Wednesday, September 23, 2009

De-developing Palestine, one "visit permit" at a time

Rima Merriman writing from Jenin, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 22 September 2009
Electronic Intifada
(Left: A view of AAUJ in Jenin)

"I am an American citizen of Palestinian descent and have been employed by the Arab American University-Jenin (AAUJ) in the occupied West Bank as an assistant professor of American literature for the past two and a half years. This month, while attempting to re-enter the West Bank through the land border with Jordan to start the academic year, I was denied re-entry by the Israeli authorities and questioned at length about my Palestinian heritage. The stated reason for the denial was that I had broken the law.

Through the office of a lawyer in Jerusalem that AAUJ had to hire at great cost and the support of the Israeli Committee for Residency Rights and the Palestinian Campaign for the Right of Entry/Re-Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as efforts initiated by the US consulate and AMIDEAST, I am now back in Jenin.

I have managed to avoid the fate of Dr. Stacy Krainz, also an American citizen and the former chair of the English Department at AAUJ, who left on vacation in 2006-2007 only to be denied re-entry and disappear forever and, in the process, incapacitate teaching and learning at the fledgling department for some time to come. She too was told that she had broken the law........"

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