[This campaign that we have been working very hard on for months is just
beginning.  The week of activities will go on with all your help. We will
plan bigger and more dramatic events in the months to come.  The collusion
of the governments and corporations in Israeli oxccupation and colonization
must be further exposed.]

‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign responds to Israel’s denial of entrance to
international visitors who support human rights

Bethlehem and Jerusalem, July 7, 2011 – The Israeli authorities are
escalating attacks on anyone they suspect of participating in the peaceful
events of the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign. Israeli authorities sent
hundreds of names to airline companies telling them to deny travel to
individuals on the list. Several people on the list who had booked flights
were sent letters from airline companies cancelling their reservations
‘based on a request from the Israeli authorities.’ We call on all airline
companies not to accept such provocative, blackmailing, and illegal actions
by the Israeli government. Ominously, Israeli Prime minister has directed
the interior security minister that the Israeli authorities must ‘act with
determination’ towards those who do make it to Ben Gurion Airport.

The visitors coming from the US and Europe on Friday are committed to the
principles of international and humanitarian law and believe strictly in
nonviolence. They were invited by dozens of Palestinian civil society
organizations and groups.  They have stated that the only way to visit and
work with Palestinians is by passing through Israeli border controls. They
have declared their commitment to pass these border controls in an orderly,
peaceful and fully transparent way.

Before stepping onto the airplanes, the visitors will have passed through
meticulous security procedures at the various airports of origin and will
pose no threat in any way. The propaganda efforts to paint human rights
advocates as ‘hooligans’ and even ‘violent’ (an attempt to demonize and
dehumanize them in order to justify violence against them) is simply not
credible and indeed ridiculous. We are pleased that this episode further
exposes Israeli policies towards anything or anyone relating to
‘Palestinians’ as dictatorial, racist, and criminal and not complying with
basic elements of democracy or human rights.

Visitors traveling between countries have rights under international law and
bilateral travel agreements. Our foreign visitors insist that they must be
treated with respect in the same manner Israeli citizens receive when
traveling to their countries.  Those who had reservations cancelled will
exercise their right of protest including bringing legal cases in their own
countries. We will also bring legal cases in Israeli courts under our
continued attempt to expose the racist policies of the Israeli government.

Several peaceful protests will be held at airports throughout Europe on the
8th of July and we urge all civilized people throughout the world to protest
these undemocratic moves to silence free speech and legal travel. We ask the
media to insist on access and fair reporting on Israeli tactics that are
against basic human rights of international solidarity activists before,
during and after they arrive at the Israeli airport. We demand Israel
publishes all instructions given to their ‘border control officials’
regarding visitors who intend to visit Palestinians.

The “Welcome to Palestine” campaign has been successful in exposing Israeli
attempts to isolate and imprison Palestinians and prevent international
visitors from coming to find out what is really happening on the ground.

Friday 8 July 2011 at 10 AM in Bethlehem Peace Center, located in Nativity
Square, we will have a Press Conference to announce further steps we will
take and to answer any questions.

Twitter: #PalSpring
Facebook: Welcome to Palestine

Contact information:
Bethlehem: Fadi Kattan, press.welcometopalestine2@gmail.com   +970 (0) 595
754 100 <file:///\\tel\%252B970%20%25280%2529%20595%20754%20100>  or Skype

Jerusalem: Nikki or Laura, sergioyahni@gmail.com , +972 2 624 1159 or +972 2
624 1424

Berlin: Sophia Deeg, sophia_deeg@yahoo.de, +49(0) 30 88 007761
<file:///\\tel\%252B49%25280%2529%2030%2088%20007761> , +49 (0) 1799878414
<file:///\\tel\%252B49%20%25280%2529%201799878414> .  13:00  Press briefing;
beginning 13:30 news center, including (if possible) direct contact with the
travelers as they land at Ben Gurion airport.  Filmbühne am Steinplatz,
Hardenbergstr. 12, Berlin Charlottenburg.

Paris:  Nicolas Shahshahani, bienvenuepalestine@orange.fr +33 (0)1 42 94 39
94 <file:///\\tel\%252B33%20%25280%25291%2042%2094%2039%2094>  and +33 (0) 6
73 38 24 84 <file:///\\tel\%252B33%20%25280%2529%206%2073%2038%2024%2084> .
The press office will answer questions from the media around the clock.

UK: Sofiah Macleod, july8@scottishpsc.org.uk, +44 (0)131 620 0052
<file:///\\tel\%252B44%20%25280%2529131%20620%200052>  or + 44 (0)
7401631658 <file:///\\tel\%252B%2044%20%25280%2529%207401631658> , Skype:

USA/Germany: Elsa Rassbach, elsarassbach@gmail.com, +49 (0) 30 326 01540
<file:///\\tel\%252B49%20%25280%2529%2030%20326%2001540> , +49 (0) 170 738
1450 <file:///\\tel\%252B49%20%25280%2529%20170%20738%201450> , Skype:


AlJazeera English Story:

Challenging Israeli Apartheid Staring at Ben Gurion airport


Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ph.D.
<http://qumsiyeh.org> http://qumsiyeh.org