2. I am not shocked that this happened to two US Citizens of Arab descent - they fit a certain profile and were PNGed at the border. I am sorry for their experience and would demand more professionalism from the security agents at the border. At the same time, any country can declare a non citizen a persona non grata. If there was a plane leaving in 2 hours it's safe to assume they would have been on that one.
3. Quoting the USG: "
Israeli authorities might consider as Palestinian anyone who has a Palestinian identification number, was born in the West Bank or Gaza, or was born in the United States but has parents or grandparents who were born or lived in the West Bank or Gaza. Any such U.S. citizen might be required by the Government of Israel to travel to Israel using a PA passport. Without the PA passport, such U.S. citizens might be barred from entering or exiting Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza, or they may face serious delays at the ports of entry." http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1064.html
4. Folks, encrypt your laptops at border crossings and forget the password. This goes for the US as well. The 4th Amendment does not apply at US borders, and most countries don't even have the niceties of the Bill of Rights.
I'm an Israeli and If their story is indeed true it makes me feel really ashamed.
A lot of people here do not approve of this racial screening in our air ports. In response to a growing threat from arab countries and organizations like Hizbullah, the country becomes more and more fascist and paranoid, and it is becoming unbearable.
Quite frankly, I would have immigrated to the US if I could..
You should edit this to say:
a small group of people living in the greater Metro TLV area feel bad about how the rest of the country is treating Arabs, Eritreans etc but only so long as it is NIMBY (not in my back yard)
Personally I don't live in TLV, not even close. What would you say about that? How's the Eritreans are related to how foreign innocent people are almost violently forced to reveal their most private assets (gmail accounts for example) in our air ports? Doesn't it make you a little bit uncomfortable? or would you rather sacrifice any aspect of other people's personal freedom (as long as its not your privacy that is being compromised .. ) for a false selfish notion of safety?
I was born and raised in the US, so of course this seems upsetting and offensive to read.
BUT, as humiliating and degrading as the treatment of these girls may sound to western ears, you have to pull back and see that there is a larger picture and that these conditions were created in a context of constant threat of serious violence from all sides.
This is NOTHING like an employer asking you to log into your FB account. This is about a country preventing the murder of its citizens. Forcing you to expose all your potential secrets sends a pretty strong deterrent message to anyone who would try. Being extremely invasive at the airports and doing serious screening and interrogation is how Israel remains a relatively safe place to live for its citizens and guests.
As the woman from the embassy pointed out, there are a lot of things wrong with a lot of systems. At least this one was kind enough to allow a phone call and to quickly arrange safe passage home.
Ahh, interesting. So if we pull back further and look at the even larger picture, I see that you disagree with the fundamental reasons for why at least some in the US support Israel in the Middle East.
Quoting from the "Friends of Israel" (I could find similar quotes from many other organizations): "Israel is a Western country. With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations."
Why do you say that Israel is not a western country?
Israel is not exactly a western country. It's a mostly parliamentary democracy, with military rule in the areas of Judea and Samaria. In addition, the law (even inside the 1948 armistice line), is patchwork of Ottoman, British and Israeli law, with many rules still being enforced that were originally promulgated by the British Mandate.
Finally, the country was founded mostly by eastern europeans with a strong socialist ethic, and doesn't have the same genetic code that democracy in the USA has.
So for example: You can be detained indefinitely without habeas corpus inside Judea and Samaria, and it's a little bit more complicated in the rest of Israel (if you read hebrew this article gives a good overview http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%9E%D7%A2%D7%A6%D7%A8_%D7%9E...)
It doesn't work that way. For one, you may need to scale by population, since obviously if there were only 1,000 people in Israel then we're probably overpaying. Our military support to Israel comes out to about $400 per Israeli resident, while the TSA spend is $26 per American resident. (BTW, as far as I could tell, we send military aid to Israel and make an additional several billion in "qualified loan guarantees", but that's all the direct financial support we do these days. There are other types of support than financial.)
But it doesn't work that way either, since US military support sent to Israel also comes back to purchase US weapons.
Yet another way to think of it is that Israel's military budget is $13 billion and revenue is $61 billion, so we pay for about 25% of their military funding and 5% of their total budget. Or another is that our $3 billion is about 1.2% of their $235 billion GDP.
But it doesn't work that way either, since we support Israel for geopolitical reasons, and for reasons specific to US internal politics, and therefore get other things from our support.
In any case, simply comparing the US aid to Israel with the amount we spend on other projects trivializes the matter. I believe moistgorilla was asking why our many years of significant contribution to their budget doesn't give US citizens special leeway when entering Israel, rather like how citizens of Poland complain how despite having provided material support to the war effort in Iraq they still aren't part of the US Visa Waiver program, or how Iraqi interpreters are still waiting for the US visas they were promised.
As an American my money goes against my wishes to fund a lot of hate culture in my own backyard that I think worsens the world and increases danger in far more destructive ways than Israel stupidly, but humanely, turning away tourists at her borders.
It's not that I am practically funding these practices, it is that I am funding these practices.
It's also arguable that the example here, of a sovereign nation turning away a tourist is any sort of example of hate culture.
And the argument that if any country takes our aid then they have to live up to our laws and expectations in each and every case is neither realistic, nor always helpful, nor does it seem to lead to ends that we want.
This did not come across from your previous posting. I read it as saying that we spend so much more on these other projects that we shouldn't be so concerned with the money we send to Israel.
Thank you for your clarification. But then I don't understand why the TSA is listed there. While I am opposed to it in part because it does not add any extra security, I am not aware of any "hate crime" influence in its operations.
Yeah, the same thing is happening here buddy, to ALL Americans. You can't travel without getting groped. I hope you are just as adamant about not wanting your money funding the paranoia culture of the TSA as you are about a holyland.
This is mainly on HN because people here tend to value privacy and there were already some great discussions about TSA (Transportation Security Administration). I still don't know how I would react if somebody (even a security officer from a foreign country) asked me to log into my gmail/email account.
That's even worse than an employer asking an employee to log into his/her Facebook account. I keep all sorts of private information in my personal email... I've got nothing to hide but I'll think twice before flying again to a foreign country.
You might be warned by these previous HN topics on life in Saudi Arabia: "In Saudi Arabia Today, A Lady Went for a Drive", "Why western governments won’t support democracy in Saudi Arabia", "Saudi Arabian judge asks hospitals to paralyze man", "Female Producers in Saudi Arabia: "Did you have to wear the black thing?"
Plus as well the more tech-related warnings: "The Great Firewall of Saudi Arabia - Smart & Dynamic Content Filtering", "It's Official: Saudi Arabia Bans Blackberries", "Saudi Arabia blocks Facebook", and "Saudi Arabia bans blogging without a license."