Mass Detentions as Israel Declares ‘Flytilla’ Over

Officials Defend Locking Up Suspected Activists for Eventual Deportation

Long a popular tourist attraction in the West, Israel is struggling tonight to defend the mass detention of passengers who flew into the Ben-Gurion International Airport and are suspected of being “pro-Palestinian activists.”

Termed the “flytilla,” a number of activists planned to fly into Israel to visit Palestinian families in the occupied territories. The Israeli government quickly responded with a list of 342 “unwanted” passengers who were to be barred from visiting the nation.

But blocking the passengers wasn’t enough. Soon, Israel started arresting people on arriving flights it believed to be involved, and has sent at least 64 of them to “detention centers” where they will be held until their eventual deportation.

It seems that the massive campaign against passengers and the summary arrests are drawing far more attention to the issue than a few hundred activists could have done in the first place. Still, Prime Minister Netanyahu defended the move, insisting the government has a fundamental right to block “provocateurs” from entry.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.