Israel - Next 'flytilla' set for August

Four months after the last "flytilla" to Ben-Gurion airport, organizers of the Welcome to Palestine campaign are gearing up for another round of fly-ins, scheduled to take place at the end of August.

The next round is slated to begin on August 24, and will be different from previous fly-ins, organizers say.

The pro-Palestinian activists will fly into the Jordanian capital of Amman from different countries around the world, but mostly from France, and will then tour refugee camps before heading to Allenby Crossing, where they will request to pass into the Palestinian Authority.

"Last time, the Israeli government claimed that we were provocateurs trying to stir up trouble, and therefore this time we decided to have the activists enter the Palestinian Authority through the Allenby Crossing – in order to prove that the people only want to come and express solidarity with the Palestinians," said Jack Neno, one of the campaign organizers.

According to Neno, the activists, which will bring with them supplies for Palestinian students, will arrive at the border crossing as a group and declare their affiliation with Welcome to Palestine campaign.
Bethlehem Governor Abed Al-Fatah Hamayel said that the upcoming flytilla will only include a few hundred activists. "One of the Israelis' claims was that the last fly-in was a provocation. They said that the activists should have entered the Palestinian territories through Allenby Crossing and not through Ben-Gurion Airport, so we tool their advice," he said.

Neno noted that the decision to bring a small number of activists this time around is meant to help them enter the Palestinian Authority without creating a fuss. "We hope Israel lets them cross, but if it refuses, we will return with another campaign which will see masses of activists swarm Ben-Gurion airport."


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