23 october 2006
I was so surprised when I read this morning, with my morning coffee, an article in the Washington Post titled “ Stricter Policy Splits West Ban Families”. The Post refrains from publishing any thing that may embarrass Israel and its friends in DC. Don’t know what will happen to the writer or the editor. They may get fired if Israel’s friends decide to do so as it happens to all those who dare to write the truth about Israel.
In any case, the story of Sam Bahour, a friend of mine and also from the same hometown of El-Bireh has been in the news for few weeks now, in major media, both print and TV, ever since Israel decided not renew his residency visa. Sam, born in Ohio returned to our hometown soon after Oslo thinking that Israel has changed. It did not.
Israel has been splitting more families than it united and the number of over 120,000 waiting for re-unification is a small number compared with those Israel deliberately split. Israel not only exercises and with great styles its policy of ethnic cleansing, but also make sure that those it could not expel, turns their lives to hell.
My late father, who happens to be a US citizen decided at the insistence of my late mother to return to El-Bireh so that my mother, who happened to have an Israeli residency permit, can be with her aging and ailing mother. My parents returned to El-Bireh after spending 4th of July 1976 here in Washington DC. By the way, my late father was a die hard Democrat, talked always about labor unions and about FDR as if he was god. Now I can see why he was not a Republican, in any case we go back to the story.
Soon after its occupation of 67, Israel introduced a law that allows certain families, usually husband and wife, to reunite if one of the spouses happened to be a “resident” of the West Bank at the start of occupation. My mother qualified for that.
One would think that Israel, way back in 76, before terrorism, before Hamas will process these application at least with some slow speed. It did not. My father for over 10 years had to travel to Cyprus every few months and return so that he can renew his “ tourist” visa to his hometown and to be with his wife and his ailing mother in law. Well, my father did that for some 10 years until someone called “ Abu Daoud” an Israel Jew and an employee of the Israel’s civil administration suggested that my late father pay the sum of $15,000 and he will be able to get his permanent residency. My father did pay the bribe and he was able to get his residency permit. Of course, Israelis like all other people do accept and take bribes Sharon did that too! They may be “chosen” but they are also on the take and do take bribes and are corrupt like all other people.
When my late parents became ill, I was living in Geneva and I wanted to have a permit to be with them. They applied for me, but were turned down. With some European connections, I was able to have my file reviewed again. This time Israel did approve the application, but insisted that I leave my own family in Geneva and stay in the West Bank for a period of not less than one year. It was a difficult choice and after traveling to El-Bireh to meet with my parents we decided I would not take the offer.
This is in contrast to the fact that some American Jews armed with a gun and a deed from G-d decided to take over couple of our properties in an area of the town called “Jabal Altaweel” as part of the Israeli settlement. Of course, as US citizens of the Jewish faith they can, under both Israel and US laws take over any property they chose without due regard as to who own the property. They are the chosen one and we as Palestinian American do not rise to even a second-class citizens, with equal protection of the law.