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The MV Mavi Marmara was part of last year’s Gaza flotilla
TEL AVIV – The flotilla attempting to sail to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip may be stalled, but pro-Palestinian activists have concocted another plot to stir trouble – this time by infiltrating Israel’s international airport and disrupting flights.
The Palestinian Wafa News Agency reported hundreds of activists from 40 international groups intend to take part in what it being dubbed the “Welcome to Palestine” fly-in, set to take place July 8 to 16.
Activists plan for hundreds to board flights to Israel next week for the sole purpose of causing chaos in the airport upon arrival.
“The goal is very clear, we are all fed up with being obliged to lie when we arrive in Allenby [bridge] or Ben Gurion [Airport] when visiting our Palestinian friends,” Mireille Rumeau, an organizer with the International Solidarity Movement in Paris told Al Jazeera.
The campaign is apparently timed to coincide with demonstrations and actions planned within the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The activists hope to use the action to draw international media attention to their cause. They claim there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The U.N. itself has denied any such crisis. Israel allows truckloads of food, supplied and medicine to enter the Gaza Strip daily. It also infuses the Hamas-controlled territory with currency every month.
Israeli security forces are taking the airport threat seriously and have a series of contingency plans to deal with attempts to disrupt Ben Gurion International Airport.
A WND review of some of the activists involved in the scheme finds some connections to the U.S. radical left.
The International Solidarity Movement is an organization with bases in the U.S. that has been outlawed in Israel for its purported support of terrorism. ISM activists routinely have served as human shields for terrorists. The group was accused of harboring Islamic jihad terrorists in its former offices.
One notorious ISM member was the late Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American volunteer who in March 2003 was crushed beneath a bulldozer in Gaza when its operator reportedly failed to see her trying to block the destruction of a tunnel through which Hamas and Islamic jihad terrorists were receiving smuggled weapons.
Laura Durkay, an American activist from New York, is also planning to participate in the airport plot.
She told Al Jazeera she previously traveled to Gaza and the West Bank, where she claims, “I saw the conditions and saw what the Israeli security apparatus looks like.”
“I was interrogated at the Allenby Bridge, and saw how that apparatus and control of borders is part of the occupation. We want to highlight that the West Bank is also under siege,” she said.
Durkay is the former president of the Columbia University International Socialist Organization.
In June 2009, she was part of a delegation to visit the Gaza Strip arranged by the Code Pink group. The group previously met with Hamas and with leaders of the Taliban, and has been accused of anti-American activities.
Jodie Evans, Code Pink co-founder, was a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama’s presidential campaign.
WND reported that in January, Evans and other Obama associates provoked chaos in Egypt in an attempt to enter the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to join in solidarity with the territory’s population and leadership.
Among the associates were former Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and wife Bernardine Dohrn. Both are leaders of the Free Gaza Movement, which also endorsed the flotilla now attempting to sail to Gaza.
Code Pink is part of the group trying to leave Greece today to travel to Gaza on a U.S. ship that is part of an international flotilla. Both Greece and Turkey have clamped down on the departures of flotilla ships in an apparent deal with the Israeli and U.S. government.
The U.S. ship is named “The Audacity of Hope,” the namesake of Obama’s 2006 book and his 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention. Obama himself took the name from the title of a sermon given by his controversial pastor of more than 20 years, Jeremiah Wright.
The Jewish state maintains a naval blockade of Gaza to ensure against Hamas arming itself by sea. The terrorist group had been caught several times attempting to smuggle weapons, including rockets and advanced missiles, into Gaza by sea.
WND reported last month the organizers of the American ship appealed to Obama to “protect” their ship.
Now those organizers are accusing the State Department of colluding with Israel to stop the ship.
The U.S. branch of the flotilla project is endorsed by several Obama associates, including Evans, Ayers and Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, who reported helped raise $370,000 to finance the purchase of a U.S. ship for the cause.
WND was the first to report on Obama’s close relationship with Khalidi, who has been tied to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and described Israel as a “racist” state with an “apartheid” system.
The new flotilla follows last year’s attempt, organized by the Hamas-tied, Turkish-based Foundation for Human Rights, Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, or IHH, along with Ayers’ Free Gaza coalition.
That flotilla engaged in deadly clashes with Israeli special forces. Dozens of flotilla activists armed with knives, bats and metal pipes confronted the Israeli naval raid and immediately attacked the soldiers. Nine activists were killed, while 15 Israeli solders were wounded.
Turk admitted flotilla activists started clashes
In October, WND reported a Turkish journalist who was on last year’s flotilla admitted the Israel Defense Forces did not open fire on activists aboard a Hamas-supporting ship until the soldiers’ lives were endangered.
Some participants in the flotilla had claimed in news media interviews that Israeli troops indiscriminately opened fire upon boarding the ship from a helicopter.
“I saw with my own eyes that when the soldiers came on helicopters and started landing on the ship, they did not fire,” stated Turkish journalist Sefik Dinc.
“It wasn’t until the soldiers were met with resistance and realized that some of their friends’ lives were in danger that they began using live ammunition,” he said.
Dinc, who wrote a book about his experiences on the flotilla, was speaking in an interview with Israel’s Channel One. The interview was translated into English by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
Consistent with video footage and testimonies of Israeli soldiers who had boarded the ship, Dinc recalled flotilla activists using iron bars against the IDF troops.
WND previously reported that prior to its violent confrontation with Israeli commandos, the commander of the flotilla announced participants were planning to use “resistance” and declared the ship’s activists wanted to die as “martyrs” more than they wanted to reach the Gaza Strip, according to Hamas television.
Also, WND reported on video footage showing flotilla activists shouting anti-Jewish battle cries and speaking of using “resistance” against Israel. One participant stated she saw only two possible outcomes for the boat occupants – “either martyrdom or reaching Gaza.”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott