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The Only Democracy? » Human Rights Activists in the Crosshairs » Swedish Palestinians Barred Entry for Promoting Coexistence

Swedish Palestinians Barred Entry for Promoting Coexistence

Members of the Olof Palme Centre's Old City Youth Association

A Jewish-Palestinian joint dialogue group arrived from Sweden’s Olof Palme Centre for a visit to Israel. You might think they would have no problems gaining entrance into Israel. You would be wrong. Here’s the Ha’aretz editorial on the subject.

Last week Israel deported three Swedish women from Ben-Gurion International Airport who had arrived in a group of seven young people of Jewish and Palestinian heritage, active members of a Jewish-Palestinian education group in Sweden. The three women – all Swedish citizens of Palestinian background, two of whom were born in Sweden – were loaded onto a plane home after being held at the airport for eight hours of intermittent questioning.

It went a bit easier for one of the Jewish members of the group, who was allowed in on the condition he not actually try to visit any Palestinians with his message of coexistence and pay a ransom.

Amira Hass reported in Haaretz Hebrew Edition on Friday that a Jewish member in the group, Tigran Feiler – whose father is the Israeli-Swedish artist Dror Feiler and whose grandmother was among the founders of Kibbutz Yad Hanna – was also delayed in his arrival. In addition, he was asked to sign a statement that he would not enter Palestinian territory and was ordered to provide NIS 5,000 in collateral. Feiler ultimately signed under protest, stating that in his 25 previous visits to Israel he had never received such hostile treatment.

The editorial goes on to imagine if it had been the other way around.

One can only imagine the scandal that would erupt in Israel if Sweden had prevented West Bank settlers or rightist activists from entering its territory.

Hopefully, the Israeli government’s increasing fear of anyone promoting coexistence will become a scandal all by itself.

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Written by

JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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