More than 1,200 women, men and children bought a plane ticket to go to
Bethlehem this weekend to show their solidarity to the Palestinian
people threatened with destruction, with the complicity of our leaders.
We thank all those here and those elsewhere who responded to the call
for help by some 25 associations of Palestinian civil society as part
of the initiative “Welcome to Palestine”, from 15 to 21 April 2012.
Thank you for agreeing to show to the world, despite all forms of
intimidation, that Palestine is not a dirty word, nor a prohibited
Palestine, all Palestine, is under occupation. All Palestinians are
prisoners, and in addition they would be deprived of the right of
visitation? By what right?
A big thank you to the airline unions (CGT and Sud) who have sent
statment of support Welcome to Palestine. Just as MRAP who voted,
during its national convention, a motion of support for this
Thank you to the many personalities, presidential candidates, elected
officials, who have also sent their congratulations and encouragement.
Thank you to the Mayor of Bethlehem for his invitation letter telling
us all the happiness he has to greet us.
Thank you to the Governor of Bethlehem for his warm support.
And many thanks to the families and Palestinian organizations that
prepare our welcome in the best conditions.
The Israeli government wants to portray us as terrorists whose aim is
to “create incidents” at the airport in Tel Aviv, and the government
announced it will block all passengers because they “would create
disturbances to public order “. But our goal is not to demonstrate at
the airport “Ben Gurion” but to visit the West Bank, where we are
expected to launch the construction of an international school, a
museum about the history of Palestinian refugees, repairing wells
damaged by settlers, and land reclamation.
If Israel had not destroyed or confiscated the airports which allow us
to land in Palestinian territories, we could skip transit through Tel
Aviv. But there is no other way to get there, and Israel
systematically denies travelers who would want to visit the West Bank.
All those suspected of sympathizing with the Palestinians are even
forced to sign an undertaking not to enter the West Bank “at the risk
of two years in prison in Israel”, in addition to interrogations and
humiliating and endless searches.
This is intolerable. Our leaders let them. Not us. And if they want
once again to prostate themselves to the dictates of the right-wing
government of Israel, they will show their contempt for international
law and human rights. They show that they have chosen the side of
illegal occupation. They show that there is a blockade not only on the
Gaza Strip but also the rest of Palestine.
Why is it that we cannot go in the West Bank? Officials of the Quai
d’Orsay were unable or unwilling to tell us. At the request to the
Department on 27 March, the coordinators of the French group for the
mission Welcome to Palestine were told that the French government did
not envisage any sanctions against Israel, including when French
diplomats are abused or injured in Palestine!
“Sanctions are not effective. We have also received Syrian dissidents
who believe that sanctions against Syria are unnecessary and that a
military intervention is needed,” said verbatim a senior official of
the Ministry, M . Alexis Le Cour Grandmaison. To which we replied: “We
do not ask bombing on Israel, even though his government is more
harmful than those countries that you allow yourself to bomb”.
Politicians hope to conduct election campaigns by concealing the
occupation, the colonization and the increased dispossession of
Palestine. Women and men of conscience, by engaging in this mission of
international solidarity with the Palestinian people, forced
politicians to talk about Palestine.
Thank you to Nathalie Artaud. Thank you to Eva Joly. Thank you to …
Jean-Pierre Elkabbach! We urge you all to support the volunteers of
the mission “Welcome to Palestine”, especially if obstacles are placed
to their departure, now imminent, in French and European airports, or
if the Israeli government prevented them from going to Bethlehem.
The French delegation of “Welcome to Palestine” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
#Airflotilla2 | Mission “Welcome to Palestine”: The detailed program