Airplanes are seen on a tarmac.

(Photo: Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash)

Dozens of Pro-Palestinian Rights Protesters Arrested for Blocking JFK Airport Entrance

Organizers demonstrated to call attention to the ongoing forced displacement of Palestinians and the denial of their right to return home.

More than two dozen human rights campaigners were arrested on Wednesday for blocking Interstate 678, the Van Wyck Expressway, in New York—the road that leads to John F. Kennedy International Airport—in one of the latest highway protests demanding justice for Palestinians.

The protesters blocked the road at about 11:30 am and continued the action for about 20 minutes, The Messenger reported, displaying banners that read, "Right to Return, Right to Remain" and "Divest From Genocide."

Independent journalist Talia Jane reported that the protesters aimed to call attention to the Israeli government's denial of the Palestinian people's right to return to their homes, which they were forced to flee in 1948 when the state of Israel was created.

The protest was held on the 81st day of Israel's U.S.-backed bombardment of Gaza, which has killed at least 21,110 people and injured more than 55,000, as well as displacing more than 80% of the blockaded enclave's population.

The campaigners linked arms and blocked the expressway days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly said the government's objective is the so-called "voluntary" migration of Gaza's 2.3 million people—another mass displacement of Palestinians nearly 75 years after they were driven from what is now Israel.

Some travelers headed for JFK on the busy holiday travel day exited their vehicles and walked to the airport with their luggage.

At least one told the demonstrators, "Good luck," as she climbed over a highway barricade to get to the airport.

The Port Authority of New York told The Messenger that 26 people were arrested "for disorderly conduct and impeding vehicular traffic" and that officials dispatched two buses to offer rides to travelers.

The outlet reported that protesters carrying signs that read, "Land Back" also assembled outside Los Angeles International Airport, blocking travelers from entering.

National Jewish-led Palestinian rights groups Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow have blocked bridges and highways and organized mass protests in other travel hubs since Israel began its total blockade and air and ground assault in Gaza, which has threatened the population with starvation and disease as well as bombings.

Neither group had claimed responsibility for Wednesday's protests at press time.

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.