September 27 2009
An engineer who designed a high-tech geo-thermal building in the West Bank says new visa rules are making it hard to travel in the area with his Canadian passport.
“I was denied three times in seven months, I was given one-week visas, one-month visas, Palestinian-Authority-Region-only visas,” says Khaled Al Sabawi.
The new “Palestinian Authority only” visa means he cannot pass through Israel to get in or out of the West Bank.
“That’s the same as someone coming into Canada and getting a ‘Saskatoon-only visa,'” says Al Sabwi.
Travellers who arrive at the Ben Gurion airport are now being told to take a long detour into the West Bank from Jordan.
The Al-Sabwi family, originally from London, Ont., have worked in the West Bank for more than 15 years. They say it has always been a hassle getting through, but the new rules have made it especially difficult in the last year, making it extra hard to do business in the area.
The U.S. government says the visa practices are unfair to Americans with Palestinian or Arab backgrounds. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has posted a travel advisory about the restrictions, but has otherwise been silent over it.
One Canadian church worker says the rules make it so difficult to move around, it might deter tourists from coming to the country.
“It’s very arbitrary,” says Kathy Bergen, of the Society of Friends.
“It’s at the whim of the immigration officer. If I were living abroad, and knew about this, I would think twice about coming.”
It would be an especially big blow to cities like Bethlehem that thrive on tourism.
The Israeli government declined to speak to CTV News about the subject.
Simply don’t go to Israel. Let their tourism bottom out?
You couldn’t pay me enough to go there. Even if you offered me a million happy dollars, I would not step foot in Israel.
That would be the last place on the earth, I would ever want to go to. Especially knowing everything I know.
For those wanting to go to Gaza or the West Bank however this is just disgusting. Just one more Way Israel has found to make peoples lives miserable and to isolate the West Bank and Gaza. What some don’t know about traveling there is you can also be strip searched by officials.
The UN Mission Report is quite though/ Most of What Israel said about The Palestinian Fighters was a myth. Then again much of what Israel says is a Myth. Talk about fabricated lies. Now the propaganda machine is focusing on Iran. If anyone believes anything, Israeli leaders say, they should have their heads examined.
I don’t know how many times during the war they blatantly lied.
But I do know they never told the truth.
Again they are not cooperating and yet they condemn Iran. Who has let inspectors in.
December and January Archives especially have many stories on Israels war crimes.