Published July 9, 2011
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority’s envoy to the European Union Lela Shahid slammed European airlines on Friday for preventing European citizens from traveling to Tel Aviv to join solidarity protests with the Palestinian people.
“Is Europe blockaded just like Palestine? On what basis are European solidarity activists blacklisted at airports in European countries to prevent them from flying to Al-Lud [Ben Gurion] airport?” Shahid said in a statement Friday.
European solidarity activists were responding to calls by Palestinian civil society organizations to commemorate the seventh anniversary of an International Court of Justice decision which ruled that Israel’s separation wall was illegal, the Palestinian envoy said.
“Authorities in several EU states and European airway companies complied with the Israeli government decision to blacklist a number of European citizens so they can’t travel to Israel.
“Nobody knows the basis for such blacklists, nor does anyone know what crime those people have committed other than trying to express solidarity.”
Shahid added that solidarity activists would have preferred to go straight to Gaza airport instead of going to Tel Aviv first “if Israel had not destroyed Gaza airport in 2002.”
A list of 342 blacklisted passengers was distributed to foreign airlines by the Israeli Ministry of Transportation in order to prevent them boarding flights to Tel Aviv.
Sixty nine passengers were refused entry to Israel and are awaiting deportation.