Saturday, April 14, 2012

Israel to 'thank' flytilla activists in mocking letter

As pro-Palestinian activists set to attempt to touch down at Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel plans to present them with letter questioning choice to hold humanitarian protest against Israel rather than Syria, Iran or Hamas.
(JPost) Radical pro-Palestinian activists arriving Sunday at Ben-Gurion Airport as part of the "fly-in" will be greeted with a sarcastic letter noting that while they could have chosen to protest the brutality in Syria, Iran and Gaza, they opted instead to protest against the "Middle East's sole democracy."

"Dear activist," reads the letter that will be translated in a number of different languages. "We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns. We know there were many other worthy choices."

For instance, the letter – drawn up in the Prime Minister's Office -- noted, they "could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime's daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives".

Or, they could have chosen to protest "the Iranian regime's brutal crackdown on dissent and support of terrorism throughout the world."

Or, if they just had to come to this part of the globe, they "could have chosen to protest Hamas rule in Gaza, where terror organizations commit a double war crime by firing rockets at civilians and hiding behind civilians."

But instead, the letter read, "you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East's sole democracy, where women are equal, the press criticizes the government, human rights organizations can operate freely, religious freedom is protected for all and minorities do not live in fear."

The letter concludes with a suggestion that the "activists" first solve "the real problems of the region," and then "come back and share with us your experience."

The letter, in an indication that Israel will not let the protestors into the country but will rather deport them back to their countries of origin, ends with the line, "Have a nice flight."

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry officials said Saturday night that responsibility for dealing with the protestors is in the hands of the Public Security Ministry, who will be contact with the consulates of the countries whose nationals will not be allowed into the country.

The Foreign Ministry has over the last few weeks been in discussion with capitals around the world explaining Israel's position regarding the fly-in, and making clear that those coming to engage in provocative actions would not be given an entry visa.

Israeli authorities circulated to the airlines the names of some 1,200 radical activists expected to participate in the fly-in in the hope that they would be kept from boarding the airplanes.

One official explained that if someone flies into a country without the necessary visa, or is not given that visa when he lands, then the responsibility – and expense -- for flying that person back home falls on the airline.