IntelNews.Org, 12 July 2011
Israeli intelligence services managed to stop dozens of European pro-Palestine activists from flying to Israel, by gathering open-source intelligence about them on social media sites, such as Facebook. According to Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, intelligence gathered on Facebook formed the basis of a blacklist containing over 300 names of European activists, who had signed up on an open-access Facebook page of a group planning nonviolent actions in Israel this summer.
Israeli intelligence agencies forwarded the names on the lists to European airline carriers, asking them not to allow the activists onboard their flights, as they were not going to be allowed into the country. This action prompted airline carriers to prevent over 200 activists from boarding scheduled flights to Israel. Israeli security officers detained over 310 other activists, who arrived in Israel on several European flights last week. Of those, almost 70 were denied entry to the country, while more detentions are expected to take place later this week, according to Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad.
During the detention operation, at least two flights into Israel, from Geneva, Switzerland, and Rome, Italy, were diverted to a secluded area of the Ben Gurion International Airport, which is located a few miles southeast of Tel Aviv. Once there, they were boarded by armed Israeli security officers, who detained several activists onboard the airplanes before allowing the remaining passengers to disembark. Witnesses also reported the presence of hundreds of police officers at Ben Gurion during the detention of the activists. Characteristically, only one of a 40-strong pro-Palestinian activist contingency onboard an EasyJet flight from London, UK, was able to enter Israel, while 39 were detained and sent back to the UK.