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Monday, April 16, 2012

Foreign Ministry official claims 40% of those on flytilla list were not pro-'Palestinian' 'activists'

An anonymous (is there any other kind?) source in the Foreign Ministry has told Haaretz that 470 of the 1,200 or so blacklisted flytilla 'activists' had 'no connection' to the flytilla.
"We put people on the list who are as far removed from anti-Israel political activity as east is from west," one Foreign Ministry official said. "We have insulted hundreds of foreign citizens because of suspicions, and have given the other side a victory on a silver platter."

"Direct damage has been done to tourism and to Israel's good name," the official said.

Organizers said on Sunday that their "Welcome to Palestine" protest, in which hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists were planning to participate in demonstrations in the West Bank, was a success that still advanced the Palestinian narrative even though many of the protesters were forced to stay home.

"It doesn't matter if eight people came or 800," said Lubna Masarwa, one of the organizers of the event. "What's clear is that there is a popular struggle that is gaining momentum and has the international support of thousands of activists. The Palestinians are not alone in their struggle."
Did anyone actually notice the flytilla outside of Israel and the blogs which discuss it? I searched in vain on Sunday for online video of flytilla-connected protests. For most of the day, all that was up was one al-Jazeera report. Did your local media cover it? Or were you looking to me and other pro-Israeli bloggers for coverage?

But what makes me more skeptical about this story is reporter Barak Ravid's discussion of specific persons who were caught up in the net:
The list of banned passengers was inflated over the weekend in what one Foreign Ministry official called "overexertion."

"The net was spread too wide, bringing down innocent people," he said.

That net did not spare holders of diplomatic passports, like a French diplomat and his wife who are due to begin working at the French consulate in Jerusalem this summer. The couple was planning to look for an apartment in Jerusalem, but the night before their flight they received an e-mail from their airline, Lufthansa, saying their tickets were canceled because they had been banned from entering Israel.

"The Population Registry people told us their flight route was suspicious because they were coming in on a connecting flight from Munich, not direct from Paris," said a Foreign Ministry official. "Only after we explained that the ticket from Munich was bought because it was cheaper did they take them off the list."


Other passengers who appeared on the blacklist despite having no connection to the protest include an employee of Italy's Communications Ministry who was supposed to meet with her Israeli counterparts here, and a Dutch member of the board of directors of German pharmaceutical giant Merck, who was part of a company delegation taking part in the dedication of a biotechnology hothouse at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in which Merck is investing 10 million euros.

Both were eventually allowed into the country.
Obviously, there was a way to get off the blacklist if you weren't supposed to be on it. And obviously, people who felt that they had valid grounds to explain their actions, were able to explain them and were able to travel.

I would say that 470 was way over-inflated. And I would say that the actual number of people who were wrongfully banned was actually quite small and that someone at the foreign ministry - a known bastion of Leftists - has an interest in trying to make the government look bad. In fact, for those who read Hebrew, that foreign ministry employee sounds remarkably like former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, doesn't s/he?

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At 6:01 PM, Blogger HaDaR said...

Don't forget that ALMOST ALL the employee of the Foreign Ministry are PERES people.
It has been an almost IMPOSSIBLE thing to get ANY position within the Foreign Ministry without being one of Peres' boys.
Take it from someone who tried and speaks and writes five languages, all fluently, and two at mother tongue level, and who went to university at one of the first 15 universities in the world, and whose acquaintances who work there are ALL extreme leftists!


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