The group went on a hunger strike on April 16 after being detained by Israeli police at Ben Gurion Airport of Tel Aviv.
Israeli security personnel had taken orders to prevent the French activists from traveling to the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Fanny Dekkari, one of the five activists, said the group was “not allowed to make any phone calls or see a lawyer” during detention.
Dekkari added that there was “much less physical violence, but much more psychologically,” emphasizing that Israeli security personnel were “very aggressive.”
The French activist also stated that prior to their release, the group was told by Israeli authorities to either leave on their “own accord or leave under violence.”
The group of five French activists was part of the “Welcome to Palestine 2012” fly-in campaign, also known as “flytilla,” which had previously scheduled a gathering of pro-Palestinian activists at Ben Gurion Airport on April 15. The campaigners had plans to travel to Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
The Israeli regime deployed hundreds of police forces at Ben Gurion Airport from late April 14 to prevent the arrival of pro-Palestinian activists taking part in the “Welcome to Palestine 2012.”
Major European airlines, under heavy pressure from the Tel Aviv regime, also cancelled about 300 tickets for passengers heading for Palestine on April 15. The move sparked angry demonstrations by activists at airports in several European capitals.
On Wednesday, Israeli security officials said 40 international activists remained in detention after refusing to leave voluntarily.
This is not the first “Welcome to Palestine” campaign organized to express support for Palestinians and to condemn the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
In July 2011, Israeli authorities made intense efforts to interrupt the first flytilla and arrested a number of activists. About 120 people were also denied entry and deported. In addition, several European countries prohibited activists from boarding their flights since they were already blacklisted by the Tel Aviv regime.