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  3. "End the occupation !" PAJU Vigil #926 November 9, 2018: Traveling the world as a Palestinian on an Israeli passport

"End the occupation !" PAJU Vigil #926 November 9, 2018: Traveling the world as a Palestinian on an Israeli passport

Publication date : 2018-11-09

Part 1 At home, we speak Arabic intermixed with Hebrew. We deal with Israeli law, Israeli institutions, and can participate in the Israeli political system. But we are always conscious of our Palestinian heritage. Everything becomes more difficult whenever I cross borders. The in-betweeness of my identity is lost.

To immigration officers, government officials, and school administrators, only the nationality listed on my passport matters. When I traveled to Morocco last year, I was escorted from the airport by security — for my protection, because of my Israeli passport — and greeted with “Shabbat Shalom.”

When I told the airport official “thank you, but I am not Jewish,” he responded, “it does not matter.”

Traveling the world as a Palestinian on an Israeli passport

Part 1 At home, we speak Arabic intermixed with Hebrew. We deal with Israeli law, Israeli institutions, and can participate in the Israeli political system. But we are always conscious of our Palestinian heritage. Everything becomes more difficult whenever I cross borders. The in-betweeness of my identity is lost. To immigration officers, government officials, and school administrators, only the nationality listed on my passport matters.

When I traveled to Morocco last year, I was escorted from the airport by security — for my protection, because of my Israeli passport — and greeted with “Shabbat Shalom.” When I told the airport official “thank you, but I am not Jewish,” he responded, “it does not matter.”

In 2013, I applied for a visa to conduct research in Egypt. The application has been pending ever since. I did not really know what happened until recently when my Egyptian friend, whose address I had used on the application, finally told me that Egyptian intelligence officers had come to her house and questioned her about her relationship with “this Israeli student,” even though I wrote my name in Arabic on the application. My Israeli passport trumped my Palestinian heritage.

I regularly find myself having to explain the history of how some Palestinians ended up with Israeli citizenship: in 1948, Israel granted citizenship to the Arab natives who survived the Nakba and remained within its newly established borders.

Suddenly isolated from the rest of the Arab world, the Palestinian community inside Israel was subject to military rule until 1966, while the government expropriated large swaths of land belonging to them and to other Palestinian refugees. Because our schools are controlled by Israel, our Palestinian identity is mostly passed down to us at home, where we learn about our history and culture.

Our sense of otherness is further reinforced through racist rhetoric and discriminatory policies in Israeli society and government. Senior politicians regularly propose plans that would push Arab citizens and villages out of Israel in a resolution to the conflict. The Jewish Nation-State Law is another, more recent reminder of the fragility — and inferiority — of our civic identity.

The author Anwar Mhajne is a postdoctoral fellow at Stonehill College. She presented her research at various conferences including the International Feminist Journal of Politics, the Midwest Political Science Association, and the International Studies Association.

Adapted from https://972mag.com/traveling-the-world-as-a-palestinian-on-an-israeli-passport/138297/

Distributed by PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity)

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