French group to send aid delegation to Palestine

Excitement charged the atmosphere at this recruitment rally in Paris held by the group Welcome Palestine, whose aid delegation will arrive shortly after Turkey’s next flotilla, which is set for mid-June.

Many of the attendees already have airplane tickets for July 8th, when between 500 to 1,000 activists will converge at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, forcing a showdown with Israeli authorities.

Such an attention-grabbing group may not be permitted to even leave the airport, but participants say they are tired of hiding their activism and are demanding the right to circulate freely.

According to Israel, travel restrictions on solidarity missions are necessary for security reasons. Humanitarian convoys are not without their dangers, as last year’s Turkish aid flotilla was attacked by Israel, leading to 9 deaths and dozens more wounded.

Around 100 members of Welcome Palestine visited Jerusalem and the West Bank last Christmas, engaging in passive resistance, touring the towns and forging links with local communities.

The Palestinian crisis has often been overshadowed in the news recently by the Arab Uprising. But people here say that that has given a new momentum towards finding a solution in Palestine, making their activism more important than ever.

( / 12.05.2011)

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