Flytilla fly­ers’ wings clipped

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY JONATHAN KALMUS

PRO-PALES­TINIAN AC­TIVISTS have crit­i­cised UK air­ports and bud­get air­line Jet2 for im­pos­ing the UK’S “first Is­raeli check­points” af­ter pas­sen­gers at­tempt­ing to take part in Sun­day’s “flytilla” protests were stopped from board­ing flights to Is­rael.

A dozen or so pas­sen­gers, led by the Scot­tish Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Cam­paign, were stopped by Jet2’s Manch­ester check-in desk, which closed briefly due to a peace­ful protest by 100 peo­ple, po­lice con­firmed. The air­line broke with its non-re­fund pol­icy and of­fered full re­funds af­ter protests. Easy­jet also of­fered re­funds to a small num­ber of protesters who at­tempted to fly from Lu­ton Air­port. In state­ments, both air­lines said they had le­gal obli­ga­tions not to al­low pas­sen­gers to fly to a coun­try which would bar en­try.

Manch­ester Jewish ac­tivist Pia Feig, 59, said protesters were con­sid­er­ing le­gal action against Jet2 and com­plaints to Manch­ester’s air­port author­ity for dis­crim­i­na­tion and re­fus­ing to hon­our a bind­ing con­tract.

“There was a Cha­sidic fam­ily next to me at the check-in desk who were al­lowed to fly. The only difference be­tween my­self and them is my be­liefs as an avowed open sup­porter of the rights of Pales­tini­ans.” Grand­mother Mrs Feig com­plained: “Un­der Bri­tish law, you can’t dis­crim­i­nate on goods and ser­vices on the ba­sis of belief. Jet2 was the first check­point in the West Bank, and we know the check­points are part of the sys­tem of oc­cu­pa­tion.”

There was con­fu­sion among the air­lines af­ter 13 UK ac­tivists suc­cess­fully boarded flights to Tel Aviv from Lu­ton and Manch­ester. The 13 were part of a to­tal of around 80 ac­tivists who flew from var­i­ous coun­tries to reach Beth­le­hem in the Wel­come to Pales­tine protest. An­other Manch­ester ac­tivist was turned back by air­port se­cu­rity af­ter reach­ing the board­ing gate, al­though Paveen Yaqub, who was on the Mavi Mar­mara, suc­cess­fully flew with Jet2, but was then held in an Is­raeli jail. At Lu­ton, three ac­tivists said they were not stopped by Easy­jet be­fore board­ing their flights to Tel Aviv.

All protesters were re­turned from Tel Aviv by their air­lines.

Lu­ton protest or­gan­iser “D” Mur­phy, who was im­pris­oned for six days last Au­gust in the first flytilla, said Is­rael had cre­ated neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity be­cause of its “over­re­ac­tion” to peo­ple “openly com­ing in peace.”

Sus­sex vet Marc Abraham brings out the “aaww” fac­tor. He won a spe­cial recog­ni­tion award in the Ceva Awards for An­i­mal Wel­fare for his cam­paign to com­bat puppy farm­ing

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