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Israeli Authorities Brace for Palestinian 'Fly-In' Activists


Israeli police officers stand at the arrival hall at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv , July 6, 2011

Israeli police officers stand at the arrival hall at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv , July 6, 2011

Dozens of Israeli police have been deployed to the country's international airport at Tel Aviv in anticipation of the arrival of hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists later this week.

Police and border guard officials were sent to Ben Gurion airport Wednesday to prepare for what is being called a pro-Palestinian "fly-in."

The 600 activists, who are part of a "Welcome to Palestine" campaign, are set to arrive Friday from across Europe in a show of support for Palestinians.

Organizers say the activists are not planning to hold any demonstrations at the Israeli airport, but plan to embark on a one-week visit to the West Bank in a show of solidarity with Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

The planned influx comes as a flotilla trying to break Israel's sea blockade of Gaza has been mostly stalled in Greece.

Only one small French boat is heading for Gaza after leaving a Greek port in defiance of a ban on ships destined for Gaza and eluding detection.

The Dignite al Karama is the only boat of a planned flotilla organized by pro-Palestinian activists to make it out of Greek ports in recent days without being halted by the Greek coast guard.

Organizers had planned to send about a dozen vessels from Greece to Gaza late last month, carrying hundreds of activists and humanitarian aid for the Palestinians.

But the flotilla has suffered a series of setbacks, with some ships facing technical and bureaucratic problems.

Israel has vowed to enforce a naval blockade it imposed on Gaza in 2007. It says the blockade is necessary to stop weapons from reaching Hamas militants who run the territory.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP and Reuters.

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