Night of horror at Ben Gurion airport for two French music students

Israel/Palestine

We are two students, both studying musicology at the Université Paris 8 and in the CRR 93 at Aubervilliers and the CRD at Gennevilliers [translator’s note : all located in the suburbs north of Paris]. After taking our baccalauréat exams at the end of high school, we left in September 2013 to spend a year living in Palestine. We gave and attended music classes (violin and flute) at the Edward Said National Conservatory in Ramallah and helped to create a music school in Jericho. This year we had decided to go back during our recent Easter break to see our friends again and to return to the places where we had spent time the previous year.

On Sunday April 19, we arrived at 2:30 AM at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. At the customs desk we stated the purpose of our visit ; but when the officer heard the word « Ramallah » we were sent straight to a small room where other people were waiting for us. We were immediately asked to write our telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

After an hour’s wait, a security officer came to pick up Philomène, telling her to take her luggage. In this first interrogation, the security officer asked her the reason for her visit, whether or not she had previously been to Israel, and why. After a few minutes, he began to get angry and called her a « liar » because it seemed to him impossible that a 20-year old would come to Palestine for a year for the sole purpose of playing and studying music. He asked her whether or not she had a Palestinian cell phone. She said no because she was afraid of placing her contacts in a bad position. The man stood up and pounded the desk with his fists, saying « You’re a liar, I don’t believe you ! » He then brought Philomène back to the waiting room and asked Bastien to follow him. The same script ; he warned him that his friend is a liar and that he had better not tell any lies. Bastien told him the truth but the officer didn’t believe him, and a dialogue of the deaf ensued. Then he ordered him to bring our Palestinian SIM cards and our camera. Having made Bastien translate all the messages on the cell phone and watch him look at our Paris photos to be sure we weren’t activists, he told him to return to the waiting room.

Two hours later, and after having seen many people leave with a visa, the same officer called to Philomène to follow him. He asked the same questions but this time, he says he is convinced that she has taken part in demonstrations. She insists she hasn’t. He continued until she broke down and started crying. Then it was Bastien’s turn, he was also accused of taking part in demonstrations, and advised to stop lying. He went to his Facebook account and asked whether or not he know a « Marie Ballanger. » Bastien said no, then the officer got angry and said that she was one of his Facebook friends and that she had been refused entry last December Bastien understood then that he had meant « Bérengère, » a friend who had indeed been refused entry recently. At that point he said that he did know her and was immediately insulted because he hadn’t reacted right away. He was then sent back into the waiting room.

By then it was 8 AM, there are only five of us in the small room. We are trembling, we want to throw up, we can’t eat the dry sandwich Israeli security had brought us. Next to us a Russian woman passed out ; a security officer stuffed a suitcase under her feet and waited for her to come to, alone; 15 minutes later, a man came to take care of her. We also saw someone from Chad who, after having handed over all the money he was carrying, was handcuffed and sent away somewhere. A fifty-year-old man, exhausted, was crying in a corner. The wait was growing unbearable, inhuman, we need to walk to feel better. Outside the room we see young people of our age who are also dealing with security, laughing, calling out, using the phone, talking about shopping… completely oblivious.

The officer finally came back to talk to Bastien. He refuses to believe him when he denies having taken part in demonstrations; he asks why he is so nervous, why he is trembling; doesn’t that prove he’s lying? He pretends not to understand that we have already spent 5 1/2 hours there after a day-long plane trip, and at a certain point a normal person can’t take any more. The officer insists that Bastien, being pro-Palestinian, can’t have spent a year in Palestine without having gone to Bil’in, a village known for its resistance. Having never demonstrated, Bastien continued to insist that he hadn’t been there. When Philomène’s turn came, he asked her exactly the same questions. She gave the same answers.

We returned to the waiting room, not knowing what to think; would we get a visa after all ? Would we be denied entry? We fought off sleep and numbness. At 9 AM an Israeli immigration officer came to look for us. He explained that we are too dangerous for their « democracy » and that, although we are students and musicians, they don’t believe us and they are going to bring us to a detention center while we waited for the return flight at 4 PM. From that moment on we are treated like terrorists. We even need to be accompanied to the bathroom. They bring us to the immigration office to take our fingerprints and a photo in order to « telephone our relatives, » according to them. Philomène offers to play the violin because they don’t believe us. The officer answers coldly that he doesn’t like music.

Next they bring us to the search room, where for the space of an hour we are treated as objects. All our bags are opened, all our clothing and other items are checked, then we are strip searched in a dressing room. Total humiliation. They disassemble Bastien’s suitcase and keep it and put all his things in a box. We now have fluorescent stickers on all our bags.

Another wait. We ask when we can use the telephone, we are told « in a few minutes, » which is what we have been hearing all night. Finally at 10:30 AM, we leave the terminal in an armored car that drives us, with the Russian woman, to the detention center.

At the center, our jailers put our things in a room and tell us to take our money and our cigarettes if we want to smoke. Our cell phones are forbidden, but we can finally contact our relatives, eight hours after our arrival. We go out to breathe some fresh air, always accompanied, in a closed courtyard. Then they bring us to a cell, in which we will stay until our flight. Here we are locked up, with no notion of time in a dirty place, covered with fleas and less afraid than feeling a sense of absurdity that makes us laugh slightly. Three and a half hours later we leave.

At 3 PM we finally leave the prison and return to the armored car that drives us directly to the runway where our plane is waiting for us. Another inconvenience : we learn that our flight is to Brussels; if we want to go to Paris, we have to wait another eight hours at the airport. We board the plane; our jailers give our passports to the flight attendants who help us in, looking sorry.

Five hours later (and 17 hours after our landing) our passports are returned to us when we arrive in Brussels, where the Belgian border police is waiting for us. They bring us to an office to check whether we are dangerous for their country. We are not. We decide not to fly back to Paris; we prefer to return to France on our own the following day.

Every year, at Ben Gurion airport, numerous visitors from a variety of origins are treated similarly. Their most elementary human rights are flouted: violation of intimacy, psychological torture, dehumanization, racism, theft, trauma. Few of them present a real danger to Israel. In this way, Israel interferes with the smooth development of a great number of humanitarian, cultural, and other projects. At present, nothing is done about this. What happens at that border is unknown to all. Our states have the power to stop these abuses. We have the obligation to inform as many people as possible so that one day, human rights will be respected at that border. We hope that this testimony can serve to help change this unfortunate reality.

Philomène Constant et Bastien Anthoine, Angers, France, le 22 avril 2015

This account appeared today on the site of AURDIP, Association des Universitaires pour Respect du Droit International en Palestine. It was translated from the French by Michael Harris.

About Philomène Constant and Bastien Anthoine

The authors study musicology at the Université Paris 8. They spent a year in Palestine helping to create a music school in Jericho

Other posts by .


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107 Responses

  1. Jackdaw
    April 30, 2015, 11:14 am

    Le mot juste….naivete.

    • pjdude
      April 30, 2015, 4:47 pm

      its naive to expect to be treated with basic human decency? maybe in in israel but in the civilized world it is not.

    • Dutch
      April 30, 2015, 5:09 pm

      What is that supposed to mean? Ah, okay, you mean the Israeli’s are naive, thinking they get away with this in the long run.

      • Citizen
        April 30, 2015, 6:28 pm

        Meanwhile Israel keeps getting biggest chunk of US foreign aid

    • straightline
      May 1, 2015, 12:07 am

      I’ve almost stopped posting here, though I read avidly, because it’s better to let the hasbarists keep shooting themselves in their collective feet. Jackdaw requires no response in reality. Indeed it worries me that even this response might persuade him/her to stop posting. Keep ’em coming Jackdaw.

      I once spent a scary hour (and only an hour but enough that I came close to missing my flight) at TA airport being quizzed by goons like this – and I’d only visited inside Israel’s internationally recognised borders. I’ve never been treated in this way in any other of the many countries I have visited. I’ll never return.

      • Landie_C
        May 2, 2015, 3:09 pm

        You should post at The Forward. I have read comments from even avowed critics of Israel who claim that Israeli airport screening isn’t all that out of the ordinary and that any excesses can be justified by the need to protect innocent people from terrorism.

        Your personal testimony would mean a lot.

    • eGuard
      May 1, 2015, 3:48 am

      Yes naivete. Google translate adds idiom:

      Excès de confiance. “Votre naïveté pourrait attirer les fraudeurs .”

      Now Jackdaw, stop making these dishonest remarks about Israeli border officers.

    • Boo
      May 1, 2015, 7:10 pm

      Le mot juste … Absurdité.

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2015, 11:31 am

        Perhaps we could say it was “le mot…, Oh, never mind, I’ve told that one before.

  2. amigo
    April 30, 2015, 11:21 am

    Welcome to Israel.Are you Jewish–if not get lost.

    ” he asks why he is so nervous, why he is trembling; doesn’t that prove he’s lying?”customs officer.

    Has he not heard.Israel has a somewhat bad reputation.

    What a country.And we have folks who post here who are proud of this so called light unto the nations.

    Go figure.

    • Pippilin
      April 30, 2015, 12:53 pm

      Israel in so many ways is its own worst enemy. Is it trying to scrap its tourist industry? I’m sure that tourists (not just Jewish tourists) spend quite a bit when visiting this country– but why go there when you can go so many other places where your presence and dollars are welcomed?

      • amigo
        April 30, 2015, 2:18 pm

        “but why go there when you can go so many other places where your presence and dollars are welcomed? “Pippilin.

        Your dollars are welcome–all 3.5 billion of them and all in one payment without conditions most if not all used to build illegal squats for illegal squatters who are most welcome anywhere in the so called “Greater Israel”.

        Of course if you pay homage to Israel and kiss it,s proverbial butt you and your dollars are welcome.

      • Mooser
        April 30, 2015, 5:52 pm

        And these students were going there on a completely musical, nonpolitical mission. But I guess it was Palestinian music, instead of Beethoven or Mozart, so…

      • bryan
        May 1, 2015, 2:19 am

        Perhaps Mooser they played Wagner?

      • Elvira
        May 5, 2015, 1:54 pm

        Yes, Pippilin it is trying to scrap its tourist industry simply because it doesn’t need one. Not while America is babysitting them anyway.

    • barbara lyons
      May 1, 2015, 7:58 am

      I am Jewish and I have never visited Israel. People I know have tried to talk me into going on a free trip to see the wonders of Israel. I have read enough about the “wonders” in books like The General’s Son and the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine to last me a lifetime.
      As a so called “white” American I feel we have to learn to live in peace with our people of color. The Zionist better learn to live with their non-white Jews as well as with the Palestinians. If not the American/Zionist Empire is doomed.

      • VoiceOfTheVoiceless
        May 2, 2015, 1:29 pm

        Bullseye. When a ‘pariah’ regime resorts to attacks on the civil liberties of Westerners it is certainly doomed. Add this to its fascist politics, the imposition of apartheid and most importantly, its relentless genocide of an occupied people.

        It’s only a matter of time.

  3. Krauss
    April 30, 2015, 11:25 am

    Just get rid of this Apartheid state.

  4. a blah chick
    April 30, 2015, 11:28 am

    “He explained that we are too dangerous for their « democracy » ”

    Now that I believe.

  5. eljay
    April 30, 2015, 11:30 am

    || amigo: And we have folks who post here who are proud of this so called light unto the nations. ||

    They call it a “light unto the nations” and a “moral beacon”…and then they defend it as being better than Saudi Arabia, Mali and African “hell-holes”.

    It’s all part of the personality disorder that is Zio-supremacism and the “Jewish State” project.

    • VoiceOfTheVoiceless
      May 2, 2015, 1:31 pm

      “It’s all part of the personality disorder that is Zio-supremacism and the “Jewish State” project”.

      That’s precisely what it is.

      • Mooser
        May 6, 2015, 4:30 am

        It’s all part of the personality disorder that is Zio-supremacism and the “Jewish State” project”.

        Which is called “The Ziocaine Syndrome”. Couple more years it’ll be in the DSM.

  6. just
    April 30, 2015, 11:54 am

    Rarely have I read an account that is this harrowing, and I have read too many. Israel treats people in a criminal fashion. Our governments should be sanctioning them for this alone, but they haven’t and they won’t until people like you and the too many others and the rest of us scream out. So thank you for sharing this.

    It is an abomination that our countries even talk to them. Where was the French consul? Why even have embassies there? Why are they treated with any respect at all? And to think that the US Congress wants a visa waiver program for Israelis to come to the US. pfft!!!

    We know that the goons think that peaceful demonstrations are also dangerous to their “democracy” because the constantly shoot and kill protesters with purpose. And they don’t comprehend that anyone would want to visit Palestinians in Palestine and embrace and trade culture, because they have no culture of their own! I so loved your descriptive “Bastien told him the truth but the officer didn’t believe him, and a dialogue of the deaf ensued.”!

    I am sorry for your horror of an experience. I am so grateful that you shared it, and I will share it far and wide. I think back to when Netanyahu breezed into France (uninvited) and pushed his way to the front of the parade, and then exhorted all French Jews to come live in Israel where they would be safe. Oh, the irony!

    I must stop there because my blood is boiling.

    Merci beaucoup Philomène Constant et Bastien Anthoine. Thanks to Michael Harris for the translation, too.

    PS~ Civilized people should not visit Israel.

    • German Lefty
      April 30, 2015, 3:10 pm

      “Civilized people should not visit Israel.”

      I won’t!

      • lonely rico
        April 30, 2015, 10:23 pm

        “Civilized people should not visit Israel.”

        Un-civilized people too, should not visit Israel.

        I won’t.

    • Elisabeth
      May 1, 2015, 4:48 am

      I remember other harrowing stories: A woman in a wheelchair, whose sanitary napkins were confiscated even though she was menstruating. They made her sit in a puddle of blood for hours to put extra pressure on her.

      • Mooser
        May 2, 2015, 11:36 am

        “A woman in a wheelchair, whose sanitary napkins were confiscated even though she was menstruating. They made her sit in a puddle of blood for hours to put extra pressure on her.”

        Well, if “Jon s” and “Hophmi” weren’t willing to specify what “Even their sexual behavior is different” means, I guess we’ll just have to draw our conclusions (of course, I assume J&H aren’t lying, who would lie about that?) from what we see around us.

      • Kate
        May 2, 2015, 5:47 pm

        I think Elisabeth is referring to the shocking treatment in 2008 of Palestinian-American comedian Maysoon Zayid, who has cerebral palsy.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaCinq8swc4
        “Watch in horror as Maysoon Zayid, an American woman of Palestinian descent was deprived of her medication and sanitary napkins and was left to bleed in the airport terminal !!!!!!”

        Video clip taken from: “The Easiest Targets” ( Five women – Palestinian, American, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish – tell stories of humiliation and harassment by Israeli border guards and airport security officials.)

      • just
        May 2, 2015, 6:17 pm

        ;-((

        Thanks, Kate.

      • DavidDaoud
        May 3, 2015, 3:24 am

        Thanks for the video, Kate; I will share it.
        I notice it was uploaded in 2007 to YouTube and produced by Alternate Focus.

  7. oldgeezer
    April 30, 2015, 12:06 pm

    “We were immediately asked to write our telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. ”

    Good to see that all of the private data being supplied to Israel by our own governments is being put to use.

    There is something wrong when our private lives are being divulged to a state that ignores international law, IHL and is actively involved in oppressing millions of people let alone the rest of their crimes.

    The process these young people were put through is despicable but what else is expected of Israel.

    • Amar
      April 30, 2015, 2:16 pm

      Seen accounts of other travelers where not only their email addresses were demanded, but the passwords as well.

    • Citizen
      April 30, 2015, 6:24 pm

      NSA gives gives all private talk to Israel

  8. Pretext
    April 30, 2015, 12:10 pm

    He explained that we are too dangerous for their « democracy »

    Well, half right is better than nothing I guess.

  9. W.Jones
    April 30, 2015, 1:02 pm

    “. Here we are locked up, with no notion of time in a dirty place, covered with fleas”

    The fleas thing was something new for me to hear.

    Every ay you can learn something new about the Israeli system.

    • Mooser
      May 4, 2015, 8:36 pm

      “The fleas thing was something new for me to hear.”

      You must lead a charmed life. Everyplace I’ve ever been incarcerated was full of vermin.

      • W.Jones
        May 12, 2015, 10:10 pm

        Western countries don’t usually wash the mattresses?

  10. pabelmont
    April 30, 2015, 1:04 pm

    This was a beautiful report of an awful experience. Most awful, of course, is not the wait and the animalistic manner employed by Israel’s gatekeepers, but the denial of entry and the denial of a right to visit the music schools, etc.

    This account should be published in a big newspaper. If France’s media are less under-the-thumb-of-its-own-AIPAC than the USA’s MSM are, perhaps one newspaper can be found which will publish this.

  11. Kay24
    April 30, 2015, 1:39 pm

    France should be outraged that their citizens have been treated like dirt. They sound and act like the nazis.

  12. Steve Macklevore
    April 30, 2015, 2:20 pm

    I felt a lot of deja vue reading this account.

    Israel really is a shitty little country to quote the Daniel Bernard, a French diplomat.

  13. no.kidding
    April 30, 2015, 3:04 pm

    Exactly this happened to me at Ben Gurion 18 years ago. I was kept there for 2 days and not allowed to call anyone, then driven onto the runway in a police car and deported! Plus ca change!

  14. German Lefty
    April 30, 2015, 3:08 pm

    Wow, what an experience! I just sent a tweet to the French-German TV channel ARTE. I hope it will pick up the story.

    • just
      April 30, 2015, 10:58 pm

      +1, German Lefty! Thank you!

    • Theo
      May 1, 2015, 12:16 pm

      Lefty

      Your hope is hopeless, you should know that in Germany and France the press and TV are forbidden to write or say anything negative about that “only democracy in the ME”!

  15. Citizen
    April 30, 2015, 6:21 pm

    French intellectuals from Sartre to LEVY BLAME it ll on Goy DNA

  16. Kathleen
    April 30, 2015, 9:01 pm

    Sorry you had to go through this. However just more evidence of an apartheid state. Not allowed to participate in protest…and you did not…and were still harassed and deported. Israel is not a democracy

  17. chocopie
    April 30, 2015, 9:05 pm

    One more reason to boycott all of Israel’s cultural output. Again and again we see how Israel limits Palestinian access to arts, cultural exchange, and artistic expression. Dancers, cartoonists, thespians, musicians–they are all targets of Israeli repression.

  18. Tom Suarez
    May 1, 2015, 2:07 am

    Those of us here at the Conservatory who have had the honor of working with Philomene and Bastien all devastated by what has happened. The incident is of course hardly unusual, but this instance was particularly upsetting.

    As regards the comment “why go there when you can go so many other places”, hopefully this statement was intended to be ironic, but to be sure, they were not going to Israel. They were going to Palestine, where they were welcomed. A foreign military blocked them.

    • Philip Munger
      May 1, 2015, 3:05 am

      Thanks for the comment and clarification, Tom.

      I’m a university music professor in Alaska. Today I gave my last final exam before the end of the spring term. Then I read this latest episode of petty harassment.

      The Israeli government touts its support for and excellence in the arts. Yet we see instance after instance of their repression of artistic expression in the Occupied Territories.

      I teach my students that art unifies, that it creates ties that universalize what humanity is and can be.

      Please share more, if you think it is appropriate, on what they did while there that helped raise the human spirit at a conservatory that somehow survives, even thrives, under such repression.

    • just
      May 1, 2015, 9:22 am

      Thank you, Tom. I can only imagine how awful all of you feel. What a cruel and unnecessary loss.

      “They were going to Palestine, where they were welcomed. A foreign military blocked them.”

      That is clear.

      Thanks for your comment and question, Philip.

    • Mooser
      May 1, 2015, 11:27 am

      “but to be sure, they were not going to Israel. They were going to Palestine, where they were welcomed. A foreign military blocked them.”

      Thanks. You put it exactly right.

  19. bryan
    May 1, 2015, 2:45 am

    They do this because they can get away with it. I don’t know about France, but my European Union United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland passport proudly states: “Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State Requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary”. If I had received so little assistance and so much hindrance, I would be determined to take the matter as far as I could. Perhaps national papers might not print the story, but local papers surely would. There are plenty of internet sites which cannot be self-censored in the same way as the mainstream media. I would insist of my Member of Parliament that he / she advise me of the steps Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State would take to make the proud proclamation more than simple verbiage. I would contact my embassy with a formal complaint about my mistreatment. As a recent alumni I would contact my college, where there are surely BDS campaigning groups who might respond to my personal mistreatment. When you are treated like sh*t you have to do some stirring.

  20. activist grandma
    May 1, 2015, 8:30 am

    There is no conceivable justification for this brutal harassment even if they HAD taken part in protests, in Palestine or anywhere. Isn’t that one of the meanings of democracy?

  21. RockyMissouri
    May 1, 2015, 10:47 am

    These young people are beyond courageous, and I am overwhelmed by their bravery.!! They have inspired my hope, and reawakened my faith in humanity. At least, some of it.

  22. Vera Gottlieb
    May 1, 2015, 11:12 am

    There is a price to be paid for all this abuse. How much longer???

  23. no.kidding
    May 1, 2015, 11:57 am

    So right Chocopie, and not just the arts. They have shot several Palestinian footballers in the feet, and informed them they will not play again! Why have they not been kicked out of Fifa yet?

    • DavidDaoud
      May 2, 2015, 2:46 am

      It was a hospital in Ramallah which informed the young men that they will not be able to engage in sports again. How they deal with that I don’t know.

  24. Theo
    May 1, 2015, 12:27 pm

    In the good old days when we had the Iron Curtain separating the west and the “liberated” east european countries, I crossed into communist countries many times, however nothing similar have I ever experienced or seen.
    It looks like Israel is turning into a bloody hysterical apartheid state, where anyone not jewish is immediately a suspect or even an enemy of the state.
    The germans did not do anything to stop the the takeover of their country by sick nationalists, the jews of this world should learn from that tragedy. Say good bye to zionism and go back to your traditional jewish culture, because when that brown stuff hits the fan in Israel, it will spoil all of you all over the world.

    • Mooser
      May 2, 2015, 11:39 am

      “Say good bye to zionism and go back to your traditional jewish culture”

      Cultures, plural, with an “s”.

  25. DavidDaoud
    May 1, 2015, 1:19 pm

    I spent more than two years living in Nablus, during which I worked at An-Najah National University – http://www.najah.edu – as a volunteer in the Public Relations Department. This was from April of 2001 until end of June 2003, during the Intifada, unique experience for me, but nothing unusual for my Palestinian friends. My time in Palestine ended abruptly when I was arrested at an unexpected checkpoint for the crime of living with the enemy, and exceeding the 3-month visa issued to me at Ben Gurion on my arrival on Dec. 15, 2000.

    I was held for exactly one week at Ramle Immigration Prison. There, I had the rather precious opportunity of meeting foreign nationals, tradesmen who had worked in Israel, some of them for many years, vastly exceeding their visas and sometimes developing relationships with Israeli women. Many Africans, Chinese, Eastern Europeans, including the idiosyncratic Russian, Igor, who failed to convince his jailors of his Jewishness. All deported. I have to tell you that some of the African guys had been there for months due to ineptness of their consular reps.

    When I was released from there, along with many of my new friends, I was taken to a huge auditorium at Ben Gurion airport. I know it was 7:30pm Thurs. night when I sat down, joining several hundred others. Authorities called out names one by one, and slowly men left with their luggage to waiting planes.

    At 8am the next morning, one man was still sitting there. Guess who.

    I was taken to a cell at the airport where I remained in isolation until Sunday. Thinking that I was finally being deported to Canada, I soon discovered myself on a plane to Prague. I saw Praha from the air! As with the young people in this story, my passport was handed that plane’s to flight attendants. You never know what’s going to happen until it happens, because they tell you nothing or they lie.

    It wasn’t until I finally boarded a flight from there to Toronto, Canada that I finally had my passport in my possession and actually ate a meal. I arrived in Toronto with Israeli Shekels in my pocket not knowing what in hell I was going to do!

    I empathize with what those two young French music students went through.

    • Elvira
      May 5, 2015, 10:41 am

      David, I really really symphatize with yourself and the two French students.

      My own experience was bad enough at Allenby , with stupid questions about what I did in my spare time and if i had friends outside the university. I was going to teach at Bethlehem University and already worked at 2 other universities.
      And – why do they give our passports to the driver or captain?? How can we escape?? Amred guards are at Allenby and the airport too, I am sure.The woman never told me where my passport was.. Surely we have a right to know where it is?? I stood near the bus and the woman said sit here please, referring to the bench. So , ladies and gentlemen, it seems that we need to apply for a permit to stand now from the Israelis.

  26. Veti
    May 1, 2015, 7:07 pm

    Everything about Israel disgusts me. Try flying into Tel Aviv as a Palestinian, nearly all women are strip searched. The Israeli who do this, are perverted nuts. The Israeli who sit on their asses and never speak up are nuts.

  27. Boo
    May 1, 2015, 7:16 pm

    “Any musical innovation is full of danger to the whole State, and ought to be prohibited.”
    — Plato

    “When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake.”
    — Ed Sanders

    cf. Jericho

    • Mooser
      May 2, 2015, 11:42 am

      Watch those tri-tones! Those idle tones are the Devil’s playground.

  28. TRG-42
    May 2, 2015, 8:17 am

    Israel i a fascist society which should not exist at all, illegal ‘nation’

  29. Kris
    May 2, 2015, 10:22 am

    Many thanks to these wonderful young people for sharing their horrible experience in Israel.

    I can’t help wondering why “jackdaw” seems to be the only hasbarist who has commented on this article. Where is everyone else?

    Doesn’t someone who lives in Israel or loves Israel want to explain why treating people this way is acceptable?

    • hola8276
      May 3, 2015, 6:09 pm

      @Kris

      Personally, I’m truly sorry to hear about the occurrence of such events.

      The fact that it happens doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. I could tell you a few stories as an alien arriving in the USA and the shaming treatment I received, even though I was doing everything completely legally – entering with an artist visa. I don’t think most Americans would view this as acceptable, but it happens all the time.

      Also, with respect to non jews in Israel, of course a lot of progress still needs to be made. And yet, there is significant Arab representation in the parliament, and from my own perspective, and this relates specifically to this story – I think my former school – ‘Jerusalem Academy of Music’, is a great example of an institution where all kinds of music and students fuse, including Arabs.

      I think you won’t find a lot of ‘hasbarists’ commenting here, because a quick browsing of this site and some of the comments on this page even, suggests that the activity is mostly about fueling hatred of Israel and wishing it gone, not about criticism that is meant to bring change.

      The Israeli media very often criticizes government, and there are many good people and organizations that do the same and act towards change. You can easily find evidence for this online, but you have to want to do so of course. I don’t feel I can say the same about Palestinian self-criticism (for example, why hamas so much money on terror tunnels, instead of education, welfare, government, etc.) – though I would love to be proven wrong.

      • oldgeezer
        May 3, 2015, 11:57 pm

        @hola8276

        No it doesn’t happen everywhere.

        Your post may have been believable if you hadn’t launched into the stereotypical zionist apologist hasbara line.

        An artificially created minority is permitted to participate in governing (ignoring that certain positions are off limits due to so called security considerations, ignoring the repeated efforts to reduce and minimize the impact of their participation). Surprised you didn’t throw in the fact that a supreme court judge was a Palestinian. After all, everyone knows Obama being president is proof that racism doesn’t exist in the US.

        There are many good people and organizations who criticize the government. They are targetted as traitors by those in the Knesset. Their lives are threatened and people are beaten in the street for looking like a leftist let alone being one.

        So much more but terror tunnels sealed it. They were used for smuggling and for attacks on the IDF.

        You don’t seek discourse, just the usual excuses and defamation of all who appose you.

      • Citizen
        May 4, 2015, 3:03 pm

        @ hola8276
        Please tell us of your bad experiences when you enter US at one of its airports. We Americans would like to know as we never get info on this from our main media. Also, before you characterize this MW web site and its followers, commenters, please consider that the US main media rarely criticizes any aspect of Israel, but instead we Americans get hasbara nonstop–I agree Israeli media does discuss more objectively Israel, but most Americans never read any Israeli media. In this context, I think you are dead wrong with your generalizations about MW site–its samizdat USA, not otherwise.

      • Mooser
        May 6, 2015, 4:36 am

        “bout fueling hatred of Israel and wishing it gone, not about criticism that is meant to bring change.”

        Yeah, yeah, I get it. Let’s dilly-dally and pull pills, and if we can draw it out long enough, maybe all the Palestinians will be gone.

      • hola8276
        May 6, 2015, 5:02 am

        @Mooser

        The Palestinian population is growing, so I don’t think there is a danger of it going away. I’m loving your posts though, your thoughts are so progressive and enlightened.. yup, there is the solution to everything, keep going!

      • Annie Robbins
        May 6, 2015, 9:09 am

        The Israeli media very often criticizes government, and there are many good people and organizations that do the same and act towards change. You can easily find evidence for this online, but you have to want to do so of course.

        we’re already aware the israeli media publishes criticism of israel, many of our articles are sourced by israeli media. still, it doesn’t change the apartheid practices just because those practices are reported in the media.

        I don’t feel I can say the same about Palestinian self-criticism (for example, why hamas so much money on terror tunnels, instead of education, welfare, government, etc.)

        hamas spends peanuts on defense in comparison to what the US and israel spend on israel’s terrorizing occupation/military expenditures. if that money had been diverted to an equitable system of education, infrastructure and welfare in israel instead of investment in settlements and colonial expansionist policies we wouldn’t be having this conversation. your hypocrisy is noted. and the tunnels help sustain a population strangled by the blockade.

        I think you won’t find a lot of ‘hasbarists’ commenting here, because a quick browsing of this site and some of the comments on this page even, suggests that the activity is mostly about fueling hatred of Israel and wishing it gone, not about criticism that is meant to bring change.

        you’re wrong. first of all, we have a constant stream of hasbarists here every day. just not many on this thread. second, our criticism (along with others)is exposing israel and fueling a change in the US conversation about the apartheid state. otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.

      • Kris
        May 6, 2015, 11:21 am

        @hola8276: I think my former school – ‘Jerusalem Academy of Music’, is a great example of an institution where all kinds of music and students fuse, including Arabs.”

        It’s nice to “see” a new face here, hola8276, but “Arabs”? Did you mean to say Palestinians?

        I was interested to learn, through google, that the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance is a very elite school in Israel. In December, 2014, a group of alumni and former faculty members from the school called for JAMD students to refuse to enlist in the IDF http://972mag.com/jerusalem-high-school-alumni-call-on-students-to-refuse-military-draft/100587/ From the article:

        “Just three months ago reservists from the secretive Unit 8200 declared their refusal to serve in the army. Now a group of alumni from the Jerusalem’s Israel Arts and Sciences Academy (IASA) are calling on the school’s students to do the same and refuse to enlist. There are many similarities between the two groups: if Unit 8200 is considered to be one of the most elite units in the army, then IASA is its educational equivalent.

        “The school, established in 1990, was formed “to serve as a unique school for gifted and talented students from across the country.” The boarding school picks the most outstanding students from across the country in a lengthy and arduous screening process that lasts nearly a year. Those who are picked study either humanities, sciences, art or music. As opposed to the soldiers of 8200, the alumni of IASA, who were also joined by former faculty members, are doing more than simply declaring their own personal refusal – they are going one step further and calling on future graduates to refuse to enlist in the IDF. From the letter:

        “The Israeli military is responsible for the mundane systematic mechanisms of oppression used against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories while also taking part in the oppression and dispossession of the non-Jewish citizens of the State of Israel. The military serves as an enabler to a separation-regime based on the notion of an ethnic superiority of Jews over Palestinians; a regime which denies basic human rights, enforces separate legal systems to different populations in the West Bank, and which has institutionalized a system of ethnic-based discrimination in the ‘48 territory.”

      • hola8276
        May 7, 2015, 12:08 am

        @Annie Robbins

        we’re already aware the israeli media publishes criticism of israel, many of our articles are sourced by israeli media.

        I was not insinuating that you did not know that. My comment was in response to @Kris asking for someone to explain why ‘treating this people is acceptable’. My response was meant to point out that many (a significant many) Israelis would find it inacceptable.

        hamas spends peanuts on defense in comparison to what the US and israel spend on israel’s terrorizing occupation/military expenditures. if that money had been diverted to an equitable system of education, infrastructure and welfare in israel instead of investment in settlements and colonial expansionist policies we wouldn’t be having this conversation. your hypocrisy is noted. and the tunnels help sustain a population strangled by the blockade.

        I will ignore you calling me a hypocrite for now, because otherwise this thread would become much less constructive. I mostly agree with your point on the US and Israeli spending. Regarding hamas, I strongly disagree – the spending is not for ‘defense’, it’s clearly spent on aggression, they are not under attack unless they show aggression. They are not under attack because Israel has very little interest to attack them, there is nothing to gain. Life in Israel is very good compared to life in Gaza. After all, the current Israeli government would be fairly satisfied with the status quo, especially if there were never any missiles launched at Israel. One of the biggest criticism of them, within Israel, is that they have no plan, no talk of a resolution, no vision. Not even one that follows their own twisted view, let alone a peaceful one.

        I think a better argument on your behalf would be that if hamas didn’t stir up things, Israel would keep ignoring the problem. But that still brings us back to the provocation and violence of Hamas, which in the end serves in favor of the Israeli right (at least within the Israeli population). It allows the government to keep marketing to the Israeli citizens: “see? these people can’t be trusted..”

        The tunnels are not there because of the blockade, the blockade is there because of the tunnels and how they are used. Are you also claiming that there is no connection between Iran, Qatar, Hamas? Iran and Hizbollah? Is Hizbollah there to protect Lebanon of Israel’s ‘colonialism’? If you live in Israel, being wrong about these connections and funding that supports aggression doesn’t end in saying ‘whoops’. You are so supportive and dismissive of the act of a regime that does this:

        http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2015/04/27/confirmed-un-admits-palestinians-stored-rockets-in-unrwa-schools-and-highly-likely-used-school-premises-to-launch-attacks/

        Is that not hypocrisy? Condemning the IDF, but not condemning this? You’re allowed to do both you know. Be progressive.

        There is no contradiction between criticizing how Hamas spends their money and criticizing how the US and Israel do. The two go very well together.

        you’re wrong. first of all, we have a constant stream of hasbarists here every day. just not many on this thread. second, our criticism (along with others)is exposing israel and fueling a change in the US conversation about the apartheid state. otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.

        Ah, again with the propoganda – call Israel the apartheid state at every chance, and call anyone that challenges your views a ‘hasbarist’. That’s how you hope to make a difference. Are you referring to the West Bank, or are you talking about the Palestinians living within Israel with an Israeli passport? I hope not, because drawing a comparison between their status and South African apartheid is ridiculous. I’ve said it on this page, several times – you should criticize Israel, I have no problem with that or with you fueling that change. I can’t and won’t tell you how to do it, but I think often the way it’s done is counter productive. You’re making it hard for people who might agree with you (sometimes, always, whatever), show that support. Your language is just antagonizing. And I find it frustrating that people living so far away think they have everything figured out – so sure they’re right about everything (often learned from reading alone), so many over simplifications. You are not bound by the outcomes of your opinions on this matter, as Israelis and Palestinians are.

        You may be fueling change in the US conversation. But that is not why I am here. I am here because I am Israeli, and I wanted to express my views. Someone I know shared this story (an Israeli btw), and I clicked. I had no problems with the story – what made me start posting were some of the comments here that seem driven by pure hatred (I am not saying that all of them are), such as: Israel is a fascist society which should not exist at all, illegal ‘nation.

        Well, sorry guys, I was born there, whether it should have existed or not, and I’ll likely have to go back (it’s amazing how many people I’ve met that think Israelis can just become US citizens at will), so I try to think about how life could be made possible for everyone there, instead of perpetuating hate.

        @Kris

        I meant to say “Arabs”. I was thinking about Jews and Arabs, so often considered enemies in history. And you’d be surprised to hear that some of my ex-fellow classmates/professors would identify as Arab Israelis. Some would definitely not, and would identify as Palestinians. Some would see themselves as both. I appreciate the subtlety of your comment but I’ll leave it up to them to decide.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 7, 2015, 1:34 am

        Ah, again with the propoganda – call Israel the apartheid state at every chance, and call anyone that challenges your views a ‘hasbarist’.

        au contraire i do not call everyone who challenges my views a hasbarist nor do i call israel an apartheid state “at every chance”. furthermore, if you dish it out — be prepared to eat crow when it’s thrown back at you.

        The tunnels are not there because of the blockade, the blockade is there because of the tunnels and how they are used.

        what bs. the embargo was set in place to take effect immediately after hamas won the election and before the inauguration. the tunnels are a direct consequence of the blockade.

        I was not insinuating that you did not know that.

        you stated “You can easily find evidence for this online, but you have to want to do so of course.” which does insinuate readers here are unaware the israeli press publishes criticism of israel.

        My comment was in response to @Kris asking for someone to explain why ‘treating this people is acceptable’.

        kris wondered where the hasbrats were and why they were not here in droves defending israel on this thread. your diversion to the israeli media publishing criticism of israel is a diversionary tactic.

        I will ignore you calling me a hypocrite for now

        don’t. it’s relevant.

        Regarding hamas, I strongly disagree – the spending is not for ‘defense’, it’s clearly spent on aggression, they are not under attack unless they show aggression.

        perhaps you fundamentally misunderstand hamas. prior to hamas firing missles at israel last summer israel carried out a weeks long pogrom (collective punishment)against the palestinian people. they invaded homes, arrested hundreds of people (reneging on the gilad shalit exchange rearresting prisoners from the exchange pandering to the rtwg factions who resented the deal), killed people (including children), all under the false pretense of searching for the teens the gov of israel already knew were dead. it (the teen kidnapping/murder) was not a hamas operation. so no, hamas’s actions were in defense and in response to weeks apon weeks of brutal west bank pogrom. hamas is the duly elected representatives of the palestinian people, both in the west bank and gaza. and the palestinian people were most definitely “under attack”. it just so happened the response came from gaza. but you’re totally wrong with your claim “they are not under attack unless they show aggression.” the palestinian people did not “show agression” before the pogrom. quite the contrary.

        drawing a comparison between their status and South African apartheid is ridiculous.

        democracy now: “Ex-U.N. Official John Dugard: Israel’s Crimes are “Infinitely Worse” Than in Apartheid South Africa” VIDEO MAY 6, 2015 http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2015/5/6/ex_un_official_john_dugard_israel

        You’re making it hard for people who might agree with you (sometimes, always, whatever), show that support. Your language is just antagonizing.

        bummer. truth isn’t always comfortable.

        some of the comments here that seem driven by pure hatred

        accusations of hatred are a mainstay of israel’s defenders. it’s merely an ad hominem — not very effective actually. and the “pure” does nothing but double down. try talking about your own hatred instead of pretending to know what’s in the hearts of others.

        so I try to think about how life could be made possible for everyone there, instead of perpetuating hate.

        not really. if you were not perpetuating hate you wouldn’t be inserting it into the discussion. btw, i don’t hate you. i don’t travel in hate, you’re definitely not worth it. as a rule i don’t accuse my adversaries of hatred. it’s just a transparently flawed propaganda tool/ cheap trick (boring and weak ad hominem).

      • RoHa
        May 7, 2015, 1:53 am

        Mmmmm…. crow!

      • Mooser
        May 8, 2015, 3:50 am

        “I will ignore you calling me a hypocrite for now”

        Annie: “don’t. it’s relevant.”

        That was beautiful. Of course, he wants to ignore his own hypocrisy, but he’s doing you a favor by doing it! Okay.

  30. brown_cond
    May 2, 2015, 4:21 pm

    Those sort of things happen in every country, not only in Israel,
    it’s true it’s not fun, but there are enough horror stories everywhere on the globe.
    If you try to demonize Israel with this story – frankly I think it’s quite pathetic
    Just make a quick search about those kind of “adventures” in US airports or what muslims need to endure in European airports. You will find some days and days of reading material.

    So to all of you, who obviously just need a reason to hate Israel more, since you already hate Israel and pretend that those kind of stories just give you a reason not to come here to check for yourself how much is Israel really Satan itself – I would say this:
    As a jew I can only imagine what I would have to suffer if I only try to enter Iran, Irak or Saudi Arabia. I would probably lose my head…. and the same would probably be done to me if I only try to enter Ramallah.
    So whatever arabs need to endure to enter Israel – it’s nothing compare to what I would endure to anter an arab country.

    So to sumarize it, this story is not special – it happens everywhere.
    If you think Israel is the only one doing problems with airport security,
    You’re living in a bery naive and dreamy world.

    • DavidDaoud
      May 3, 2015, 4:02 am

      Brown_cond, you don’t know about the sizable Jewish population of Iran? I think it’s about 25,000. These people are Iranians who have no desire to emigrate to Israel.

      Ramallah? I know an Israeli Jewish woman who used to live there with her Palestinian husband and children. They now live in Nablus.

      In Morocco, where I live, André Azoulay is senior advisor to King Mohammed VI. The man is Jewish.

      I don’t know about Saudi Arabia or Iraq.

      • Walid
        May 3, 2015, 11:56 am

        “I don’t know about Saudi Arabia or Iraq.” (DavidDaoud)

        For the northeastern part of Iraq which has become the autonomous Kurdistan al-Iraq, Israelis have been very welcome since the first Gulf War. For over 10 years, about 500 Israeli companies were involved in rebuilding the region’s infrastructures including the airport. As to all other Arab countries, Jews including Israeli ones using non-Israeli passports have been welcomed everywhere. After the 2006 war, Liza Goldman entering Lebanon on her Canadian passport filed a report for Israel’s Channel 10 News from downtown Beirut and the Israeli authorities were more upset about it than the Lebanese ones. Till today, 4 Beirut TV stations provide a weekly digest of Israel’s news taken from Israeli stations with a fifth one running almost daily clips of what’s happening in Israeli filed by a reporter based in Haifa.

        A few years back, an Israeli motel owner in north Israel and a bon-vivant was caught in Lebanon that had been entering almost every weekend to party in Beirut using his German passport. After 24 hours, he was put on a plane to Germany to be flown to Israel from there without any fuss.

        As to Saudi Arabia, Israeli leaders were invited twice to inter-faith seminars sponsored by the Saudi royals and Israel’s FM has been welcomed more than once to the UAE and to Oman. A Saudi prince recently declared that they were more afraid of the Iranians than of the Israelis.

        The ones all paranoid about Arabs-Jews contacts are the Israelis and Jews like brown_cond.

    • zolH
      May 3, 2015, 7:26 am

      Sure, it might happen elsewhere, but in this particular case we are talking about Tel Aviv. The two young people give an account of their experiences at Ben Gurion. Sadly, they are not the only ones this has happened to.

      It is a legitimate criticism, you know. There are other (serviceminded) ways to treat people and welcome travelers and still maintain security.

      I am curious to know how this type of harassments is covered by the Israeli media. Anyone?

      • Elvira
        May 5, 2015, 1:58 pm

        ZolH, haaretz did cover articles on denied entry /airport humiliation etc from time to time, especially Matthew Kalman

    • Theo
      May 3, 2015, 8:54 am

      In my long life I have visited over 60 countries, many of them dictatorships, however I have never seen anything like what is contstantly reported from the Tel Aviv airport. This article is just one of many illustrating the crude and inhuman treatment of arriving passengers who do not wear a kippa.
      You mention arab countries. I visited quite a few of them, even talked to jews living there who did not have complaints about their lives and would not move to Israel under any circumstances! Perhaps that is the best indication that something smells terrible in the state of Israel when jews would not want to live there!!!
      It seems you are the one who is very naive and brainwashed, through that pink coloured glasses of zionism you do not see what huge damages do you do to the jewish cultures, (thank you Mooser for the info). Eventually all jews all over the world will end up paying one way or another for the crimes commited by the state you so defend or do you think the arabs will forever stay put and allow you to usurp their land?

      • just
        May 3, 2015, 12:11 pm

        “In my long life I have visited over 60 countries, many of them dictatorships, however I have never seen anything like what is contstantly reported from the Tel Aviv airport.”

        Big ditto, Theo. The same goes for my very well- traveled friends and family. It’s so important that this kind of article gets passed along and that governments/lawmakers are made aware of these terrible, and all too frequent, incidents.

    • Kris
      May 3, 2015, 10:52 am

      @brown_cond: “As a jew I can only imagine what I would have to suffer if I only try to enter Iran, Irak or Saudi Arabia. I would probably lose my head…. and the same would probably be done to me if I only try to enter Ramallah.”

      Really, it would be better to seek out information; depending on your imagination is not a good strategy. Google is a wonderful tool:

      As a Jew, it’s safe for you to go to Iran, but if you’re an Israeli, you probably won’t be allowed to enter the country.

      http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/19/387265766/irans-jews-its-our-home-and-we-plan-to-stay

      As an American, no matter what your religion, you should probably stay out of Iraq. I don’t know about Israelis; here’s an article from Israel talking up tourism to Iraq: http://www.jewishpost.com/archives/culture/iraqi-jews-preserving-a-rich-heritage.html

      As a Jew, Saudi Arabia is safe for you (assuming you don’t deal/buy drugs, steal, insult people, violate cultural norms) but if you are an Israeli, you won’t be allowed into the country: http://www.timesofisrael.com/saudi-arabia-denies-allowing-jews-to-work-in-country/

      As for Ramallah, Jewish visitors are safe from violence from Palestinians. Not sure how safe you would be from violence committed by Israeli Jews: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293977-i1733-k7105486-Is_it_safe_and_easy_to_visit_Ramallah-Israel.html

      It is probably sensible policy for countries not to allow Israelis to enter, since Israelis have been responsible for so many false flag operations. But they don’t seem to be targetting Jews.

    • ckg
      May 3, 2015, 12:03 pm

      As a jew I can only imagine what I would have to suffer if I only try to enter Iran, Irak or Saudi Arabia. I would probably lose my head…. and the same would probably be done to me if I only try to enter Ramallah.

      Last time I saw photos of Ramallah residents Adam Shapiro and Tali Shapiro (unrelated AFAIK), their heads were firmly intact. I’m pretty sure there was no Photoshopping their heads on.

    • just
      May 3, 2015, 12:07 pm

      “As a jew I can only imagine what I would have to suffer….”

      You need go no further, brown_cond.

      • oldgeezer
        May 3, 2015, 12:38 pm

        @just

        Well said. And not much more can, or needs, to be said.

    • Elvira
      May 5, 2015, 10:47 am

      Brown, the Israelis do it far more than anyone else, and no other country I have visited has dehumanised me or treated me like a criminal. As for you entering an Arab country, and what you would endure, many Israelis have entered Lebanon, Jordan etc incognito and if you have any sense, you’d keep your mouth shut about being Jewish. As someone of Jewish descent myself, I had no problems in Oman.
      And why do you Israelis always talk about treatment of Jews in Arab countries when anyone criticises you? Your potential treatment in an Arab country is not relevant to the plight of Philomene and her friend.
      And for the record , it doesn’t happen everywhere, I can only recall the courtesy and friendlieness from Immigration/security in London, Muscat Istanbul, Malaga, Split etc etc. No bullying or harassment.

      • eljay
        May 5, 2015, 11:20 am

        || Elvira: … And why do you Israelis always talk about treatment of Jews in Arab countries when anyone criticises you? … ||

        Amazing, isn’t it? Zio-supremacists spend copious amounts of time boasting about how Israel is a “Western-style democracy”, a “light unto the nations” and a “moral beacon”. But the moment they have to defend it, their boasts are forgotten and they’re in your face about how Israel isn’t as bad as Saudi Arabia, Mali and African “hell-holes”.

  31. DavidDaoud
    May 3, 2015, 3:27 am

    I posted this article to my Facebook wall.

    One of my friends was astonished that the two young music students told the truth to Israeli authorities about wanting to go to Ramallah and gave their reasons for going there.

    She said that they should have concocted a story as so many activists do. My friend thought their suffering was partly their own fault, for not dealing intelligently with the reality of what Israel has become.

    • Walid
      May 3, 2015, 12:20 pm

      “they should have concocted a story as so many activists do.”

      DavidDaoud, the airport goons in Israel know very well where travelers are headed before asking their questions since they receive the passenger manifest before the planes actually take off for Israel. The no-fly advance-notice list policy currently in effect in the US and about to be put into effect by Canada is an Israeli concept; the basic difference is that the US prevents passengers from getting on planes headed for the US or Canada and Israel blocks them at the TA airport and sends them back to where they came from. It’s obvious the 2 kids were targetted for expulsion before the first question was asked of them. The multiple questioning sessions and stalling were part of goons’ theatrics.

      • Elvira
        May 5, 2015, 10:50 am

        Yes, Walid, almost certainly, the Israelis knew. You can feel that in interrogations they already know the answer. It is tempting to argue that they should have said they were tourists, but from what I understand they had already spent a significant period in the West Bank( was it a year) so the Israelis would have dubious about that.

      • DavidDaoud
        May 5, 2015, 1:08 pm

        Elvira, you bring up an interesting point.

        Here, from the first paragraph of the article:
        “After taking our baccalauréat exams at the end of high school, we left in September 2013 to spend a YEAR living in Palestine.” From that I assume they were actually in Ramallah for a full year.

        But how is that possible, when Israel issues a 3-month visa to tourists upon arrival at Ben Gurion? Did they go to the Israeli Ministry of the Interior to have their visas extended two times? The article fails to mention anything about this.

    • Mooser
      May 3, 2015, 6:16 pm

      And if they concocted a story, they would have degraded themselves (what do they have to be ashamed of, why should they need to lie?) and also, lied to Security, which will probably, when discovered (what plausible lie could they concoct?), leave them open to further mistreatment.

      • Elvira
        May 5, 2015, 2:05 pm

        DavidDaoud,

        The system changed a little bit in 2007. Since 2000, Israel stopped issuing work permits, and up until 2006/7 most people had to leave every 3 months and go to Jordan,. extensions were not granted. When I was working there, extensions just came in, and we got them until end date of our contracts – so visa could be 8 months or less depending when 3 month visa expired but a tourist visa, B2 which was stamped no work permitted even though we submitted our work contracts.
        In theory, Cogat ( Army for the West Bank) say you can have 27 months of extensions but that doesn’t happen, some people are there for 5 , 10. 15 years others kicked out in 1 or 2 years.
        I remember applying for an extension just 10 days before my year visa expired and a note came back saying she has to leave the country and come back. Maybe these 2 people did or tried the same?

      • Elvira
        May 5, 2015, 2:14 pm

        Yes, Mooser, it was a no win situation and as you say why did they need to lie? Visiting the Palestinians is not a crime and one would have thought that being honest would not give Israeli security a reason to deny entry.

        So do you think the Israelis knew in advance, long before these two approached passport control that they were heading for Ramallah? It would seem so. It reminds me of my own experience, i think i too was targeted for expulsion before I came to the desk, I remember a woman in a suit sitting a few yards away from passport control asking me was I a tourist and I thought nothing of it and then the girl at passport control smiled first, and then turned nasty when she saw the screen.

  32. hola8276
    May 4, 2015, 11:34 pm

    @oldgeezer

    ‘believable’? Which part of my story do you not believe? I have very little interest to lie about anything here.

    Yes, violence and unjust acts do happen everywhere. I don’t think I was defaming anyone in my recent post. I do think you are hugely over-generalizing with bits of sad truths, to try and portray entire societies as evil.

    To address some of your points, obviously there is much racism in the USA. And yet, Obama being president certainly conveys that there has been progress made in the past 50 years.

    Has there been violence against leftists in Israel? yes. But there have also been huge leftist demonstrations and activism — as an Israeli leftist, believe me, I am not afraid to walk the streets. Not sure what you mean by ‘looking like one’. Sadly, conflicting political/religious views and protests often deteriorate to violent conflicts – again, this happens not only in Israel. It happens daily, in the UK, France, USA, China, Argentina, and on and on.

    Terror tunnels. You emphasize my point – so what if they are meant for smuggling and attacking IDF? Don’t you think those millions of dollars could be spent more wisely for Gaza’s good?

    You’re right about one thing. I don’t seek discourse with people who are trying to vent frustrations, instead of being practical, seeking solutions that can improve life for everyone. If you wish to make this into taking turns bad-mouthing each other, I’ll pass.

    @Citizen

    I get your point about USA media (sure fox news and all that), it’s of course supportive of Israel relative to European media and such. Although I have to tell you, I have been living in the USA for a while. Last summer I was constantly listening to radio, watching TV, podcasts etc. There were a numerous shows that gave voice to anti-Israel opinions, especially on NPR, for example, and CNN as well. In my experience this was not a rare thing (this was California, I know that this also varies across the US).

    I think it’s important that Israel is criticized and stories like this one are posted. However, the content on MW seems one sided. If you feel this balances things for you, with respect to the American media, so be it. I’m just not sure what the motive is here? That hopefully one day Israel is dispersed? Isn’t that unlikely?

    Shouldn’t the motive be to, again, improve life for everyone? By that view, I think that some of the verbally violent comments below this news story only weaken the story’s potential strength. That is where I was going with my generalizations about MW.

    • oldgeezer
      May 4, 2015, 11:50 pm

      Which part don’t I believe? Ah all of it. You used every single sound bite of zionist apologists. You’re a leftist. Yeah like there are liberal zionists.

      I didn’t generalize about any society. My comments were about the regime which runs Israel. There are many good Israelis who campaign agains the vile racists that rule that country and kill women, children and families to advance the theft of land in support of their Eretz Israel project.

      “Terror tunnels. You emphasize my point –” No I don’t. You haven’t provided a single piece of evidence of the money spent on these tunnels and you totally ignored the fact that Hamas became popular not because of their use of violence to overthrow their oppression and illegal actions perpetrated by Israel but because of their social welfare actions. In fact you implied they should do more when they do the most.

      “But there have also been huge leftist demonstrations and activism ” Yep there’s that famed Israeli democracy and free speech at work.

      You claim to be a leftist while you justify violence against leftist for exercising their rights.

      Just about every sentence you posted is equally risible but your pretence isn’t worth the time.

      You might want to be a wolf in sheeps clothing but you forgot the sheeps clothing.

      • hola8276
        May 5, 2015, 11:51 pm

        @oldgeezer

        I’m glad you find my sentences ‘risible’, you should smile more. I’m a leftist because I vote for leftist parties. Of course, you say are talking about the regime but you are so angry and hateful I doubt there is anything related to Israel you’d accept as positive anyway.

        And again with imagining things – I never justified violence against anyone, not against Palestinians, nor against Israeli leftists. I acknowledge that violence exists, but yes, so do freedom of speech, and democracy.

        Unlike you perhaps, I don’t live in a make believe world where violence does not occur, or one in which violence occurs only in Israel. And even if it does sadly occur, in the majority of cases you would be just fine demonstrating as a leftist, and therefore many still do it. Frequently.
        I assume you have never lived in Israel, if you had you would know.

        Go to Gaza, try to criticize Hamas, let’s see what happens.. try to not get thrown off the roofs like Fatah people were after losing control there. Yeah there is some real Democracy and Free speech.

        You don’t have to be a genius, or see evidence of the money Hamas spends on their tunnels, to realize how much is invested there. Just look at the video footage of the tunnels that’s all over the web (after all Hamas are so proud of it, they release much of that footage themselves). That stuff doesn’t build itself, that quality of construction doesn’t come for free.

        So sad looking at the Palestinians at the end last summer’s conflict – cheering at Hamas who was declaring victory. I hope the government in Israel will change, but I also hope the Palestinians do better in helping themselves. Being anti-Israel doesn’t automatically make you pro-Palestine – there’s another ‘liberal’ ‘zionist’ ‘leftist’ soundbite for ya, or whatever used up classifications you want to throw out there. I definitely don’t mean to apologize to you, don’t misunderstand.

    • Citizen
      May 5, 2015, 2:08 am

      @hola8276
      My goal is to end the terrible injustice going on so long now against the Palestinian people, which is aided by my tax dollars against my will. Your claim the US mainstream media is balanced on the I-P Conflict is ridiculous.

      • hola8276
        May 6, 2015, 12:15 am

        @Citizen

        I support your goal. I have my doubts this site is a good means towards getting there, but I may be wrong, who knows. I see a title on MW like this one:
        “Israeli army can’t stop patting itself on the back for helping Nepal victims”

        Now regardless of whether you agree with the view expressed there or not – is that independent journalism? I think it is commentary -you are already told what to think, clearly stating a bias (an opinion which again, I am not saying I necessarily disagree with). This approach makes me very skeptical as a reader.

        If the stories brought forward here are so strong, so evident of the wrong-doings etc., why do we need someone to keep reminding us what the ‘correct’ view is. Is this the sort of balanced reporting you seek?

        I’m not saying US mainstream media is balanced. In fact I suggested the opposite in the first sentence of my previous post. But I am saying you can easily find anti-Israel opinions, criticism of Israel etc. in the media (including mainstream) without digging too hard. I realize that the US being overly supportive of Israel may not be the best thing for Israel in the long run (more so with the current people who are in government). I am pretty sure the way this information is selected and presented in MW is not the right way to do it.

        I believe bringing it forward this way, will just lead to it being classified by right-wingers (Israeli and Americans), but not only them, as another ‘extreme’ ‘progressive’ ‘radical left’, etc. you get the point site. I think it lessens the likelihood of opening anyones eyes. If a news source is so one sided, intelligent people tend to take it less seriously. The same rules that apply to biased American media apply here.

      • Citizen
        May 7, 2015, 11:26 pm

        “But I am saying you can easily find anti-Israel opinions, criticism of Israel etc. in the media (including mainstream) without digging too hard”

        Gee, I must be deaf, dumb, and blind. Please tell me where in the mainstream media I can go to get criticism of Israel. Which tv news/inoftainment shows? Which key newspapers? Give me a few examples where I can go to find criticism of Israel “without digging too hard.”

        Thanks in advance for your enlightenment!

      • Mooser
        May 6, 2015, 4:42 am

        Shorter hola8275:
        “That’s it get down on your knees and beg us, and maybe we’ll change’ But don’t count on it, cause I don’t like your attitude! Now, beg again, and harder!’

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