Welcome to Palestine Mission 2012 October 23, 2011


“We, the signatories to this, endorse the call of” Welcome to Palestine in 2012 “to enable defenders of human rights and the national rights of the Palestinian people to travel freely in Palestine in April 2012.

There is no other way to enter Palestine, than to pass through Israeli checkpoints. Israel has made Palestine a giant prison, but since when are prisoners themselves unable to receive visits?

“Welcome to Palestine in 2012 will again challenge the Israeli policy of isolating the West Bank at a time when paramilitary settlers and the army commit crimes against a defenceless Palestinian civilian population.

We call on governments to support the Palestinians’ right to receive visitors, and the right for their respective nationals to freely visit Palestine.

Participants in the mission Welcome to Palestine in 2012 are asking to be allowed to pass through the airport in Tel Aviv without incident in order to go directly to the West Bank where they are expected to take part in a project on the right to education for Palestinian children. “

First signatories:

Desmond Tutu (South Africa, Archbishop, Nobel Prize for Peace for his fight against apartheid)
Ronnie Kasrils (South Africa, former member of the African National Congress)
Noam Chomsky (United States, author, linguist, philosopher)
Tony BENN (Great Britain, a former Socialist minister)
John Pilger (Australian journalist and filmmaker)
Stéphane Hessel (France, former resistance fighter, writer, co-editor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Nawal Al SADAAWI (Egypt, author , feminist)
Nurit Peled ELHANAN (Israel, teacher, peace activist),
Sam Bahour (Palestine Right to Enter Campaign)
Jonathan Cook (Great Britain, an independent journalist living in Nazareth)
Vauro SENESI (Italy, designer and author)
Abdelfattah Abu SROUR (Palestine, director of Al-Rowwad cultural center, the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem)
Jacques NENO (Palestine, director of the ECE – Education, Play and Child)
Xavier Renou (France, founder and spokesman for the ‘disobedient’)


We leave APRIL 15, 2012!

Yes, we leave, yet more and more determined than ever!

This new mission is, like the previous one, claiming the right to enter Palestine and freedom of movement for Palestinians and for those who want to visit them.

Most people know that there is an illegal and inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip, but many are unaware that Israel maintains a blockade in the whole of Palestine.

To get into the West Bank to East Jerusalem, travellers from around the world are forced to pass through Israeli checkpoints, also in Tel Aviv and at the Allenby Bridge (by Jordan), since Israel has destroyed Gaza airport and annexed Kalandia.

And if they have the misfortune to be suspected of sympathy for the Palestinians, they risk being faced with deportation, humiliation, interrogation about their private lives, arrests and even imprisonment.

When you know that even a woman like Hedy Epstein, a Jewish American over age 80, survivor of Nazi concentration camps, suffered at the airport in Tel Aviv an intimate body search, because of her stand against the occupation of the Palestinian territories, we cannot accept that without acting.

This fall, a leader of a cooperative fair trade business, who commits the horrible crime of importing Palestinian olive oil into France, was arrested at the airport in Tel Aviv, and then deported.  Not to mention the many anonymous French and foreigners, who are turned away every day without any reason and without our governments raising a finger.

So we decided to say STOP. To reject the arbitrary power of Israel and say loud and clear that the Palestinian Territories are not Israel that we have enough of its violations of international law and human rights.

Our leaders may choose to work with the Israeli occupation. Not us!

We want to reach out to families and Palestinian associations. They are calling for us to help, and are asking us to show our solidarity by calling for the clear application of the fundamental right to freedom of movement.

The Palestinians know they cannot count on Western governments nor most of the Arab governments.   Nor on the major international institutions.

But they are counting on us. They are calling us and we are already responding to this call.

The Tunisian people and the Egyptian people have shown that popular mobilization can move mountains. Doing nothing is to be complicit in Israeli crimes against a people subjected to a terrible ethnic cleansing that has been going on for decades.

Palestine is a test that we all understand. A test, not in a laboratory or a specimen, but a real test on men, women and children, to see how far such atrocities can go without the world reacting.

This is the prototype of injustice, contempt of law and the law of the jungle, disguised as the “clash of civilizations” or “religious conflict”.

All forms of active solidarity are important: the international BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment sanctions), the fleets and convoys to break the blockade of Gaza, support for educational projects, agricultural, cultural, medical, support for demonstrators against the wall, against the demolition of Palestinian homes, support for Palestinian political prisoners, the Popular Resistance Committees …

Demonstrating solidarity by demanding the right to pay a visit to the Palestinians is essential.  The Welcome to Palestine Mission on 8 July had a global impact, and it was not for nothing. Even the Israeli press was shocked to see that women, men, children were forbidden a very peaceful visit to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Our leaders are willing to allow into France those who drop phosphorus bombs on civilians, who perform extra-judicial executions, torture with impunity the children, but we who are non-violent, unarmed, who do not have “blood on our hands,” we do not have the right to enter into Palestine?

Yes, we will leave. With you. Instead of 500, we expect to be at least 1500 to 2000 participants from all countries. 9 to 94 years (since this is the age of the dear Stephane Hessel).

And we must demand of our leaders that they defend their French citizens as they do the soldiers of the Israeli occupation army who have the right to come parading in France, or as the members of the JDL who are allowed to leave France to go to occupied Palestine to assist the settlers.

Our plan is clear: we will go direct to the West Bank, to help build a school (see the details under “Our Project”). Coaches will wait at the exit of the airport in Tel Aviv on April 15 to take us directly to Bethlehem, where Palestinian families and associations will receive us. We provide proof of this. And if the Israeli government wants to tell us once again that we intend to hijack planes or carry out suicide bombings, the whole world will scoff!

A great show of solidarity is more necessary than ever. Book your week of Sunday, April 15 to Saturday 21 April!
Buy your ticket! If you need information about this, contact us at contact@BienvenuePalestine.com and thank you all for passing on information!

Palestine will live!


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