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Israel denies West Bank entry to 100-plus internationals invited by Palestinian Authority

ActivismNews
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Yesterday, despite an invitation from the Palestinian Authority and the Bethlehem mayor, and a special request to the French Foreign Ministry, more than a hundred internationals were denied entry into the West Bank via Jordan. “They did not even let us get off the bus,” said French organizer Olivia Zemor, who intended to visit school children on a nine-day trip with a European human rights group.

At 7:30 pm on August 26, Israeli officials, controlling all access to the Palestinian Territories, said the border crossing was a “a closed military zone” and refused to allow the official guests of the civil administration to enter. Zemor said:

‘They collected our passports and a few minutes later returned them with each and every passport stamped ‘Entry denied’. The soldiers refused to give any explanation, they just said – that’s it, your entry is denied, go back to Jordan.’

Organizers from Zemor’s group, Bienvenue Palestine, or Welcome to Palestine, are familiar with Israel’s de facto “no entry to the West Bank unless you’re a settler” policy. Earlier this year during the “flytilla,” activists were promptly deported after landing and announcing to passport security their intent to visit Bethlehem. As well, in Europe, participants expecting to board planes to the Middle East were kept from the Palestinian territories vis-à-vis coordination between Israeli officials and aviation companies. Three flights were outright cancelled before take-off and Lufthansa Airlines, Brussels Airlines and EasyJet all “blacklisted” a number of passengers based on “Israel’s orders,” according to a letter airline officials sent to passengers.

Despite last spring’s debacle Bienvenue Palestine was not deterred from seeking to enter the West Bank. Heeding the advice of border officials who advised entering through Jordan by land, and not the Tel Aviv airport, Zemor’s group tried again. “So we did try to get through the Jordan bridges, and now we got a definite answer from the government of Israel,” she said.

The activists’ deportation comes on the heels of a government envoy banned from entering the West Bank for meetings with the Palestinian leadership earlier this month, and the well-publicized deportation of two Palestinian-American tourists whose privacy was violated by airport security. In June of this year Najwa Doughman and Sasha Al-Sarabi were sent back to their homes in New York City from Ben Gurion airport after guards searched through their email accounts to verify that the two were of Arab descent.

The cases confirm racist and invasive practices are at the core of Israel’s airport security apparatus. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that when Israeli security procedures were exported to Boston in 2011, the flagship “behavior profiling” program was criticized one year later as “rife” with “racial profiling.” Alex Kane reported, the victims of New Age Security Solution’s excessive interrogations sparked calls for a congressional hearing over charges of discrimination.

h/t Sid Shniad.

 

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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29 Responses

  1. American on August 28, 2012, 12:56 am

    It’s more than just activist. Israel denies entry to everyone, diplomats from other countries that try to visit the Palestine authority and West Bank, UN officials,and not just Richard Falk, everyone.
    Think about it….here we have this rouge country illegally occupying the West Bank and acting like they own it and that their illegal squatter settlements are a legal part of Israel. When this monster spawn of the zionist finally explodes of it’s own vile hubris there are going to be celebrations in high and low places all over the world.

    Israel expels UN official

    Richard Falk

    On December 14, I arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel to carry out my UN role as special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.
    I was leading a mission that had intended to visit the West Bank and Gaza to prepare a report on Israel’s compliance with human rights standards and international humanitarian law. Meetings had been scheduled on an hourly basis during the six days, starting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, the following day.
    I knew that there might be problems at the airport. Israel had strongly opposed my appointment a few months earlier and its foreign ministry had issued a statement that it would bar my entry if I came to Israel in my capacity as a UN representative.
    At the same time, I would not have made the long journey from California, where I live, had I not been reasonably optimistic about my chances of getting in. Israel was informed that I would lead the mission and given a copy of my itinerary, and issued visas to the two people assisting me: a staff security person and an assistant, both of whom work at the office of the high commissioner of human rights in Geneva.
    To avoid an incident at the airport, Israel could have either refused to grant visas or communicated to the UN that I would not be allowed to enter, but neither step was taken. It seemed that Israel wanted to teach me, and more significantly, the UN a lesson: there will be no cooperation with those who make strong criticisms of Israel’s occupation policy.
    After being denied entry, I was put in a holding room with about 20 others experiencing entry problems. At this point, I was treated not as a UN representative, but as some sort of security threat, subjected to an inch-by-inch body search and the most meticulous luggage inspection I have ever witnessed.
    I was separated from my two UN companions who were allowed to enter Israel and taken to the airport detention facility a mile or so away. I was required to put all my bags and cell phone in a room and taken to a locked tiny room that smelled of urine and filth. It contained five other detainees and was an unwelcome invitation to claustrophobia. I spent the next 15 hours so confined, which amounted to a cram course on the miseries of prison life, including dirty sheets, inedible food and lights that were too bright or darkness controlled from the guard office.
    Of course, my disappointment and harsh confinement were trivial matters, not by themselves worthy of notice, given the sorts of serious hardships that millions around the world daily endure. Their importance is largely symbolic. I am an individual who had done nothing wrong beyond express strong disapproval of policies of a sovereign state. More importantly, the obvious intention was to humble me as a UN representative and thereby send a message of defiance to the United Nations.
    Israel had all along accused me of bias and of making inflammatory charges relating to the occupation of Palestinian territories. I deny that I am biased, but rather insist that I have tried to be truthful in assessing the facts and relevant law. It is the character of the occupation that gives rise to sharp criticism of Israel’s approach, especially its harsh blockade of Gaza, resulting in the collective punishment of the 1.5 million inhabitants. By attacking the observer rather than what is observed, Israel plays a clever mind game. It directs attention away from the realities of the occupation, practising effectively a politics of distraction.
    The blockade of Gaza serves no legitimate Israeli function. It is supposedly imposed in retaliation for some Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets that have been fired across the border at the Israeli town of Sderot. The wrongfulness of firing such rockets is unquestionable, yet this in no way justifies indiscriminate Israeli retaliation against the entire civilian population of Gaza.
    The purpose of my reports is to document on behalf of the UN the urgency of the situation in Gaza and elsewhere in occupied Palestine. Such work is particularly important now as there are signs of a renewed escalation of violence and even of a threatened Israeli reoccupation.
    Before such a catastrophe happens, it is important to make the situation as transparent as possible, and that is what I had hoped to do in carrying out my mission. Although denied entry, my effort will continue to use all available means to document the realities of the Israeli occupation as truthfully as possible.

    (informationclearinghouse.info)
    Richard Falk is professor of international law at Princeton University and the UN’s special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.

    • Fredblogs on August 28, 2012, 1:01 pm

      Of course they deny entry to Richard Falk. He is as anti-Israel as they come. You don’t spend a career bashing a country then expect them to welcome you with open arms.

      Also what part of: “had issued a statement that it would bar my entry if I came to Israel in my capacity as a UN representative.” made him think they hadn’t said they would keep him out?

  2. OlegR on August 28, 2012, 3:50 am

    /The blockade of Gaza serves no legitimate Israeli function. It is supposedly imposed in retaliation for some Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets/

    Some rockets,
    some , unspecified number , unpleasant for sure but nothing to make too much of a fuss about.

    / that have been fired across the border at the Israeli town of Sderot./
    And Beer Sheva and Ashkelon and Ashdod , every village around Gaza strip.
    Mortar fire , sniper fire , an anti tank missile at a school bus.

    Trivial , some, what are they getting so worked up about these Israelis, should have gotten used by now.

    • eljay on August 28, 2012, 7:55 am

      >> … what are they getting so worked up about these Israelis, should have gotten used by now.

      Yeah, it’s not as though Israelis are Palestinians, who “should have gotten used by now” to the 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder waged by the oppressive, colonialist, expansionst and supremacist “Jewish State”.

      Aggressor-victimhood is a tough gig, especially for hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists. :-(

    • Woody Tanaka on August 28, 2012, 9:01 am

      “Trivial , some, what are they getting so worked up about these Israelis, should have gotten used by now.”

      Who cares. You’re getting back 1/1000 of what you dish out.

    • Woody Tanaka on August 28, 2012, 9:01 am

      “Trivial , some, what are they getting so worked up about these Israelis, should have gotten used by now.”

      Who cares. You’re getting back 1/1000 of what you dish out.

  3. OlegR on August 28, 2012, 3:51 am

    Tell them to try and get through the Gaza strip next time.

    • Shmuel on August 28, 2012, 4:47 am

      Tell them to try and get through the Gaza strip next time.

      How do you get to Bethlehem from Gaza?

      • OlegR on August 28, 2012, 4:51 am

        Whoops sorry my sentence should have read

        “through, to Gaza strip. ”

      • Shmuel on August 28, 2012, 4:58 am

        Whoops sorry my sentence should have read
        “through, to Gaza strip. “

        “Whoops” duly noted.

        How do you get to Bethlehem from Gaza?

      • OlegR on August 28, 2012, 4:59 am

        Isn’t Gaza a worthy enough cause?

      • Shmuel on August 28, 2012, 5:05 am

        They were invited to Bethlehem. How do you suggest they get there?

      • OlegR on August 28, 2012, 5:16 am

        Well apparently they aren’t gonna get there Shmuel , not this time at least.
        But again they do have options if they want to help Palestinians children.
        They are just as Palestinian in Gaza city as they are in Beit Lehem.

      • Shmuel on August 28, 2012, 6:36 am

        Well apparently they aren’t gonna get there

        So the West Bank is off limits to human rights activists, whether they go through Israel or through Jordan.

        Try to stay on topic, Oleg.

      • OlegR on August 28, 2012, 6:51 am

        The site acts funny today.
        I got your response but i don’t see it here.

        /So the West Bank is off limits to human rights activists, whether they go through Israel or through Jordan./

        Well apparently for these guys it is, i don’t think i denied it ,
        so you better get to your point .

      • Shmuel on August 28, 2012, 7:21 am

        so you better get to your point

        My point? http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/israel-denies-west-bank-entry-to-100-plus-internationals-invited-by-palestinian-authority.html

        Now, if you’d like to make a suggestion for an alternative itinerary or strategy, I’m sure Allison can get you the e-mail of somebody at the Welcome to Palestine Campaign. Once again, I must say, it’s awfully sporting of you to try to help Palestinian resistance/solidarity out like this.

        In the meantime, the subject of this particular post is the isolation of Palestinians in the West Bank and apparent Israeli ban on internationals openly visiting Palestinians in that area.

      • Woody Tanaka on August 28, 2012, 11:16 am

        “They are just as Palestinian in Gaza city as they are in Beit Lehem.”

        “Beit Lehem”??? We’re not israeli squatters, here. It’s called “Bethlehem” or “Bayt Lahm.”

    • FreddyV on August 28, 2012, 4:57 am

      Oleg: Are you still talking?

      I mean, the entire International community are against Israel’s policies and actions and still you come here and defend it.

      Surely it would be a more constructive use of your time to stop defending the indefensible, admit that Israel are wrong in many ways and try to do something about them, then perhaps people can get to the table and try and sort this out.

      Surely you can see that this is only going to get worse for Israel unless it faces up to itself?

      • OlegR on August 28, 2012, 5:03 am

        Sorry, not in the mood for guilty confessions and banging myself
        on the chest today.
        Try me on Wednesday.

      • FreddyV on August 28, 2012, 8:05 am

        Is that like saying ‘ask me tomorrow’?

        Tomorrow never comes……….

      • Kathleen on August 28, 2012, 8:23 am

        oh did you read that Breaking the Silence report..(doubt if you have the balls) but that would not keep you from huffing and puffing

      • NickJOCW on August 28, 2012, 10:35 am

        Oleg doesn’t know half what he’s saying. Now he’s threatening to beat his chest, probably fancies he’s King Kong.

      • justicewillprevail on August 28, 2012, 10:38 am

        But always in the mood for trolling with asinine, irrelevant snarky comments.

      • FreddyV on August 28, 2012, 4:46 pm

        That’s cool, my comment was generalized and less than productive.

        I just hope people like Oleg will wake up to what they’re doing.

  4. NickJOCW on August 28, 2012, 4:51 am

    In view of the kind of people many Israelis have become and their well documented illegal, often terrorist, behavior it seems to me visas should now be necessary for all Israelis wishing to visit those countries from whose citizens they demand visas. Then their antecedents can be examined and if there is any evidence or suspicion that they have or may become engaged in unacceptable activities a visa can be refused.

  5. Fredblogs on August 28, 2012, 12:55 pm

    1945: Allies deny entry to Occupied German territory to internationals invited by the Nazis.

    • Inanna on August 28, 2012, 9:05 pm

      I think we all know what this commenter is and for that there is no remedy. But seriously moderators, you think this comment is ok?

      • Cliff on August 29, 2012, 3:33 am

        So he’s calling the PA, Nazis. He’s calling the internationals Nazi-sympathizers. He’s calling people who volunteer in the territories, Nazis.

        This is the same guy who has white-washed pedophilia in the Orthodox Jewish community, the murder of an American citizen (Rachel Corrie) because she was killed specifically by a Zionist, and a whole host of other Zionist crimes.

        Scumbag.

        Inanna. Phil and Adam keep a scrub like Blobs around but would not be seen in public with him. They keep him around purely for profiling purposes. It’s unfortunate but why not ask the more important question: where are the all the decent Zionists?

        Are there any Zionists on the Web who aren’t apologists for pedophilia, ethnic cleansing, mass murder, colonialism, Orwellian propaganda, anti-democratic process, corruption, kleptocracy, censorship, murder, apartheid, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

        Or does Zionism make someone defend all that shit?

        The ‘best’ a Zionist can do is work within those constraints and be called a fringe Zionist and flirt with being deemed an anti-Zionist, Zionist. How do you think Jerry Slater is viewed by the Zionist mainstream if he were put under a microscope and given attention? Especially his exchange with Ruduroen.

        No, unfortunately Phil and Adam keep Blobs, hophmi, and the rest of the Zionist shortbus around because THEY are the people who express Zionism most frequently. THEY are the majority. THEY are Zionism.

        Fredblogs is Zionism. So Phil and Adam take what they can get. If they were to ban them, this would become an echo chamber.

        One thing Zionists always tell us is that no one cares about ‘our’ cause. The truth is that not many people pay attention to this conflict as a whole. When you factor in Zionist EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL and INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY and the general laziness of the general populace, is it any surprise that people aren’t going to just delve into a topic concerning Jewishness and Jewish history? Arabs, Muslims, the ME and terrorism – not a big deal. That’s not the issue. It’s all about the Holocaust guilt and the ideological pressures in our society that shape our mores. Then we evade certain topics because it’s just not worth the hassle.

        And why not? There’s enough trouble with the economy. We have our own wars! Our own occupations! Our own domestic issues! Etc.

        So Israel can HIDE behind all of this using the Lobby and the culture/infrastructure of intellectual dishonesty/fear-mongering/emotional blackmail and in doing so, avoid being put under a microscope for any meaningful period of time.

        It’s only when it goes out and kills a bunch of people or causes an international incident, that Israel is open to criticism.

        Too much attention means people will actually think critically about all the mendacious redundant Zionist bullshit. And then you begin to get upset and do something about it.

        Israel wants to win by keeping things quiet on the ground. Look at the leaked reports about the Gaza blockade. Close to, but not complete collapse.

        Reminds me of what Bane did to Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises! LOL

        He gives the people of Gotham hope that things MIGHT get better. It’s a lie of course. Just enough hope to keep them going, but all the while the bomb is still ticking.

        Anyways, I’ve gotten off-track here big time.

        Blobs is here to stay. Get used to it! He’s a laugh riot! I like him.

    • Woody Tanaka on August 29, 2012, 7:40 am

      “1945: Allies deny entry to Occupied German territory to internationals invited by the Nazis.”

      LMAO. C’mon, Fredo, if you’re gonna Godwin the thread, the correct comparison is to say that what israel is doing is the equal of the Nazis denying the Red Cross access to the death camps.

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