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Pro-Palestinian activists plan demonstrations at Israeli airport

Monday July 04, 2011 08:54:46 AM, Agencies

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Jerusalem: Pro-Palestinian groups say hundreds of activists from around the world intend to fly to Israel’s airport on Friday to protest the country’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and other policies.

By staging large demonstrations at the airport, Israeli media say the activists plan on disrupting flights. Media reported that already tight security at the airport will be beefed up. Police refused to comment on operational preparations.

The groups that called Sunday for the protest are based in Europe and the US. They include the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian group that often sends activists to the West Bank and Gaza.

The planned protests come amid stalled efforts by a flotilla of activists to reach Gaza by sea.

Meanwhile, Greece offered to ferry humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority on Sunday after banning a pro-Palestinian flotilla bound for Gaza from departing from its ports and arresting the captain of one of the boats.

The convoy of cargo and passenger boats carrying volunteers from countries including the United States, Canada, France and Spain was due to depart at least a week ago.

In a telephone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou offered to ferry the humanitarian aid, mainly food and medicines, to Gaza in cooperation with the United Nations.

“President Mahmoud Abbas considered the proposal positive and expressed his support,” said a statement by the prime minister’s office. There might be additional aid from Greece in addition to the supplies that would have gone on the flotilla.

Just over a year after nine activists were killed when Israeli marines stormed another pro-Palestinian flotilla, Greek authorities said on Friday that ships destined for Gaza were prohibited from leaving Greek ports — even though they would be sailing into international waters.

Greece offered no formal justification for the move.

In a separate statement released on Sunday, Greece’s Foreign Ministry said the Greek ban was imposed because of safety concerns and in line with a UN request and EU recommendations.










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