Gaza flotilla activists stopped at European airports

By Jennifer Lipman, July 8, 2011

Israel has asked European airlines to prevent a number of pro-Palestinian activists from boarding planes bound for Ben Gurion airport as part of the "flytilla" to Gaza.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said around 200 people were stopped from taking flights to Israel from European airports, because Israel told the airlines the passengers would not be allowed to enter Israel.

Mr Rosenfeld said earlier this week that security at airports had been increased in anticipation of the arrival of hundreds of anti-Israel activists. Two people from the United States were deported on Thursday.

The "flytilla" organisers said around 600 people would land in Israel on Friday, while many have already been allowed in.

Mr Rosenfeld said Israel had no intention of stopping people for no reason. He said: "If there is no disturbance and no provocation, we have no reason in the world to stop them."

The activists decided to organise a large-scale air campaign after they were banned from sailing on a flotilla to Gaza out of Greek ports.

Last updated: 10:05am, July 8 2011