Friday, 22 July 2011

Chapter 69 Tan3eesh

The recent flotilla and 'flytilla' missions to Gaza and the West Bank were a reminder of Israel's ability to deny entrance to anyone it deems a threat or a troublemaker.

It also underscored the fact that the Palestinian Authority has no power whatsoever over who comes in or out of its territories.

As much talk as there is about a two state solution or UN backing for an independent Palestinian state - there is no roadmap for the Palestinians to have control over their own borders in the foreseeable future.

Apart from affecting tourism this, of course, has certain implications for the Palestinian diaspora. To say nothing of what it means for those living inside the West Bank and Gaza. 

As a traveler, you have no idea until you've actually crossed the border whether or not you're going to be allowed in.

Last year I was nauseous for weeks before my journey in. I had given up my job, a relationship and my life in London for an absolute maybe and I was terrified that if I was turned away, I would have nothing to go back to.

I know a couple people who have been turned away and heard of others who have been given one to 10 years bans from coming back. None of them had been particularly politically active nor a part of movements that like to stir things up.
There's an Arabic saying my dad's quite fond of: 'Tanyieesh' (or 'Tan3eesh' if you're using Arabic textspeak) which essentially means 'if we live that long, we'll deal with it then.'

I suppose the closest thing in English would be 'we'll cross that bridge when we get to it' - but with some added drama (we're Arabs, what can I tell you).

A colleague of mine recently wondered if increased stringency at the borders after the fly and flotillas meant it would be even harder for us to get back to the West Bank.

What can you say really apart from... tan3eesh.

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