More than 100 pro-Palestinian British activists have been denied entry to Israel since the beginning of this year, official data shows.
Tobias Ellwood, the British minister for the Middle East, confirmed reports by the Israeli regime that of the 129,000 British citizens traveling to the occupied Palestinian territories, at least 115 have been deported, The Independent reported Sunday.
Of that figure, 50 people have been turned away from Tel Aviv’s airport, while 65 were denied entry at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan into occupied the West Bank.
Although no official breakdown of the reasons for the refusals has been made available, many pro-Palestinian activists have spoken about the ongoing discrimination.
In August, Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan called for a ban on “Boycott activists,” referring to the supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Thousands of volunteers worldwide have joined the BDS ever since it was initiated in 2005.
The Tel Aviv regime can turn away any individual at its borders and ban them from coming back for up to 10 years. People who have been rejected would be detained until they can be returned to their country, according to The Independent.
According to Emily Schaeffer Omer-Man, a human rights lawyer who represents those who were denied entry, the rules are sometimes applied “in a discriminatory way.”
“What we’ve seen as a pattern in cases over the past five years is that those who are of Palestinian or Arab heritage, or who are coming in to do humanitarian work particularly in the West Bank, are disproportionately targeted,” she noted.
“Typically someone who is either Jewish, does not have a history of activism, or who is not of Palestinian or Arab heritage, will have an easier time getting quickly through passport control,” the lawyer added.
The UK Foreign Office has advised travelers to the occupied lands that they may need to sign pledges not to enter the Palestinian territories upon entry to Israel.
In some cases, the Israeli border officials have asked for access to a person’s social media accounts before letting them in.
People who get a chance to enter Israel would undergo detailed questioning upon departure and have their baggage inspected. Personal items such as laptops, phones and cameras should also be handed over to officials for thorough inspection.