JERUSALEM – Israel detained dozens of international activists as they landed at its main airport on Sunday, preventing them from entering the country to participate in a planned solidarity mission with Palestinians in the West Bank.
Israel said the activists, part of an umbrella group called “Welcome to Palestine,” were provocateurs who posed a security threat. But organizers said the event, meant to draw attention to Israeli travel restrictions on Palestinians, was nonviolent, and they accused Israel of using heavy-handed tactics to stamp out legitimate protest.
By early evening, the Interior Ministry said a total of 49 people had been stopped at the airport, most on flights from France, but also from Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Italy and Portugal.
At least 12 were placed on flights back home, while arrangements were being made to expel the others.
Hundreds of additional activists were expected to arrive on flights later Sunday.
Trial begins for killer of 77
OSLO, Norway – The trial of a Norwegian who confessed to killing 77 people will start today amid worries he will try to use the proceedings to showcase his anti-Muslim views.
After opening statements, Anders Behring Breivik is set to testify for five days, explaining why he set off a bomb in downtown Oslo that killed eight, and then shot to death 69 people, mostly teenagers, at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya island.
Since Breivik has confessed to the July 22 attacks the key issue that remains unresolved is his mental health. If deemed mentally competent, he would face a maximum prison sentence of 21 years or an alternate custody arrangement under which the sentence is prolonged for as long as an inmate is deemed a danger to society.