Press Release 2: "Welcome to Palestine" Organizers decry Israeli propaganda efforts and threats of mass deportation
Bethlehem and Jerusalem 5 July 2011--The organizers of the "Welcome to Palestine" initiative decry the numerous attempts by Israeli and other media to distort our message and planned activities. There were messages claiming that we are attempting to reach Gaza by going to Lod Airport (aka Ben Gurion airport) on July 8. Some claimed that this initiative came after the flotilla was blocked. Others claimed our visitors want to disrupt things at the airport and some even claimed they will try to take over planes. These claims and many others being circulated are false; we urge media not to disseminate false statements.
As stated in our first press release: we invited international guests, including families, to visit us in Palestine. We hope and expect the Israeli authorities to allow them safe passage in compliance with International law and normal diplomatic bilateral protocols. We also reject the Israeli government threat to engage in mass deportation of peace activists and the apparent attempt justify this unjustifiable action by using rumors that they spread.
We are accessible to the media and encourage them to speak with the actual organizers and participants of this peaceful initiative. Journalists will be flying with us, and we encourage more journalists to join us and to report on what actually happens (without innuendos and propaganda efforts - Israeli hasbara).
Our visitors are coming to Palestine with a nonviolent approach to peace building and conflict resolution, with full respect of the universal declaration of human rights. We urge the Israeli authorities to allow the journalists to have access to our participants and to report the true story of "Welcome to Palestine."
Inviting Palestinians and internationals to join us is our right as people under colonial occupation who yearn to be free.
Some journalists are flying with our visitors and we invite all journalists who want to exercise their right to free press to fly in of the 8th of July to Palestine.
We will have a press conference Friday July 8 at 10 AM at the Bethlehem Peace Center in Bethlehem.