Press Release August 26, 2012 ~ Israeli Peace Bloc
At the Jordan River border crossings, Israeli authorities prevented the entry of more than 100 international activists on their way to Bethlehem.
About 7:30 pm on August 26, more than a hundred activists from all over the world arrived from Jordan to the Israeli border crossing at the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge, telling the authorities that they on their way to Bethlehem at the invitation of its Palestinian governor and of civil society organizations there, and that they were carrying with them notebooks and school equipment for Palestinian pupils about to begin their school year. However, their entry into the West Bank was denied.
The Israeli-controlled area of the Allenby Bridge was on a major alert with military forces, and journalists there were told that the area had been declared “a closed military zone.” “They did not even let us get off the bus,” said Olivia Zemor of Paris, one of the organizers of the visit. “They collected our passports and a few minutes later returned them with each and every passport stamped ‘Entry denied.’ The soldiers refused to give any explanation, they just said: ‘That’s it, your entry is denied, go back to Jordan.’” Zemor noted that last year, when she and others tried to reach the Palestinian Territories through Ben Gurion Airport, they were told, “Why don’t you come through the Jordan bridges?” “So we did try to get through the Jordan bridges, and now we got a definite answer from the government of Israel.”
“Violent settlers, those who under the name of ‘price tag’ set olive trees and mosques on fire, are constantly getting reinforcements from abroad. For the settlers’ Jewish and Christian friends, Israel’s border crossings are wide open. From the airport they go to the settlements,” says Adam Keller, spokesperson for the Israeli Peace Bloc. “When the Palestinians living under Israel’s rule try to invite guests to come and visit them, the government of Israel instructs the army and police to block their way. The government has the power and the ability to act in such a belligerent and arbitrary way. But by so doing, the government ends up emphasizing and demonstrating to the entire world that the territories are indeed under an oppressive occupation.”
Not a surprise, but insulting and disappointing nonetheless. However, the tide has turned against the Israeli government, and we can therefore expect further acts of opposition on its part against actions on behalf of the Palestinians, and an end to the occupation. Even the denial of entry raises public consciousness just a little. Onward and upward!