DETAINED AT BETHLEHEM CHECKPOINT AGAIN
Tomorrow I leave for Nablus. The last 2 days have been spent visiting friends and my Palestinian families in Azah Camp and Aida Camp.
Hiba, our first student who graduated is literally working all the hours under the sun to pay for her father's constant medical bills and her gran's worsening health conditions. She suffered a stroke.
Of course the Campaign shall make a donation towards the upkeep of the medical needs for both her father and her gran.
I was both disgusted and shocked to find out that some of the Tour Buses who are carrying a lot of Christians actually now include as part of their tour to Bethlehem a visit through the actual checkpoint. What better way to humiliate the Palestinians than seeing the preferential treatment that the tourists get.
In the past the buses used to drive down a special road hiding the checkpoint, but this bus actually came and stopped at the side of the checkpoint. They emerged from the bus laughing and joking and saying 'WE ARE IN ISRAEL, ZIONIST THEY MUST BE;.
As the bus driver was herding the last of the bus I offered to show them the way, I took them towards the turnstyle - this is coming out of Bethlehem, one at a time they went through. I think the Israeli Soldier thought I was their tour guide and I told them to take off their shoes and belts and put all their items in to be scanned. They refused and I told them they must do this. This is the first time I must say I have voluntarily ever done this. So all these tourists had taken of their shoes and belts moaning about it and after a few minutes the original tour gide starting shouting at me and a soldier came running over to me to ask what I was doing.
As usual I acted daft and he said we did not need to do it. I asked him why, were we special? He nodded his head and forceably pushed me through another turnstyle.
On the way out you come to another turnstyle where a soldier takes the Palestinians passes and fingerprints - DISGUSTING. The tourists with their tour gide still at the other end of the checkpoint herding them like cattle stood looking lost. I told them they had to join the end of the queue. This took the smile off their faces. A soldier kept shouting 'come here, come here' I told him no we were staying where we were with the others. I do not believe in jumping the queue I told him.
The Palestinians were in stitches at this, a load of tourists for the first time ever maybe coming through with no shoes on and holding their belts in their hands. Just like the Palestinians. Even better having to join a massive queue.
Once again the tour guide arrived and shouted abuse at me and magically another checkpoint was opened for them and they were through in approx 2 minutes flat. I myself like others here refused to go that way but said I would stand in line with the Palestinians.
They kept shouting she is PRO PALESTINE to the other soldiers. SO WHAT I ASKED?
I WAS ALSO A HUMAN BEING, I HONESTLY COULD NOT SAY THAT ABOUT EVERYBODY THAT WAS THERE THOUGH.
I refused several times to have preferential treatment and eventually it was my turn to go through.
The stupidity of the soldiers. He demanded my passport as usual, he checked my visa. I then put my hand on the scanner to be scanned. He shouted at me to take it off because I did not need to do that, it was only the Palestinians.
I told him I had Palestinian blood running in my viens and I was Palestinian. The look on his face was hilarious. Two soldiers came running over and took me away once again through the back of the checkpoint. I was interrogated for over half an hour as to what Palestinian village I came from. I think it eventually sunk in to them when I explained you do not have to be born in Palestine to have a deep love for the injusticies that are committed to the Palestinian people.
I am so glad I wore my Free Palestine t shirt. Some people might think, why wear it. I firmly believe it is important for us to wear a statement that YES WE DO SUPPORT THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE AND NOT ASHAMED TO SAY IT.
I am now back at the hostel and packing up for tomorrow for Nablus.
(Excuse the spelling)