Israeli authorities have denied entry today to a Swedish MK who was on board the Freedom Flotilla’s Mavi Marmara on 31 May, when Israeli Naval forces launched an interception and boarding attack that ended with 9 dead — all Turks, one of them a 19-year-old American high school student.
According to a report by Agence France Presse today, a Swedish member of Parliament of Turkish origin, Mehmet Kaplan, “was ordered to leave minutes after his plane landed in Israel because he had ‘failed to follow procedure’ and obtain an entry visa in Sweden, ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad told AFP. Dror Feiler, an Israeli artist based in Sweden who has relinquished his Israeli citizenship, was also expelled upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Hadad said … Passengers detained in the raid on the flotilla were later released after signing a letter ‘in which they pledged to obtain authorisation to enter Israel from Israeli embassies in their respective countries’, Hadad said”. This news report is posted here.
Just last week, the Turkel Commission appointed by the Israeli government to look into the international law aspects of the “maritime incident” has just repeated its invitation for anyone on board the Mavi Marmara to testify: “The Commission wishes to remind the public of the notice from 21 October 2010, in which we called upon any eye witnesses with relevant information and/or documentation for the Commission’s mission, who are willing to testify. (This invitation is posted here) The Commission will be accepting such submissions no later than 15 November 2010″.
These two men could apparently both have testified about what happened on board the Mavi Marmara during the Flotilla fiasco.
It is not clear that they would have agreed to do so — a number of the activists who were on board apparently have a problem with the idea of accepting what they see as the commission’s flawed mandate.
The Palestine Information Center reported tonight that “Dror Feiler, the spokesman for the Swedish ship that was part of the Flotilla, told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper on Friday that he would file a complaint on behalf of 11 Swedes against the Israeli leaders on 8th November with Tel Aviv police and the Israeli prosecutor. He explained that the complaint would be filed against Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, his war minister Ehud Barak, and his Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. The charges would include armed robbery, kidnap, detention, and assault and battery, Feiler elaborated”. This report can be read in full here.
YNet reported that Feiler was coming to get his saxophone back — it was confiscated, along with his telephone and cameras, and never returned: ” ‘Preventing my entry wouldn’t be logical, but I am aware that it’s hard to count on the logic of Israeli authorities, so there is certainly a fear that they won’t let me enter’, he says. ‘It would be strange. After all, I was born in Israel, my mother lives in Israel and I have friends and family there. It’s my right to enter and explain to anyone who wants to hear what the aim of the flotilla was and why I work overtime against the policies of the Israeli government’.” This is posted here.
Haaretz wrote that “The Turkish-born MP Mehmet Kaplan and artist Dror Feiler were detained at the Ben Gurion International Airport upon landing, on the grounds that they were barred for 10 years due to their participation in the May 2010 flotilla. Both were among the dozens of flotilla passengers taken in to custody following Israel’s deadly raid … Feiler, who currently lives in Sweden, also took part in the flotilla, though not on the Mavi Marmara ship where nine Turkish activists died in clashes with Israeli naval commandos. He has given up his Israeli citizenship but has been permitted to return to the country dozens of times since. This was the first time he was denied entry … ‘Anyone who took part in the flotilla will not be permitted into Israel’, said Sabine Hadad, spokesman for immigration authorities. ‘They know this. They should have contacted the embassy before arriving’.” This was published here.
So, even if they had applied for a visa from Sweden, it would have been denied anyway…? Even if they were going to testify to the Turkel commission?