In addition to its growing list of human rights violations and crimes including the illegal settlement of Palestinian land, repression of free speech and improperly utilizing white phosphorous, the Israeli government will be attempting to actually block a few hundred humanitarian activists, who are expected to arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport this weekend, to set foot on land. The groups of these activists are known as the “flytilla”, in reference to the 2010 Gaza flotilla which ended up in disaster and the deaths of 9 activists.
Israeli officials estimate that 2,000 people at most will be traveling from mainly Europe and North America to Israel in order to protest against Israel’s controversial foreign and domestic policies, the latter regarding the West Bank & the Gaza Strip.
This will be the second “flytilla” since the first flytilla in July 2011 which saw to the arrests of dozens of protesters in the Ben Gurion airport.
Israel’s government has defended its actions as “preemptive” against the groups they see as “hostile elements” bent on destroying public order within the country.
Israeli officials stated that they will try to cooperate with airlines and other governments in preventing activists from taking off at departure and that they will immediately detain the rest of the traveling groups and deport them back to their countries once they arrive in Israel.
This would not be the first time Israel has screened and restricted the flow of travelers to prevent possible protests and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.
Ever since the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, Israel has been tightening its already tough security measures and travel laws on foreigners trying to get into Israel.
Already, government workers have compiled a blacklist of hundreds of names of passengers arriving this weekend from perusing the websites of Twitter, Facebook and others.
However, the organizers of some groups have fired back at the Israeli government insisting that they will be there to either help Palestinians or peacefully protest against what they see as a revolting and repressive treatment of an undeserving people who are treated as second class citizens.