In the age of dating apps it’s easier than ever to meet or “e-meet” someone that’s thousands of miles away. Just take Tinder plus as an example, pay a fee and you can swipe in any country of the world.
But what happens when you meet someone online who is from Palestine? No problem right? And when you decide to meet in their home country? Still no problem, well, except for the usual pre-blind date nerves. But would you be worried that your blind date turns into you being detained, sent to jail, deported and permanently banned from ever trying to re-enter their country? Sounds crazy right? Needless to say that possibility seems absolutely nuts, but it’s the truth of the matter and exactly this happened to one of my readers. I thought this modern day e-romance was worth sharing (especially if you’re deciding on following in her footsteps and meeting up with your Palestinian online lover).
Here’s what happened in her words:
“I’ve been talking to a guy in the West Bank for a while now and even our moms have spoken to each other. I was in Italy to visit family and I figured I’m this close I may as well go there. I went to Israel to meet him, but upon arrival at the airport I was detained, imprisoned, deported and permanently banned. Their reason was suspicion of illegal immigration. I’ve never had such a harsh sentence over something I didn’t even intend on doing…”
So what can be done? Honestly, it’s an answer that many people trying to cross into West Bank have probably asked themselves (over and over and over again). Personally, when I cross into Palestine I wonder when they’ll just flat out tell me no and send me back. To date, after 3 crossings, I’ve only been detained once and questioned for 5 hours at the border from Jordan to Israel for no other reason than that my fiance is Palestinian. (The first time I crossed I made a friend out of the Israeli police officer and he offered to be my personal tour guide, but that’s a story for a different day). I can’t imagine what would happen if the detainment had turned into imprisonment, or worse yet, being banned from ever visiting his home again.
Crossing is a crapshoot
When it comes to crossing into Israel and Palestine, the truth of the matter is, the Israel Border Police can detain you for many different reasons, reasons that probably won’t make sense to anyone but their own security department. However, the chances for a “mixed couple”, meaning a non-Palestinian and a Palestinian, being detained at the borders is very high as the personal experiences I’ve heard would suggest. Newlyweds being detained and deported because their identity cards didn’t say “married” yet and trying to enter the country while pregnant and being sent back to where you came from, are just a couple of the stories that I’ve heard.
Some advice for crossing into Israel & Palestine
It’s a very tricky situation and my only advice is honesty at the Israeli borders is always the best policy, especially if you will be crossing into Palestine often, as you don’t want to weave a web of lies that later you can’t remember. In this case, you will most definitely be caught and risk being detained, imprisoned and deported.
Love has no borders
As my final words, I’m looking forward to the day when Palestinians, Israelis and everyone else can travel freely to wherever they wish, with whomever they wish.