American and European activists to try again with Palestinian visit
US and European activists insisted Tuesday on making a new attempt to go to Palestinian territories, two days after Israel and Jordan barred them from entering the West Bank to deliver aid to students.
“We are thinking of going in December to the Palestinian areas to break the siege on them,” Olivia Zemor, spokeswoman for the “Welcome to Palestine” group, told a news conference in Amman.
“We still do not know for sure if we want to go to Gaza this time or another place. It depends on whether the (Egyptian-controlled) Rafah crossing will be open or not.”
Israeli and Jordanian authorities on Sunday prevented the group of 100 activists from going to the West Bank through Allenby Bridge border crossing for delivering a tonne of school stationary to Palestinian students.
Their first bus was allowed by the Jordanian authorities but the Israelis turned them back. The second bus was prevented from crossing by the Jordanians at the request of the Israeli authorities.
“I think it is unfortunate that one of the two buses was prevented by Jordan at the request of Israel,” Zemor said.
“We do not understand, and I think the Jordanian government should consider that Israel is not a respectable state because it does not respect international laws.”
Jordan and Israeli signed a peace treaty in 1994.
“I think the Palestinians are being imprisoned, tortured and killed because there is cooperation between Israel and our countries,” said Zemor, who heads CAPJPO-Europalestine, a French NGO seeking to help end the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
“If you in Jordan accept and approve such cooperation, then our mission will be extremely difficult.”
Zemor said the campaigners from France, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and the United States will deliver their supplies on Wednesday to Palestinian children in the Jerash refugee camp, north of the capital Amman.
They plan on Thursday to hold separate demonstrations outside the French and Israeli embassies.
“We want to tell the Israelis they are occupiers and terrorists who keep terrorising Palestinians and anybody who wants to support them,” Zemor said.
“At the same time, we want to show the French government how shocked we are that it did not protest or make any statement against what the Israelis did.”
The campaigners say their mission comes after an invitation by Bethlehem governor Abdel-Fatah Hamayel.
They tried to go to Israel in July 2011 and April 2012, but the authorities at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport denied them entry.