Monday, July 18, 2011

Invitation to Concluding Press Conference from the "Welcome to Palestine" Campaign

12 pm (noon) on Monday, July 18th, Alternative Information Center (AIC), Queen Shlomzion Street 4, Jerusalem
In response to a Palestinian invitation, hundreds of international visitors reserved flights to Ben Gurion airport for July 8th.  The Israeli government did everything in its power to stop them, including pressuring seven commercial European airline companies into abruptly canceling a huge number of the flight reservations.

The Israeli authorities detained and then deported en masse those who did arrive in Tel Aviv.  Only a few dozen international guests were finally able to come to Palestine and only after overcoming many obstacles: for example, Vivienne Prozsolt from Australia, who was with the Freedom Flotilla II, flew from Athens, was detained, but unexpectedly prevailed in her court appeal against the deportation.  The international guests who did get through to us participated in a week of fellowship and solidarity from July 8th until July 16th.
The organizers of "Welcome to Palestine" invite you to a press conference to review our accomplishments, despite the massive Israeli government obstructions, and to discuss future directions for international solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Speakers in Jerusalem:
- Lubna Masarwa, leading organizer who worked with both the flotilla to Gaza and with "Welcome to Palestine"
- Vivienne Prozsolt, of Sidney, Australia, a member of Jews against the Occupation and international guest of "Welcome to Palestine"
- Shireen Al-Araj, activist from Al-Walaja, who organized and accompanied the visitors who were with us in Palestine July 8th-16th
- Sergio Yahni, media coordinator at Alternative Information Center

Speakers available via Skype-Video:
- Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, of Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, professor of genetics and author, and co-organizer of "Welcome to Palestine"
- International organizers of "Welcome to Palestine," including, among others, Elsa Rassbach of Germany and Karin Pally of USA
"This was not the first or the last project we, civil society in Palestine, do to shed light on the illegality of occupation and colonization," says Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh of Bethlehem, a leading organizer of the initiative.  "More and more people are becoming aware, and our next projects will build on this momentum until Palestine is free."
Laura Durkay of New York, who was detained at Ben Gurion airport on July 8th and then jailed and deported says: "Everyone I have spoken to has come back to their home countries more determined than ever to continue the struggle for Palestinian freedom and equal rights."

Media Contacts:
JERUSALEM: Sergio Yahni,
BETHLEHEM: Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, (English and Arabic), and Fadi Kattan (French)   +970 (0) 595 754 100
FRANCE:  Nicolas Shahshahani, +33(0)1 42 94 39 94 and +33(0)673 38 24 84
GERMANY: Sophia Deeg, 007761,+49(0)1799878414 and Elsa Rassbach (contact information below)
UK: Sofiah MacLeod,,+44(0)7931 200 36100,+44(0)131 620 0052
USA: Karin Pally, or 310-399-1921
INTERNATIONAL Media Coordinator: Elsa Rassbach, (0) 30 326 01540 or +49 (0) 170 738 1450 Skype: elsarassbach

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