Palestinian entrance policy unjust, unwarranted

After being accepted to work with the Palestine Times, as a weekly correspondent and copy editor, I packed my bags and made the trip to Amman, Jordan, to cross through the Jordanian-Palestinian border.

For the past week I have been traveling, now I am finally in Amman, only to learn that the newspaper I was to work for has temporarily shut down due to financial difficulties.

But what’s been pricking my conscience is the thought of being denied entry into Palestine.

Usually I would enter Palestine from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, but because of regulations passed in December 2006 by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, I have opted to travel over the Jordan-Palestine border.

CoGAT, a unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, outlined new procedures for entry into Palestine, which includes intense security checks and interrogation of anyone who does not carry an Israeli or Palestinian passport. According to the Campaign for the Right of Entry, a majority of entry denials involve U.S. citizens of Palestinian origin, though it often also applies to people without a Palestinian, or even Arab, background.

There is no targeted demographic, or legitimate reasoning as to whom is denied entry. Reports show the ages of those denied entry range from two to 70 years old.

Anyone who is sympathetic to the Palestinian cause is subject to being targeted by Israeli officials, such as humanists, activists, academics and others. Members of international press are also sometimes denied entry into Palestine and Israel.

The ordeal of not knowing whether or not I will be granted entry has led me to become stressed, and somewhat bitter.

This summer was not intended as a vacationing experience, but to learn and observe from an abstruse reality that I could incorporate into my life.

Unfortunately, there is a high chance of my entry being denied. Israeli intelligence officials thoroughly investigate anyone they deem a security threat, and though I am an American citizen, I was not born in the U.S.

The Gaza Strip is besieged, sanctioned and highly devastated. Hence, it has become the center of Palestinian resistance and a focal point for Israeli military operations.

Upon entrance to the border crossing, visitors are routinely strip-searched and their luggage is scavenged through piece by piece -†from lipsticks to undergarments. Even books can be considered a security threat.

This is my dilemma: My anticipation of the unknown. I am in the hands of Israeli officials, but until I get an official "Entry Denied" stamp on my passport, I will continue attempting to visit Palestine.

Hammad, a communication junior, can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

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