Saturday, May 03, 2008
'I Felt LIke My Legs Weren't Strong Enough to Carry Me'
The Palestinian tourist industry is economically strangled by Israel:
"Bethlehem was a city of tourism before the word even existed. Since the year 2000, however, the travel market collapsed by more than ninety per cent and too many visitors pass by on whistle-stop tours, organised by Israeli tour operators, allowing the visitor nothing but a ten-minute tour of the Church of the Nativity."
And for those of Palestinian background, the visiting isn't so easy . . .
Filmmaker Annemarie Jacir was denied entry to occupied Palestine to view the premiere of her film, Salt of the Sea, an official Cannes Film Festival selection. Made to wait at the Allenby Bridge for six hours, her phone was confiscated, and she was interrogated five times. Finally,
" . . . a woman in a blue uniform (the others wore a different uniform), came towards me with my passport in her hand and four security agents behind her. She handed me my passport and said, 'The Israeli Ministry of Interior has denied you entry.' I asked if a reason was given. She said, 'You spend too much time here.' I was then deported - escorted by two of the agents out of the terminal and onto a bus back to Jordan.
"I got on the bus. I felt like my legs weren't strong enough to carry me."