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April 15 - mass fly-in of international activists to again challenge Israeli authorities
Email from info@palestinejn.org, sebisr@hotmail.com
BienvenuePalestine
March 26, 2012
http://www.BienvenuePalestine.com


***Frequently Asked Questions: Welcome to Palestine April 15th-21st, 2012***

- Who is traveling to Palestine the week of April 15th, 2012?

Fifteen hundred to twenty-five hundred human rights activists between the ages
of 9 and 90 years old from over 15 countries.

- Who invited them?

Palestinian civil society organizations, peace and human rights defenders, as
well as activists on the ground made the call. They include the following (list
in formation):


* Al-Awda Center, Beit Sahour

* Al-Rowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Centre, www.alrowwad-acts.ps

* The Alternative Information Center - AIC - www.alternativenews.org

* BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and
Refugee Rights:www.badil.org/

* Bilin Popular Resistance Committee www.bilin-village.org

* Friends of Freedom and Justice, Bilin www.bilin-ffj.org

* Handala Center - www.handalla-center.org

* Holy Land Trust: www.holylandtrust.org

* International Solidarity Movement: www.palsolidarity.org

* Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative

* Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People www.PCR.PS

* Palestine Justice Network www.palestinejn.org

* Palestine Solidary Campaigns in many countries

* Palestine Solidarity Project WWW.palestinesolidarityproject.org

* Popular Committees in different villages and towns

*Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies, www.sirajcenter.org

*Youth Against Settlements (Hebron)

- What happened in previous Welcome to Palestine Campaign events?

We had two previous campaign events: Christmas 2010, and July 2011. In 2010,
one hundred activists traveled to Palestine in the spirit of Christmas to join
local Palestinians for a week of activities. Together we worked towards peace
and justice as we believe Jesus would want us to do. We spent time with
refugees in camps, met with villagers facing home demolitions, land
confiscation and construction of the Apartheid Wall on their land. We prayed,
sang, and shared meals with the marginalized, with children, women, and the
elderly.

On July 9th, 2011, we made second call for internationals to join us on the
anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling which declared that
the Apartheid Wall and colonial settlements are illegal. The goal of the
campaign in July was to have activists enter Palestine without having to
represent their intentions. Several airlines canceled reservations for hundreds
of Europeans based on lists they received from the Israeli authorities. The
Israeli military also turned the Airport into a military compound. Israel sent
a `black list` of 342 participants from the ages of 9 to 83 years old to
prevent them from boarding planes thus sparking huge protests in several
international airports. One hundred twenty-seven women and men were arrested at
Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and imprisoned for several days as they insisted
on their right to visit Palestinian associations and families.

The event exposed Israels behavior to the world. The events demonstrated the
following:

* Though the Israeli police and military kept filming the activists during
their arrest and provoked them on several occasion (for example, beating a
young woman in front of the other volunteers), they were not able to produce
one image of violence on the side of the Welcome to Palestine campaign
participants.

* Not only is there a siege on Gaza, but also a blockade on the other side of
Palestine. Israel has too many atrocities to hide there and they do not want
any solidarity with the Palestinians.

* The Israeli government and its supporters want to demoralize Palestinians and
expel them, not let internationals show them that they are not isolated and
that women and men of conscience are aware of their suffering and the way it
endangers the values of justice, international law and human rights in the
whole world. But we persist and grow.

* Other good results happened despite Israeli government brutality. For
example as a result of legal challenges, many European airlines not only fully
refunded the tickets but had to agree not to repeat such a mass denial of
boarding. Another example is that the publicity shed light on the attempts by
Israel to deny visits by Internationals for humanitarian support to millions of
Palestinians living under occupation. And many Internationals activists did
join us activities were carried out throughout the occupied areas throughout
the week (July 9-15) that included solidarity and peace building. We learned
and adapted and grow from dozens in the first campaign to hundreds in the
second campaign and now we expect over 1500 to arrive for this campaign.

- What do you believe? What do you hope to accomplish?

We believe in the power of collective action to transform situations of
injustice to situations of justice and hence peace. Internationals have joined
Palestinians in our struggle for freedom and for peace over the past few
decades. Such joint action has shown its efficacy to bring hope and to
transform reality in eh previous actions as noted above.

Palestinians throughout historic Palestine and in exile believe in and work for
peace based upon justice and trust that with the help of the international
community we will achieve our peace and freedom and restore the values and
principles that we share as human beings. We believe in popular resistance as a
method to achieve implementation of International Law and Human Rights. We
believe that every single one of us is a change maker, and nobody has the right
to deny us the access to suffering populations.

Palestinians suffer not only from the brutality of the occupation and
colonization, from the annexation of their lands, from the eviction of whole
families and house demolitions, but also from isolation, being deprived of
their freedom of movement and from open and honest visits by the International
community.

Humans from around the world will show solidarity with Palestinian popular
resistance by observing and obeying international law inactions of land
reclamation, education and peace building in a joyous and fraternal atmosphere.

- Will Israeli authorities allow us to enter?

Israel, the occupying authority is obligated by international treaties not to
prevent Internationals entry at its border points. Israeli authorities do
attempt to deny entry illegally under International laws and there are numerous
cases of denial of entry. Reciprocity between countries demands that no
national of countries with diplomatic relations with Israel should be denied
entry simply because that national wishes to visit Palestinians. Entering
Palestine through Ben Gurion airport by hundreds of people over 48 hours will
send a message that we want Israel to recognize the basic human right of
entering to Palestine by those who want to visit us. See the Right to Enter
Campaign at http://www.righttoenter.ps/
border is certainly an individual choice done in context of the ground effort
to affect a change in Israeli illegitimate behavior. Many groups did decide to
challenge the undemocratic and arbitrary policy of denial of entry.

Israel destroyed the only Palestinian airport, built with money from Europe. As
a result, we have no other option but to go through Israeli security, even
though we want to visit our Palestinian friends. We are pacifists and we will
have nothing dangerous in our bags. We call on our elected representatives and
our governments, to ensure that we shall be normally and properly treated on
our arrival in Ben Gurion airport, as are Israeli citizens when they come to
our countries.

We denounce the blockade on Gaza, but Israel imposes a second blockade, equally
intolerable if not more deceitful, upon the Palestinian territories of the West
Bank, refusing people entry without reason, humiliating travelers in a racist
manner, often for hours, because of their Arabic-sounding names or their plans
to visit such places as Bethlehem, and asking them questions that have nothing
to do with security, like the names of their grandparents, their religion, or
their knowledge of the Arab language.

- What can be done before by those outside the country?

Let all your friends and contacts know about this program and spread the word.
Also, you could also write to the media. If you are coming, you should write a
letter to your Foreign Ministry/State Department and/or other officials (higher
and lower) to inform them and demand that they pressure Israel into allowing
you and others to come. But those not coming could also write letters. Below is
a draft of letter:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear ------,

I will be traveling to Israel/Palestine on April 15 with hundreds of
Internationals from over 15 countries to participate in Peace building efforts
with Palestinians in places like Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and the Jordan Valley.
Israel had in the past spent hours interrogating internationals including
citizens of our country and many times have denied them entry solely because
they wish to work or visit with Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Diplomatic protocols demand reciprocity and respect of our country`s passport.
Thus we ask you to contact Israeli authorities and demand that our delegation
be allowed through as Israeli citizens are allowed entry to our country. I ask
that you inform us of the response you receive from Israeli authorities.

Your name and address

----------------------------------------------------------------------
- What should local Groups and activists do before the event?

Local groups can either endorse or cosponsor the program or be listed as a
partner group. All groups and individuals locally should recruit volunteers (we
have a need for 100-200 volunteers). We have workshops for volunteers to train
them. Volunteers can help recruit local support, help with logistics, and help
with media work.

- What are guidelines/expectations from participants and volunteers?

Our call is unified for all Palestinians, not just the Palestinians in WBGS or
Jerusalem only, but inside the Green Line and elsewhere, especially refugees.
There is a unity in the Palestinian cause which cannot be broken.

The concern of the group is bigger than just the project and involves repeated
efforts to bring Palestinians and Internationals together to end apartheid and
ethnic cleansing.

The planning committees reflect the Palestinian diversity whether political,
social, or geographical variety. Each of us agrees to not try to impose or
influence the work in the direction of dominating it by one or more political,
social, or geographic entity. Dozens of organizations, popular committees, and
essentially all political factions support the action and we agree to work
together on this. Thus, our activities are to carry Palestinian flags and no
factional flags.

No media messages or other communication will be permitted to promote one
political, social, or geographic group. All media communication must be
coordinated with the media committee.

Mutual respect from all volunteers and activists are expected (both local and
international). We need also to respect cultural and religious norms and
respect committee decisions.

We adhere to non-violent approaches among ourselves and towards the Israeli
apartheid soldiers. We also adhere to all other rules and decisions by the
organizers for the functions planned in the different locations.

We understand that these functions are peaceful forms of resistance and other
peace-building efforts. But we also understand that there is always risk of
uncivilized response from Israeli soldiers and settlers.

- What is the Cost for attendees from abroad?

Internationals are responsible for cost of airline tickets (should coordinate
with local group coming as you may get even better discounts) plus cost of
food, lodging, transportation, and other logistics locally (roughly 30
Euros/day). All logistics will be taken care of at our end including pick-up at
the airport. Lodging will be at family homes or in hostels and NGOs and all
arranged by local committees.

For more information, visit http://www.BienvenuePalestine.com
palestinejn.org

Email us at info@palestinejn.org

Come join us, recruit others to join us, publicize widely, and reach out
through social media. You can also help organize delegation


A.K.
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