The following statement is translated from the French-language original at the site of Collectif Palestine Vaincra, a member organization of the Samidoun Network: https://palestinevaincra.com/2019/04/un-membre-du-collectif-palestine-vaincra-refuse-dentrer-en-palestine-occupee/
On Wednesday, 24 April 2019, a member of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra was denied entry to occupied Palestine after he arrived at Ben Gurion airport.
Last Wednesday, even before he checked in at the French airport, a private security agent from the “HubSafe” airport security company asked M. about the reasons for his trip, his knowledge of the country, etc., and stuck a check number on the back of his passport.*
“When I arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening at 6 pm, at the time of the first check, an immigration officer confiscated my passport and asked me to go to a room “for further questions.” These rooms are occupied by Israeli intelligence services. The wait was relatively long and I was called for an initial interrogation. After a series of rather classic questions, the interrogations, which lasted around 6 hours, took a different term and became clearly intrusive. The agents were obviously seeking to gather information on my knowledge, my previous visits, etc. They asked to have access to my phone, contacts, photos, emails and many other intimidation attempts.
At midnight, an agent picked me up and took me to an immigration control office of the Israeli Minister of the Interior. Without details, an official informed me of a 10-year ban for “security reasons” (no other explanation was given despite my protests), took my fingerprints and a photo of me before informing me that I will be expelled as soon as possible to France. While waiting for my flight (24 hours later), I remained under the supervision of airport agents. I was escorted to a plane to Paris, where I was greeted by agents of the Border Police.”
These interrogations and denials of entry regularly affect people, activists or not, arriving in occupied Palestine. These practices are more broadly part of an aggressive policy of criminalizing support movements for the Palestinian people, including the BDS (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) campaign. In this sense, the Israeli state has created a “working group” tasked with identifying, expelling or denying entry to internationals involved in these movements. For example, this was the case with Charlotte Kates, international coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, who was denied entry, banned and returned to Jordan on 15 August 2016.
The Collectif Palestine Vaincra denounces this attempt to criminalize the movements to support the Palestinian people as well as all forms of intimidation directed against opponents of Israeli colonization!
Palestine will win! (Palestine vaincra!)
*Regarding pre-boarding checks to Tel Aviv, it should be remembered among other examples that in 2012, EasyJet refused to allow pro-Palestinian activists to board flights to Tel Aviv.