The Return from Exile Project
Palestinians and their supporters are using brave and creative forms of nonviolent resistance in Bil’in, Jayyous, Beit Ommar, Ni’lin, Budrus, and other places in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Israel. The Free Palestine Movement is in support of the Palestinian strategy for returning to their homes, restoring their freedom and exercising their self-determination.
In pursuit of this commitment the Free Palestine Movement has recently initiated a partnership with Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition – USA and The Palestinian Return Centre – UK to organize The Return from Exile Project, an action in which Palestinians passengers will fly on commercial flights to Lid (“Tel-Aviv”) airport on a date to be decided. The volunteers will insist on going to their homes.
On the day of the action, approximately 100 Palestinians and supporters will fly to Lid airport (Ben Gurion International Airport). They will take a variety of routes and arrive on different flights. Both the Palestinians and their supporters will be nationals who do not ordinarily require visas to visit Israel. However, they will be selected from among those who have personally been denied permission to enter.
The nationalities of the volunteers will qualify them to board the flights. However, Israeli customs authorities will probably stop them upon arrival, place them in detention, and try to deport them as soon as possible. El Al flights should be avoided, where Israeli security would probably prevent boarding.
The volunteers will nonviolently resist deportation, through non-cooperation and by refusing to comply with airline passenger requirements. Previous resistance of this type has shown that the captain of the aircraft will refuse to accept such passengers, who will then be returned to detention.
Lawyers will be arranged in advance, who will argue that the volunteers should be permitted to exercise their right to enter, and to remain at least until their cases are heard. Some cases may be appealed to the High Court and possibly to the International Court of Justice, if there is a means to do so.
The message is that the volunteers want only to visit their homes and country. They will carry copies of documents and pictures showing their place of origin, and possibly copies of keys, as well. They will insist that although they have the right to live in their homes, their purpose at this time is merely to visit. If, in fact, Israel chooses to let some or all of the volunteers enter, that is exactly what they will do.
The message will be amplified by a network of supporting organizations and a media committee that will prepare and coordinate media efforts.
How You Can Get Involved
There are many dimensions to this project, including local support committees, media outreach, and logistics.
If you have questions or wish to invite a speaker on this project to your community, please call +1 510 232 2500 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.