From Permits to the Airport: People deserve to take a breath of normality

22 -8-2012, I wrote the blog below. It was a debate on boycotting permits \ extra-sudden-open services from Israel to the Palestinians looks like it.

The debate then was on permits given on Eid time.

Exactly ten years later, a similar debate is going on. This time, it is on the Airport services provided to Palestinians through Rimon Airport, which is a five hours drive to reach. Rimon airport is an airport that failed its trade goals, and it was almost closed as it ran out of business until it popped into someone’s mind to rerun business, this time with Palestinians. For the first instant, it seemed like who would travel five hours to arrive at an airport? It is practically crossing this country from north to south. If you are a Palestinian in the west back, you need more hours than five to arrive at an airport. If you want to travel, you need at least 24 hours. If you are Gazan, you need luck, mercy, and thousands of dollars to be allowed cross. If you are in the west bank, it is less: if you need a dignified service with less mess and humiliation, you cannot do it without a VIP service (150 dollars), a sleepover at a hotel in Amman (150-200 dollars), a taxi ( 70-100 dollars), tipping every single soul you meet ( 10-20 Dollars), A permit to leave (70 dollars, if from Jerusalem 100 dollars), permit to enter Jordan (15 dollars).

If you cannot afford the VIP service, it takes you hours and hours of humiliation and flies and humidity and dirt in every direction, masses of people, long… non-ending waiting hours… a genuine instance of life when you start thinking that maybe you are not a human being.. just another trait of a sub-human thing. ..Palestinian.

So id Rimon bad news? I don’t think so.

I think it is one of the best things Israel ever did since Oslo.. those who are complaining don’t even know what it means to go through the hell of the bridge because they either use the ben Gurion airport or get the VIP service and can afford the ridiculous extra expenses.

Permits to Israel- 22-8-2012

Israeli government allowing Palestinians from the West Bank to enter Israel in the last weeks seemed like an appalling out-of-the-ordinary phenomenon to both Palestinians in and out the borders of permits.

I don’t know why we are surprised that people from the West Bank are dashing to the sea, or shopping in the malls. A whole Palestinian generation doesn’t know what the sea looks like.

Unless you are wealthy enough to travel to the East Bank and the West. Lest you are privileged enough to belong to the PA VIP category of magnetic permits to Israel, or you are lucky enough to work on a project with an international NGO and can get free training and trip here and there; you are among the two million and so Palestinians (excluding Gaza of course) in the West Bank who don’t know how life outside the wired fences, concrete walls and delimited checkpoints look like. Any life behind that border became a fantasy.

It doesn’t matter why the Israeli government issued such unprecedented numbers of permits. Whether it was to get more benefits as usual, such as the economic cash flow that such a movement of people allowed, or any kind of maneuver Israel as usual as good ploys, what is true is that Israel’s economy will not improve because of this month’s money that Palestinians spent in Israel. Israel’s plans and moves, sadly say, are far from what we see or want to know. Israel has transformed us into passive reactionaries instead of being not active planners, but merely normal observers who lost the capacity to see beyond our moment. We even miss the moment.

I have read about “their” substantial passageway towards Jerusalem (Israel). We already became “us” and ‘them,” another sub-category of the “we “ and “them,” which makes “them” sub-category of “ we” because we originally had a whole category of “them” relating to the Israelis.

Why do we find it so absurd that people are flowing on the seashore of the Mediterranean? What do we want from “them” and “them” (the sub-category of one of the categories)?

Do we want “them” to stay roaming inside the barbed wires and cemented walls?

Do we want “them” to keep “them” locked up in what looks like ghettos?

We want everyone or boycott Israel except us. Israel is as much vital to “them” as much as it is to “us.” Among us, as well, those who would boycott Israel if it existed are only those who are highly tolerant, aware, educated, and wealthy. If you are not someone with such a characteristic then you cannot boycott Israel because otherwise, you depend on “them.”

Boycotting needs a clear strategy with a clear, viable vision, achievable objectives and sustainable goals, and a work plan that can be accomplished. People are not just things that can be controlled on the remote control, with on and off buttons.

What should we expect from people who watch their operating government drowning in dysfunctional apparatus, stinking with corruption, and bankrupted?

One day the whole nation is set for boycotting; on the evening of the very same day, whoever announced boycotting announces meetings for negotiations.

Those prominent patriots who call for a boycott have the privilege of making announcements from coffee shops in Ramallah that sell coffee for $5 and attend seminars in Europe every month or week. And have magnetic permits that allow them to enter Israel whenever they want.

And “Israel,” who always benefits from our continuous failures, I sincerely thank “them” for allowing “them” to have a breeze out of the ghettos, even if “they” spent their years of savings or took loans in Israeli markets …

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