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Haaretz (Israel)

Israel Deports Five Pro-Palestinian Activists; Prepares for Arrival of Hundreds

Between 600 and 1,200 activists are expected to try to enter Israel by plane as counterpart to the Gaza flotilla.


Pro-Palestinian activists aboard the ship 'Audacity of Hope', set to take part in a flotilla to Gaza, July 1, 2011. (Photo: AP)

Israeli police has deported five pro-Palestinian activists in the past two days back to their home countries, France and Begium.

Dozens of Israeli security forces deployed at the Ben Gurion International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, following reports that hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists planned to fly into the country as a counterpart to the Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Between 600 and 1,200 activists were expected to arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday night and Friday, on flights from Moscow and New York.

Israel Police and Border Police officers are now spread out across the arrivals hall. Hundreds more security officers plan will be stationed in the airport over the coming days in anticipation of the activists' arrival.

It is expected that the activists will set up camp across the airport as part of their protest.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier Wednesday that the security forces must act firmly against the planned protests.

"Every country has the right to prevent the entry of provocateurs into its borders," Netanyahu said during a meeting with several heads of Israeli security services at the Ben-Gurion airport.

Netanyahu stressed that Israel will act as every civilized country would in the face of provocateurs, but ordered security forces to "avoid unnecessary altercations."

Following the discussion, Netanyahu ordered Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to exert all efforts to prevent an infiltration into Israel's borders.

Haaretz reported Tuesday that Israel has provided intelligence to the United States seven European countries, and several foreign airline companies regarding the activists who plan on participating in the airport protest.

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