Dear journalists and editors,
Yes, we know that 4 Foreign Secretaries expected to attend a diplomatic conference in Ramallah last week were barred by Israel from entering the West Bank (through Jordan).
We know Israel prevents a great many Palestinians from returning to their country if only to visit their families. We know many Palestinians are prevented from travelling abroad. Just like the chairman of Addameer, Abdullatif Gaith, a 71 years old resident of East Jerusalem, who was ordered last week by Israeli “intelligence” to stay at home until 31 January 2013! (We suppose you have been asking why and if you got an answer, we would be happy to learn more from you.)
We know Israel prevents lots of people from visiting their Palestinian friends. We know our “Welcome to Palestine” participants in non-violent initiatives aiming at showing our solidarity to Palestinian families, have been prevented twice from reaching the West Bank, through the use of “black lists” including 342 names in July 2011 and 1200 names of women, men and children last April. (Not even Stalin and McCarthy ever did that!).
You know that we are not criminals, and that all the participants in these initiatives, who could reach Tel Aviv airport on these two occasions, peacefully lined up, showed their passports, and told the truth about their destination and motivation.
You know we were not coming to “highjack planes” or “set fire to ourselves” as was claimed by the Israeli government. You know it was ridiculous to send some 600 Israeli policemen and soldiers to Ben Gurion airport to block us. You know that the OPT do not belong to Israel and that freedom of circulation in those territories is a Right.
Can you imagine Israelis banned from European countries because they criticize European policies? Can you imagine another country violating human rights and international law in this way? Would you call it a democracy? Do you think Israel needs us to ‘delegitimise’ itself? Don’t you think asking us why we don’t visit Syria instead of Palestine is a very poor argument ? Of course, our European and American leaders are also responsible for these violations because they let Israel behave in such an unlawful way (even with their diplomats!).
However, because we are against ghettos and because we would be ashamed to imitate these political “leaders”, we’ll keep trying to visit Palestinian families and their associations. Even prisoners should have a right to have visitors, shouldn’t they?
This is why the next “Welcome to Palestine” mission, invited by the Governor of Bethlehem (see the letter of invitation below) will take place at the end of this month, from 24 to 31 August.
We are one hundred participants coming from several European countries and from the United States, with school stationery to give to Palestinian children who will be resuming school.
As was recommended by Israeli representatives (watch this 2 minutes video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sCIp1Ss6_k&feature=player_embedded#! ) we’ll be arriving in Jordan, visiting the country for a couple of days, with onward travel to the Allenby Bridge, crossing into the West Bank on August 26.
We should be pleased to supply you with more information.
All the bes,
Welcome to Palestine Mission