Tue 12th July 2011; NO EMBARGO
All but four of the 13
Around 700 internationals had intended to travel to
The four challenging their deportation are all Welsh: the deputy leader of the Welsh Green Party, Pippa Bartolotti, Joyce Giblin, Fiona Williams, and Dee Murphy.
Those due to be put on the Easyjet flight scheduled to arrive at London Luton tonight at 2355hrs include two Scots, retired Edinburgh statistician, Frank Thomas (66), and Dumfires and Galloway community worker, Joy Cherkaoui.
The English contingent should include 77 year-old retired nurse from West Chitington, Audrey Gray; Open University research fellow Les Levidow (61) of campaign group Jews Against Zionism; retired London academic Anne Gray (66); and Val Kitchen (68) from Tonbridge;
The oldest member of the group, John Lynes (83) from East Sussex, and
A further Scot, Ian Stewart-Hargreaves, is reported to have been released into
In a letter to Foreign Secretary William Hague, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP yesterday urged him to question his Israeli counterparts “about why peaceful activists have been treated in this way. Does
Back in Edinburgh today, Mick Napier, the UK co-ordinator of what was dubbed the “Welcome to Palestine” initiative said that their “protest was simply to refuse to conceal our intention to go to the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Our aim was to highlight that
Update: 6 UK nationals (those noted above) and two US citizens landed at London's luton Airport at 2350 tonight.
Note: an earlier version of this media release wrongly indicated that Dee Murphy was to be deported tonight.
Notes for editors:
Photos of handcuffed and shackled
Background, previous media releases, and updates here:
1. “Welcome to
The English-language section of the French website can be accessed here: http://bienvenuepalestine.com/?page_id=232
According to the group:
However, having nothing to hide, and coming with totally peaceful intentions, we have decided that we are no longer willing to lie in order to do something that no other state would consider illegal.
Government agencies have been informed, and the Israeli authorities have been forwarded all information on our intentions.
Contrary to claims that we aim “to spread chaos at Tel Aviv airport”, our only aim is visit Palestinian families, share their daily life for a week, visit the towns, villages and refugee camps, discover the difficulties encountered by their inhabitants, and experience their culture and expectations.
2. Organisers of the
The ICJ ruling on the illegality of
3a. The UK co-ordinator of the initiative is Mick Napier, who, along with the majority of international participants, was due to arrive in Ben Gurion Airport on Friday July 8th.
Mick Napier is the chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and can be contacted on:
00 44 (0)7931200361
3b. Sofiah Macleod is the UK-based contact for press enquiries.
Sofiah Macleod: + 44 (0)7958002591 or + 44 (0)131 620 0052 or + 44 (0) 7401631658
4. Details of the
6. Letter from Caroline Lucas MP to William Hague:
7. Jerusalem Post on honesty ensuring deportation:
“700 pro-Palestinian activists plan to land in Ben-Gurion”
8. Quote from New York Times reference criticism of Israeli leaders’ overreaction:
New York Times, 8th July 2011
9. Details of Jerusalem Post reporter, Larry Derfner’s arrest:
10. Jerusalem Post report of arrest of Israeli Activists:
“Aharonovitch: 100 activists expected to land in
11. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netenyahu “has ordered Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to exert all efforts to prevent an infiltration into
Haaretz, Wednesday 6th July 2011:
12. Statement from Netenyahu’s office:
"This planned event is a continuation of the attempts to undermine Israel's right to exist and to attempt to breach its borders and sovereignty by sea, land and by air," according to the MAAN news agency.
Maan News Agency, Tuesday 5th July 2011:
13. For Desmond Tutu’s support of an arms embargo on
14. Haaretz, Thursday 7th July 2011: