by a member of CPT Palestine
Entering Israel is always stressful. The prospect of a two-hour interrogation with a real chance of being denied entry* was daunting enough, but then I heard about a new policy. At the airport or border, Israeli security can ask internationals to sign a paper stating that they will not enter “area under Palestinian Authority control” unless given military permission beforehand.
In my June entry I somehow slipped through. I thought at this point that my troubles were behind me.
But when I got to Hebron I learned that soldiers were forbidding us to wear our “uniforms” (red hats and gray vests bearing CPT’s name and logo) in the area surrounding the Ibrahimi Mosque. The soldiers claimed that our organization was not official and not allowed to be in that area, so we could not wear anything distinguishing us as such.
The denial of entry to internationals, the new demand of tourists to ask for military permission to enter Palestine, and the denial of CPT’s legitimacy in the Old City—a place where Palestinian organizations have invited us to live and work since 1995—are desperate overreaches to keep internationals from seeing the truth of Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians.
Given the cold reception I received from the Israeli authorities I feel more compelled to be in Hebron. As Israel tries to hide what it is doing, it becomes more important for us to seek and expose the truth. Each new fence and barricade Israel constructs shows that the architects of oppression know their system is failing. Together with local Palestinian leaders, we are helping to show what could come next.
*Three CPTers were denied entry by Israeli authorities between 1 July and 17 September, 2013.