Finally made it to (East Jerusalem)

by ray goodlass

I’ve now made it to (East) Jerusalem after over six hours wait at the Allenby/King Hussein (take your pick) bridge border crossing over the River Jordan, though ‘river’ is more than an overstatement, as Israeli water theft has left it as nothing more than a trickle and a chain of shallow ponds. No wonder the Dead Sea really is dying.

Anyway, the main point if this post is that I was pulled from the seemingly never ending lines 3 separate times, once we had finally reached the final, main Israeli checkpoint, for some pretty full-on interrogations. The main thrust of the questions was ‘Where are you going?” and, repeatedly, ‘Why?’ The most ridiculous questions included “Are you married” and “Why not?” I felt like telling the military guy interrogating me at this point the real answer to that one, but thought better of it. 

What is it that makes my passport photo or me in the flesh look like a terrorist suspect? I must admit that whilst I was again sitting waiting (and waiting, and waiting) I was beginning to plan how I would get back to Australia if I was refused a visa. Fly back from Amman straight away, or use the time to explore some Mid-East countries that would let me in?

Anyway, after these three very frightening interrogations they finally gave me a visa, so I can tomorrow take ‘serveeces’ (shared to taxis) to Ramallah and then to my destination, Jenin, for the Freedom Theatre, for the Freedom Ride.

Being in East Jerusalem is great – I feel very much at home here, after having spent a week here after last year’s Peace Camp.