According to various news reports, two ‘air flotilla’ activists who arrived in Israel last Friday have been allowed to remain in Israel (and travel to the West Bank freely) on the condition that they ‘refrain from disrupting the peace.’ The activists were part of the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign which sent hundreds of European tourists to Israel last week with the intention to freely and openly visit the West Bank.
The two activists, former Australian Green MP Sylvia Hale and New Zealand national Vivienne Porzsolt, were brought before an Israeli district court this morning. There are conflicting reports as to where these woman were detained. Ynet is reporting that they were detained after after reportedly yelling “free Gaza” during passport inspection at Ben Gurion International airport. Organizers of the “Welcome to Palestine” movement claim that the two woman were detained trying to enter Bethlehem after successfully entering Israel on Friday.
Regardless of where they were detained, the ruling that they are allowed to remain in Israel after openly stating their intention to travel to the West Bank sets a new legal precedent for traveling to the occupied Palestinian territories. There are still over 40 ‘air flotilla’ passengers in Israeli detention waiting deportation and/or hearings on their status in Israel.