to spend five days visiting Jerusalem, refugee camps, villages near Hebron and the Negev. The activists, aged from 10 to 80, were peaceful and unarmed, Zemor added.

Welcome to Palestine's two previous 'flytillas' were also been prevented from entering Israel. Activists flew to Ben Gurion Airport and declared their intention to visit Palestine, while some were prevented from boarding their planes due to 'blacklists' provided by Israel.

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