Israel begins deporting ‘fly-in’ activists

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel began deporting pro-Palestinian protesters who flew into Ben Gurion International Airport to attend protests and activities in the West Bank.

Some 118 protesters arrived over the weekend at Israel’s airport. As many as 200 protesters had been prevented from boarding planes to Israel on July 8 by airport authorities in Paris, Berlin, Geneva and other cities who used lists of potential protesters compiled by Israeli police from social media sites.

At least 36 of the activists held over the weekend in two Israeli prisons arrived at the airport on Sunday in order to be returned to their countries of origin. 

About 50 activists managed to pass through Israeli airport security and head for the West Bank, Ynet reported.

The activists will take part in Welcome to Palestine activities, including visiting Palestinian cities such as Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jenin. Over the weekend, the activists participated in a demonstration at the security fence in Bilin and visited the Aida Refugee Camp, according to the Palestine Justice Network.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israeli officials "acted methodically and successfully in a variety of spheres — diplomacy, intelligence, public security, migration control and others, in order to frustrate this provocation.  And indeed the provocation was foiled.

Netanyahu added, "I would also like to make it clear that Israel will continue to frustrate provocations and attempts to break through our borders, whether by land, sea or air."

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