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Netanyahu Panics — American and European activists Flytilla


When Folks like Kathy Kelly Visit Palestine by Sea or by Air Netanyahu Panics

 

“I, and another US Boat to Gaza campaign member, Missy Lane, will head to Tel Aviv, where we plan to be part of a “flytilla,” a new campaign which will bring hundreds of activists together in Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, all of us intent on reaching Palestinian refugee camps and/or visiting Gazan families.” — Kathy Kelly

 

by James M Wall

 

Kathy Kelly -- Voice for Palestine

When the Israeli government discovered that a large contingent of American and European activists were coming to visit Palestine, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went into his full military stance.

He made one huge mistake. He forgot to ask: What is the enemy’s goal? If he had asked himself that question, he would have known that the overarching purpose of the flotilla and the flytilla was to drawn attention to the harsh and ugly reality that Israel maintains absolute military control over the lives of Palestinians living under occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.

Did he not know, could he not have realized, what a burden it is for the New York Times to cover up the harsh and ugly reality of occupation when Israel so dramatically shuts its doors to anyone it brands as “pro-Palestinian”?

Israeli police detain pro-Palestine activists in Ben Gurion Airport to prevent activists from entering Palestine

In its report on the airport blockade, The Times was forced to use a headline that said the visitors were blocked from attending a “conference” in Bethlehem. That did not come out very well for Netanyahu. The Israeli line was that the visitors were blocked because they were a threat to Israeli security. Both the Times and Israel know that “conferences” are held in Bethlehem all the time without all this fuss.

How is this flytilla different? Could it be because this “conference” was clearly intended to draw world attention to Israel’s treatment not only of Palestinians, but also to its behavior toward friends of Palestinians?

The Times inserts a brief observation that Palestine has no airport of its own. And why, pray tell, an astute reader will want to know, is there no airport in Palestine? The Times does not say. It also fails to mention that Israel will not permit Palestinians to build their own airport. Nothing gets built in occupied Palestine without Israeli approval.

In her Friday story, the Time’s Isabel Kershner reported that Israel was aware that the air travelers had been invited by Palestinian activists to come to Bethlehem for a week of “fellowship and actions”.

Most of the foreigners who planned to fly to Tel Aviv and join the “Welcome to Palestine” initiative were either deterred from trying to come or were prevented from boarding flights to Israel by foreign airlines, on instructions from the Israelis.

The Palestinian hosts decried the Israeli measures, but also chalked up a small victory.

Fadi Kattan, a Palestinian organizer, said at a news conference in Bethlehem that he was “pleased — sadly pleased” that the episode had exposed what he described as Israel’s draconian anti-Palestinian policies.

Netanyahu’s initial response to this planned event proved once again that a man in a panic does not think clearly. Instead of letting the party go forward, Israeli authorities put together a “no fly” list of “peace and justice” passengers believed to be “threats” to Israel’s security.

Outside groups are frequently invited to Palestine to travel to Bethlehem and other parts of both Israel and  Palestine to talk, pray and plan. Religious types often get through passport control clutching a Bible or a guidebook to the “holy sites”. It also helps if you know the name of an Israeli rabbi, just in case you get into a second round of questioning. But this time was different. Both sides knew the game was on.

Ha’aretz reported:

Over the past few days, hundreds of police officers were deployed in and around the airport near Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the base of operations at Ben-Gurion with his internal security minister, the police chief, security branch representatives and immigration officials.

Netanyahu demanded that European airport authorities do to air passengers what the Greek Coast Guard did to the flotilla, halt them at the alpha point. Knowing some passengers would make it to Tel Aviv, Netanyahu took personal command of his second line of defense, Ben Gurion airport.

Ben Gurion authorities had to sift through the long line of American and British Bible tour groups, Christian pilgrims, business travelers, and the European Holy Land travelers, to find those dangerous passengers who made it through the security net.

Al Jazeera reported that “of the 600 Tel Aviv-bound pro-Palestine activists who wanted to fly Friday, the majority were prevented from boarding their flights”.

The Palestinians and their international allies had set Netanyahu up.  He fell for it hard in his response to the Freedom to Enter flytilla campaign which originated in Bethlehem under local Palestinian leaders like Mazin Qumsiyeh.

Netanyahu’s over reaction to the international flotilla left him looking like the town bully who gets his way with other nations by using his Daddy’s money.  In the case of both the flytilla and the flotilla, Netanyahu is the big loser.

Kathy Kelly is shown in action in the picture above, holding her weapon, a microphone. She was one of those passengers who made it to Tel Aviv. She was already well-known to Israeli officials, just as she is well known to her many friends and admirers elsewhere, including those of us in her home town of Chicago, Illinois, where the author of this blog, in the interest of full disclosure, must confess to having known, and admired her, for more than two decades.

Kelly was among the passengers on the Audacity of Hope, the US ship which was sailing to Gaza, when it was intercepted by the Greek Coast Guard. Undaunted, she wrote in The Palestine Chronicle that she would fly to Tel Aviv. She explained her reactions as she prepared to leave Athens:

I leave Greece tonight with sincere regret that I didn’t spend more time learning from these sturdy activists.

I, and another US Boat to Gaza campaign member, Missy Lane, will head to Tel Aviv, where we plan to be part of a “flytilla,” a new campaign which will bring hundreds of activists together in Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, all of us intent on reaching Palestinian refugee camps and/or visiting Gazan families.

Earlier this evening, a group of U.S. activists who’ve been able to remain longer, here in Athens, demonstrated at each of the heavily guarded streets leading to the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Greece. The Ambassador is hosting a huge festival tonight, in celebration of the U.S. July 4 holiday that commemorates independence.

Several Greek people passing us read our signs seeking freedom for Gaza and asked us to understand that as recently as one year ago, the government of Greece showed no sign of submitting to Israeli or U.S. pressure and allowed international flotilla boats to sail. But, now. they are dependent on the whims of financial elites around the world. The IMF is prescribing draconian measures which will wreck their economy and make them subservient to the dictates of foreign multinationals.

Kelly and Missy Lane landed at Ben Gurion, but they were detained by airport authorities. No word yet on what will happen next to the two of them, though a swift return back home is likely.

Kelly, by the way, would be the first to insist that we acknowledge here that she is but one of more than 600 travelers who participated in both the flotilla and flytilla projects. There are many more Kathy Kelly stories among those peace and justice travelers to Palestine. And their number is growing. No wonder Netanyahu is in such a panic.

Here are the beginning words from the citation presented to Kelly from the Justice Studies Association when Kelly was awarded the 2011 Noam Chomsky honor for her work on peace and justice issues:

Kathy Kelly is a long-time pacifist and co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. A tireless activist whose efforts toward peace transcend borders, regions and time zones, writer Studs Terkel wrote of her: “She has visited more countries, cities and small towns not listed in Baedeker’s [travel guide] than anyone I have ever known.”

Born, raised and educated in Chicago – as a student at St. Paul-Kennedy High School, Kelly watched the film Night and Fog which exposed her to the horrors of the Holocaust. She also was exposed to the writings of Daniel Berrigan and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. All of this convinced her to make a commitment never to sit by and watch evil happen.

Now 58, Kelly has spent her life living up to her commitment. Over the last 30 years, she has helped the victims of war wherever they were – whether in Bosnia, Haiti, the West Bank, Iraq or Afghanistan. A war tax resister since 1982, Kelly has perhaps most notably used her resources (financial and spiritual) to provide medicine and other supplies to those trapped by the politics of militarism. Kelly co-founded Voices in the Wilderness, a peace group that highlighted the suffering of Iraqi civilians during the U.N. imposed economic sanctions of the 1990s. (To read the complete citation, click here.)

No American television coverage has yet to emerge from the flytilla. But there is clip available from the English language channel of RT (Russia Television), which provides an interview with Pippa Bartolotti, a British passenger who made it successfully through Ben Gurion passport control.

FLYTILLA ACTIVISTS ARRESTED

See original article at: Wall Writings


James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois.  From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine.  He has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region.  Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. He can be reached at:  jameswall8@gmail.com

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12 Responses to "Netanyahu Panics — American and European activists Flytilla"

  1. Snoopy  July 11, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Just assemble a Pastor John Hagee costume out of a XXXL suit, pillows, and pasty latex mask and you’ll get right through. Opps, I forgot, he doesn’t fly commercial.

  2. Smitty  July 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    The failure of American MSM to cover either the flotilla or ‘flytilla’ is really depressing when even traditionally Zionist-friendly international media gave a lot of attention to both. The impact of our MSM is dwindling but it isn’t going away fast enough. Most Americans have no idea what Zionism is (it is Jewish Fascism) or that Israel is NOT a real ally for us. It is very important to expose the Israeli Zionist and American Neocon involvement with 9/11. We have the names of many of these criminals responsible walking freely among us getting away with the murder of over 3,000 Americans without a stain on their souls because they have none (the Neocons all show the obvious signs of psychopathy as does Israel’s leadership)

    When Americans learn that it wasn’t 19 mostly Saudi Arabian hijackers who caused this event (which is quickly coming up to the 10 year mark so now is the best time to re-visit it) but Israeli Zionists and a Zionist/Neocon shadow government within our own country, well they definitely won’t support Israel any longer. Anybody defending Israel after this finally gets out might want to leave the country.

    Even if a ‘flytilla’ was organized to fly to Jordan and enter the WB from there, the Israeli response would still be the same, except there would be no excuse not to let them in.

    It saddens me that so many Americans have no idea and even if they do, they think positively about Israel. Israel is a country run by pschopathic and insane criminals! I just read in Haaretz today that Israel is challenging Lebanon’s USA-approved maritime borders after Lebanon petitioned concerned to the UN because of Israel’s claim to a natural gas field (which similarly is likely the REAL reason behind the Gaza maritime blockade because they have a natural gas field in their waters too).

    Israel’s response? Iran and Hezbollah are using this as an excuse for conflict with Israel. Yeah, they are crazy

    • equalizer  July 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      Zionism……..actually, MARXISM AND RACISM.

      READ: “The Life of an American Jew in Racist, Marxist Israel” by Jack Bernstein who was murdered by the mossad when he was 52.

    • equalizer  July 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      “without a stain on their souls…”???????????????????

      Their souls are RED, DRENCHED WITH THE BLOOD OF THEIR VICTIMS.

    • kelli  July 10, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      Because they have no souls. That’s what was said.

  3. beausoleil  July 10, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Ironic that Ms. Kelly was inspired to stand up to the Zionist State by watching their lying, filthy holocaust propaganda films.

  4. adeUK  July 10, 2011 at 6:40 am

    http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=20906&cid=22&fromval=1&frid=22&seccatid=46&s1=1

    Zionists Chair Syrian Opposition Meeting in France
    Local Editor

    Key Zionist philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy; former French Minister of Foreign Affairs, and major advocate of the war against Iraq Bernard Kouchner; member of the youth movement in the Israeli right wing Likud party Frederick Ansel; and former Knesset member and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s advisor Alex Goldfarb who was not questioned by anyone for claiming to be a Syrian opposition member and spokesman of “Democratic change in Syria” assembly; were basic participants in the Syrian opposition conference in Saint-Germain in France.

    This “Zionist” atmosphere did not bother the attendees, which Muslim brotherhood representative in Paris, Moulhem Droubi, was among. One young Syrian girl “Souraya” interposed saying: “In this hall there is not one Syrian. In this hall, I only see Zionists.” However, she was immediately interrupted and dragged out by the French security under the eyes of the police.

    According to the Lebanese daily As-Safir reporter in France Mohammad Ballout, Frederick Ansel responded to the young girl saying: “Unfortunately, some Arabs still regard Zionism as an insult, although it is a source of pride and honor.”

    The Syrian opposition conference on Monday included speeches that called for toppling down the regime, and attacked Iran and Hezbollah, while completely ignoring occupied Palestine and the occupied Golan Heights.

    • equalizer  July 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      “Zionism….source of pride and honor.”???????????????????????????????????????????????????

      Pride and honor belong to the crew of the U.S.S. Liberty.

      ZIONISTS, YOUR DAY OF RECKONING QUICKLY APPROACHES!

  5. Starry  July 10, 2011 at 4:35 am

    Good Grief I wish I was there!

  6. Derek  July 10, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Israel=Zionist Cult occupied areas of Palestine. 1 state solution is the only outcome.

    These activists are true samaritans. God bless them.

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