2 American citizens detained at TLV

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by viguera, Jun 6, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    If everything transpired as described, this is a rather horrifying story as told by one of two American citizens (of Palestinian descent) detained at Ben Gurion after being denied entry into Israel.

    More troubling is the fact that they were supposedly "requested" to even log into their email accounts so airport officials could perform searches for specific terms like Palestine. The (eventual) conversation with the US Embassy was also apparently fruitless and was basically the equivalent of a shrug.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/06/do-yo...-detained-and-interrogated-at-ben-gurion.html

    Now I'm certainly not one to suggest that anybody deny their heritage or lie to authorities, but considering the circumstances, I wonder if she would have been better off with a bit of "social engineering" at the time. After all, when someone asks you “Do you feel more Arab or more American?” in what's basically an interrogation room at TLV, answering "I don’t know, I feel both" is probably going to generate more subsequent questions than you would like.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    This has, I believe, happened before at TLV, and probably always will, given the political/security situation over there. And the Israelis don't give a damn if anyone likes it or not.

    These two were incredibly naive (to put it mildly) if they thought that a) being American citizens would mean anything to another country (especially Israel) or b) if they thought the US embassy would be able to do anything about it. And from taking a quick look at their blog/website, I would've been surprised if something like this hadn't happened.

    Now, I'm not necessarily saying that I agree with this, but that's just the way things are.
     
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  3. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    I would have just asked to leave, and take a return flight, and tell the israeli's to go f themselves.

    I suppose that was not an option?
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    20+% of Israel's citizens are Arab.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel
     
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  5. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I've not been in this type of situation, but as someone who was born and raised in two different countries and is of mixed race I can say that this type of question is very loaded and can be very emotional for some people. I can see the utility in making the smart answer to attempt to smooth over the situation, but I really cannot say that were I asked something similar in this type of circumstance that I would lie and say that I felt anything other than who I am. I think I'd actually be more inclined to lie in a less serious situation, for some reason I think to have someone of authority question my background would emotionally motivate me to stand my ground even firmer.

    But then again, I might just do my best to get out of a sticky situation. You never know till you're looking it in the face.
     
  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    That would be my course of action.
     
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Is that a way to get around minimum stay requirements on certain tickets? ;)
     
  8. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    ;)

    I somehow doubt you get points if the carrier is forced to involuntarily remove you because you were denied entry to the country. ;)
     
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  9. NYCAdventurer

    NYCAdventurer Gold Member

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    The email thing is ridiculous. I can say though, having traveled to Israel 3 times I have witnessed their airport security both on Israeli soil and American soil. They take things very seriously and are very intense with their questions to both Jews and non Jews. I never saw any favoritism to anyone. Not justifying what has taken place but often when people are held this is because the persons name the same as one that is a known terrorist. Israel's security is so good that countries all over the world are trained by the IDF" Israeli Defense Force".
    -On another note, I know an American of Colombian decent, when he travels he leaves a half day earlier than necessary because his name is on a no fly list in the US. Ever time he leaves the US and enters he is taken into security for questioning. He has tried to fix this problem but no matter what he does the problem never gets fixed. He has gotten used to it and accepts there is no other choice. This is the times we are in. We can thank all the terrorists and drug traffickers for changing air travel for all of us.
     
  10. effseeoh

    effseeoh Gold Member

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    I've been to TLV twice. No problem at all getting in, but getting out took hours of questioning. Having read their report though, I don't actually see the issue. To me the worst place on earth to travel to/in is the USA, and I've managed to avoid it for a few years since it's so unpleasant. Unfortunately I have to go this year though.

    The country you travel to makes the rules, and if you don't like them, don't go there. Obviously I'm not going to let anyone read my email and I don't belong to any social networks (unless you count milepoint), exactly because I disagree with publishing my life history on the internet for anyone to peruse at will.

    As to contacting the embassy, what difference would that make to anybody? If you're from Nigeria, Pakistan, UAE, UK or Italy and you go to the US and get denied entry, would you really expect a call to the embassy to make any difference as to whether you get in? No it won't.
     
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  11. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    Its one of the reasons why I don't like to visit Israel, and have no immediate plans to return.

    Sidenote : I've also heard stories of laptops / iPad's being confiscated, and then returned a month later
    Confiscated for "inspection"
     
  12. effseeoh

    effseeoh Gold Member

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  13. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    Ok so I read both sides.

    No desire to visit Israel. I support their desire to be a independent state, their right to exist etc but the security measures go too far.

    Read this
    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/06/do-yo...-detained-and-interrogated-at-ben-gurion.html

    Until then, I'm going to have a gay ol time north of the border in Beirut. The Hezbollah are much more gracious hosts. Actually I am going next month...for a few days. Purely for pleasure.

    Its the same beach as far as I am concerned, without the hassle and possible harassment at the border.

    Based on the article, it seems like there is no easy way to back out, you have to get sent to this detention facility aka jail if you are not desirable.

    I wish there was a way for them to be secure, without resorting to barbaric measures. Until then, I will pass.
     
  14. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    I'm speechless. Perhaps a topic more suited to Omni.
     
  15. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    I just walk into Beirut, no questions asked. They do ask me to pay the visa fee. Claim my luggage, cab to town.
    From plane to hotel = 1 hour? Maybe 90 minutes, tops.

    Plane to hotel in 1 hour in TLV is imposible unless you are Jewish, look Jewish, or be Israeli. Simmilarly, it takes 2 hours to check in just to leave, if not more.

    I'm stating fact.

    I don't mind visiting TLV, I have other places I can go without the hassle, and a much more open welcome at the airport. Simmilar climate and beach, granted the population is different.

    This has nothing to do with politics, I am judging this solely based on arrival and departure experience at the airport. That was my point.
     
  16. Gabed1

    Gabed1 Silver Member

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    I cannot blame Israel for taking every possible measure to defend itself, given the troubles that have occurred there. FYI...several Arab countries will not even let you past customs if you are Jewish or have Israel stamped on your passport.
     
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  17. karung99
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    karung99 Gold Member

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    I have been to TLV and no problem in and out the airport, I am not a Jew but I like lox and bagel a lot :)
    You just have to deal with TLV security and I think they did excellent job securing the border.
    I feel safer walking around town there at night then lot of the city in US.
    I am looking forward to go back there :)
     
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  18. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    I've only visited once, but I didn't find security to get in or out to be noticeably different than many other countries. I find the entry questioning to be much more intense and time-consuming in New Zealand and Canada, for example (both of which seem to assume that everyone intends to illegally stay in the country). Exit questioning was no worse than any other country where someone chats with you about why you visited and such. There was a line of people waiting to be questioned as we were leaving, but the questioning itself was just a few minutes per person (we could see everyone ahead of us).

    Sounds almost as bad as the U.S., where laptops (and phones and other devices) can be arbitrarily confiscated (even for U.S. citizens) and kept indefinitely. I know a few security geeks who wipe their hard drives and travel with all their data on an encrypted USB drive, but that seems like way too much work for me.

    My experience is that lines for both entering and exiting move much faster (only a few minutes per person) and given how many non-Jewish visitors Israel has, I find it hard to believe that everyone that we saw getting through in minutes was Jewish or "looked Jewish." Since you report a much worse experience, my conclusion is that some people are questioned much more intensely than others. But I'm not sure if this is based entirely on "you are Jewish, look Jewish, or be Israeli."
     
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