Maen Abu Hafez, 24, was born in Brazil to a Palestinian father from the Jenin Refugee Camp, and he has lived in the camp since he was 3 years old. However, Israel never issued his family an ID card establishing their residency in the West Bank and Abu Hafez is now facing deportation to Brazil after a routine traffic stop. Despite being Palestinians and living in an area under the control of the Palestinian Authority, the lives of the Abu Hafez family, and hundreds of families like them — a Palestinian married to a foreign spouse and their children — are in the hands of the Israeli government, who has control over the Palestinian population registry.
Writer Susan Abulhawa was detained for 36 hours at Ben Gurion airport before being deported and managed to sneak a pencil into the detention center and leave messages on the wall– Free Palestine — and read Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad.
A Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor analysis of UN data show that a recent surge in reports of deportations of individuals attempting to transit through Israel to work with Palestinians is apparently the result of an official strategy implemented by the Israeli government beginning in January of this year.
Moara Crivelente, Brazilian journalist and activist, reports on her detainment and deportation at the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport: “Scattered inscriptions written with toothpaste and food on the bunks and walls of an Israeli facility at the Ministry of Interior Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) declare: ‘for each International Solidarity Movement you deport back home, ten more will come!’ Me and many before me read those words as we waited for our deportation. After hours of interrogation at the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport, we received a 10-year ban from entering the State of Israel for ‘security reasons.’ With no further explanation, we were declared a threat.”