Dear All,
I'm writing to update you with my last disappointing issue as a peace activist.
My best russian friend whom I met in India before one and a half year is visiting the region for thr first time for one day where she spent this day in Jerusalem and the dead sea. Moreover, because I can't enter Israel, many thanks to the Israeli authorities who are restricting the Palestinians holding the green ID to pass the last checkpoint before the dead sea, which was an obstacle for me to get into the sea to meet her in the time she is tied to the group and can't leave them even for a while because they have entered Israel/Palestine using one Group-Visa.
That really disappointed me, and since I'm a peace activist, non of the Israelis was able to help me with this issue even those who have a high level communications.
Thank you so much IDF, I really appreciate that you denied me from meeting my friend which maybe I'll never have the chance to meet again except if I went to Russia.

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This is sad, I agree.
For what it's worth, I apologize to you, Bassem.
I wish the Israeli government - I really don't blame the IDF the same way - would grow a brain.
And start handling any legitimate security concerns may Israelis have in a rational way.
I agree that overdoing it like this greatly hinders the development of peaceful coexistence.

Getting rid of Olmert will be a step in the right direction.
I am really sorry to hear this Bassam. You and your friend have my sympathy. This should not have happened. I am going to Israel/Palestine in August and I want to visit a friend in the West Bank. I hope I am not prevented from meeting them. The best way forward is to increase contact so the Israeli government should not have stopped the meeting between you and your friend. Again let me express my sympathy. Please extend this to your friend.

Bassam, I am so sorry and disappointed to read this. They don't understand they are leaving the wrong people out. I know this is difficult, but please don't be discouraged by this. We need people like you, and alot.
Hope to see you in Tantur,
Dear Bassam, you have my respect as a fellow peacemaker, and I hope one day there will be true equality in the region and you will not suffer these petty indignities. It lowers the authorities, not you. Marc,
cheer up Bassam .. reverse disappointment into energy for change. It is possible my friend!
Never give up your determination for the good. It is your own battle ..

I always found it unfair to be prevented from entering some places that are nearly in the middle of Palestinian territories as the dead sea which is so close to Jericho, which in turn is a Palestinian city and al Badan valley which is near Nablus and we started to be prevented from being there at the beginning of the last intifada.

This shall not drive us to be depressed- though it leads to a degree of feeling oppressed and in a so unfair situation- it is our good efforts which are contributing and will keep on doing so to be able to bring our rights back, some of the simplest rights as being allowed to enter the dead sea and some other places, which is totally unrealistic that we are prevented from being there!

We are also prevented from communicating with many good Israeli friends to us which makes it unfair at all different levels to both of us.
Hiba, do you know the slogan "no human is illegal" ?
Now i do Wael, do you have something to say about it?
I learned about it in Germany ..

:) it is radical left, that it bring you to the other side of aches of political direction to be on a circle in new thinking ;)
I agree with all of you..
Actually, I found today in the morning that my calender was wrong and yesterday it was her Birthday and she wanted to make it as a surprise for me since she just told me -I'm in Jerusalem today!!-....
Thanks anyway for all of you, I hope there will be an equality one day...
Bassam, the treatment you received is outrageous, and the only other place I can think of where something like this has happened is in South Africa, where the treatment was clearly racist. Here is a checkpoint experience I had.

I PASSED THROUGH A CHECKPOINT into Northern Ireland, in the summer 1984, which was in about the middle of the 30 years of violence, described as the “Troubles”. We came up from the south, and had been travelling around England and Ireland for more than 3 months, in a car we purchased in London. Because we had a 3 year old child with us, we always stayed in self catering accommodation, and usually moved on each Saturday.

Strange as it will sound, it had not occurred to either of us that we would be passing through a checkpoint controlled by the military. We pulled up at a large sign saying stop, and were surprised to see 2 British soldiers sauntering towards the car. They were armed. I assumed they were there for some kind of car search, and I was worried, because we had a massive amount of stuff in that car. Over the 3 months of travel, we had gradually purchased 5 boxes of books, and along with all the books, we had 2 boxes of toys, 2 boxes of food, 2 suitcases, 2 bikes on the roof, and plenty more, all very roughly packed into the car. It could best be described as a very big mess.

The soldiers said hello and asked what we were doing, we said holidaying, and they said they did not understand why anyone would holiday in Northern Ireland, which left us struggling to get the conversation going again. I was very worried they would require a proper search.

The car was a family station wagon, so it had no boot, and you could see in all the interior through the windows. One soldier focused on talking to us, and the other soldier circled slowly around the car, 6 or 8 times, looking intently through the windows, while my hyperactive 3 year old tried to engage him in conversation. After about 10 minutes of polite conversation, the soldiers gave each other a nod, and one of them said, “You can go”. Nothing in the car had been touched, and I promise you, there was a mountain of stuff, piled more than a metre/yard high. Even around our feet, there were bags and all kinds of things.

I am sure those soldiers where as aghast as us at the thought of searching the car. There was no one else at the checkpoint, or even on the road, for the entire period we were there, and the soldiers had approached the car the moment we pulled up. They were professional and respectful the whole time, and carried their weapons discretely.

These soldiers were not kids doing military service. They were professional career soldiers, in their late 20’s, which may explain their mature behaviour. Neither the British nor the Irish would have tolerated what takes place at checkpoints around the Occupied Territories.

(There was nothing quiet about the period in which we were in Ireland, a bomb killed a British Sergeant at the bottom of the road where we were staying, and we witnessed troop movements through townships. BUT the entire population of Northern Ireland had complete freedom of movement with no delays ever at any check point. We were never searched in any shop, but we occasionally saw vehicles pulled over for a quick random search. It was evident people did not trust us, and children in particular would sometimes give obscene gestures, because they had recognized we were foreign. After the explosion where the Sergeant was killed, the site was so thoroughly cleaned up that there was not a trace of evidence that there had ever been an explosion. I looked carefully, only a few hours after the incident.)



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