A Brief Update

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, and there’s good reason for that.  I’ve been working on getting back into Palestine. Today I went to the border to try to enter again, but that’s skipping to the end of the story.

When I was denied entry (or Entery as it said on my passport) I was told it was because of my involvement with Christian Peacemaker Teams. We as an organization found it odd that Israel would have a policy against an organization with a stated and proven peace position, so we took this challenge to the Israeli courts.

In the courts the Ministry of Interior (the people in charge of deciding who gets in or not) told the judge they had no such policy against CPT and that I must have been denied for some other reason, which the people on the ground had decided.  So they basically denied that they denied me. The courts believed them, since the only evidence was my denial, and said we should take it up with the Ministry directly. Which we did.

With CPT apparently cleared, and no reason for my denial the lawyers set about asking for permission for me to get back in. Specifically we wanted permission so I could at least attend my cousin’s wedding with the rest of my family.  The Ministry of Interior is slow getting back to us, and the wedding is tomorrow. In other words we bought the tickets a month ago, with assurances the ministry would get back to us, they haven’t and instead we went to the border with papers from our lawyers explaining the situation.

Side-note: When I say ‘we went to the border’ I mean me my immediate family of 5 and my extended family of 14 total going to the border.

Things seemed to be going smoothly until we got to the last passport check. Then the stalling began. All but 3 of us got passports back within a couple hours. But it was clear they were worried about my ‘history’ at the border. They just made us wait, but we made the most of it. Luckily we had brought plenty of snacks, and games to keep us occupied. We found free WiFi and started live tweeting all the happenings (check out #brennatborder).

We heard the border was closing at 9, so as they always do the border authorities waited until about 8:30 to let us know that everyone but me would be allowed through.

Things got a bit heated at this point, but the reason I was told I was denied was, “The Ministry of Interior’s computer says you worked for an organization [CPT] that the Ministry of Interior does not allow.”

This is the assertion that the Ministry of Interior denied in Israeli court!

But the people at the border would only believe that the Ministry of Interior said this if we had document to prove it. We do have documents to prove it but they are in Jerusalem. So we have to go get them. This is impossible to do at 10 at night, especially when all the border authorities say they are going to leave.

So I got sent back to Jordan to wait till we get the papers in the morning. Which means I get to go through the whole process again tomorrow… Stay tuned.