|Institut für Palästinakunde|
- IPK -
As Palestinian Christians celebrate Easter, we Palestinians also welcome
international visitors to Palestine as has always happened this season for
hundreds of years. This Easter, the Israeli government is determined to
prevent over 1500 visitors from arriving in the country simply because the
visitors wanted to be honest about their destination and intention: to
visit with Palestinians in the occupied territories. We ask Church leaders
to issue public statements to demand free access to the occupied areas for
all visitors, including this group and all future groups of pilgrims to the
Over 25 Palestinian organizations proudly launched the Welcome to Palestine 2012 campaign. The last campaign in July 2011 saw hundreds of individuals purchase airline tickets and attempt to board planes to Palestine. Israel sent a "black list" to various airlines of 342 participants from the ages of 9 to 83 to prevent them from boarding planes that sparked huge protests in several international airports. The Israeli military also turned the airport near Tel Aviv into a military compound. One hundred twenty-seven women and men were arrested at Ben Gurion Airport and then imprisoned for several days as they insisted on their right to visit Palestinian associations and families. As a result of ensuing legal challenges, many European airlines fully refunded the tickets, and airline unions joined us in pressing for freedom of travel. Furthermore, the publicity shed light on Israel’s attempts to deny visits by internationals for humanitarian and peaceful support to millions of Palestinians living under occupation. What the Israeli government apparently cannot stand in this initiative is that the women and men coming to the West Bank from 15 to 21 April 2012 refuse to lie and hide. They refuse to pretend Palestine and Palestinians do not exist. Israel spreads lies about the intention of the international visitors. We thank these visitors for working for peace and humanity with honesty and dignity.
The international community recognizes the basic human right of Palestinians to receive visitors from abroad, and supports the right of their own citizens to travel to Palestine without harassment. We reject all attempts to isolate and silence us. While Israel works to isolate us, we invite all to join us openly and proudly. With the help of the international community, the church community, and local volunteers, we will achieve our goal of peace and freedom and thus restore the values and principles that we share as human beings.
We ask your church to speak out and support the Welcome to Palestine Campaign in the spirit of the call by Palestinian Christians called the Kairos document.
Palästinensischer Appell an die Kirchen: 'Stunde der Wahrheit'