Israel blockades ‘flytilla’ activists, sparks anger

Israel blockades ‘flytilla’ activists, sparks anger

Israel blockades ‘flytilla’ activists, sparks anger

Pro-Palestinian activists hold placards to protest being prevented from boarding flights for which they had bought tickets at Atatürk airport in Istanbul. DHA photo

Europe’s main airlines, including Turkish Airlines, faced passenger fury after cancelling scores of tickets as hundreds of police were on the lookout for pro-Palestinian activists flying in to Israel’s main airport yesterday.

By early afternoon, there was little visible movement inside Terminal 3 at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, although police said they had detained nine passengers for questioning on suspicion of being part of the “Welcome to Palestine” fly-in campaign, better known as the “flytilla.” Organizers say the campaign aims to expose Israel’s control of movement both into and out of the occupied territories. British airline easyJet said it had joined other carriers in preventing pro-Palestinian activists from boarding flights to Israel after pressure from the country’s government. “easyJet, along with all other airlines which operate flights to Israel, has been advised by the Israeli Border Authority that a number of passengers due to travel over the weekend will not be allowed to enter Israel,” easyJet said in a statement.

‘This is scandal’

Throughout the morning, scores of angry activists staged angry demonstrations at airports in several European capitals after being prevented from boarding flights for which they had bought tickets. At Atatürk airport, some 50 passengers demonstrated and shouted slogans. “This is scandal. I believe Turkish people want to help Palestinians. We want to go to Israel but they Israeli authorities do not allow this,” French activist Olivia Zemor said. Similar demonstrations took place in Paris, Rome, Brussels, and Geneva.

Compiled from AFP and AA stories by the Daily News staff.