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Israel arrests 48 French nationals

PARIS, July 11 (KUNA) -- Since Friday, Israeli police have detained at least 48 French nationals at Tel Aviv airport as they were heading to the Palestinian Territories, official sources said Monday.
The French were part of an international solidarity operation with the Occupied Territories and hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists were also blocked at airports in Paris, Geneva and Brussels after Israel produced a no-fly "black list" to several airlines.
Many of those blocked included women and children, and boarding at the European airports was disrupted for several hours on Friday and Saturday as those refused by the airlines protested in the terminals.
The French Foreign Ministry said Monday that 40 nationals were still being held in an Israeli detention centre and eight had been expelled already.
A spokesman in Paris said that French Consular officials had visited the detention on Monday morning and he indicated that the remaining nationals would be expelled on the next available flights.
Human Rights and pro-Palestinian NGO's here have slammed the airlines for taking instructions from Israeli security services.
It was pointed out that some of the passengers were as young as nine-years-old and presented no danger to security, the pretext for refusing boarding.
One diplomat, speaking anonymously here, told KUNA that the Israelis warned the airlines they would refuse entry to about 300 people on their list and the airlines would have to assume the cost of returning these passengers to their point of departure. (end) jk.mt KUNA 111449 Jul 11NNNN