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Ma'an interview: Welcomed in Palestine

July 8, 2011 2:38 P.M. (Updated: July 9, 2011 1:01 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Briditta, from Germany, arrived in the West Bank on Thursday.

"As a German, I feel somehow drawn to Israel because of our history," she told Ma'an, "but that does not mean I tolerate illegal behavior."

Briditta is looking forward to joining in with activities planned by Palestinian civil society organizations as part of the 'Welcome to Palestine' initiative over the following week.

"I will enjoy being together with a group from various countries," she said. She said she had met a few people who also arrived yesterday from European countries, and hoped more would be able to join.

Israeli immigration authorities issued a blacklist of 342 passengers not permitted to enter the country to international airlines, and up to 200 travelers have been barred from leaving their destinations.

A welcome committee for activists at Tel Aviv-area Ben Gurion airport was called off after reports that Israeli police would arrest them on arrival, organizers said, and journalists reported that three people who unfurled a Palestinian flag in the arrivals terminal were detained by Israeli police.

Briditta said she "expected" the blacklist, adding "it is bad enough ... but the point is that other governments are cooperating against international law."

"I knew it would turn out the way it is," she told Ma'an, "so I only contacted organizations to join activities when I arrived, so that my name is not known to the Israelis."
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