Monday, July 11, 2011

Interview with a French Participant Regarding Airport Experience

What happened at the airport at Geneva?

While my friend and I were waiting on the queue to check-in, a group of people arrived to protest their Disappointment due to the fact that they were not authorized to board the flight to Tel Aviv. They sat on the check-in desks and blocked the queue while chanting that they are peaceful and that they simply want to visit Palestine. While they were protesters, the police continued to push them.

Thankfully, our name was not on the list and we were passed through to go to the gate, which was packed with passengers as most flights were delayed. We were asked to present our passport twice and were questioned about the reasons for which we were going to visit Israel before finally passing through the gate. As soon as we boarded on the plane, the pilot informed us that there is an extra passenger on this flight and that each boarding pass has to be verified again. The personnel scanned all the boarding passes and a young man of North African origin had to leave the plane as he was on the list. Finally, the pilot announced that they had to check the personally carry-on’s as a security measure before taking off.

What happened at the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv?

As soon as the plane landed, the pilot asked us to wait, as the Israeli police will first come on the plane. I saw thousands of policemen through the window, which made me so nervous yet at the same time I managed to keep my composure.

I had no idea what was in store for me. A policeman came on the plane and asked passengers to leave the plane row by row. When it was time for us to come down, there were countless policeman, soldiers, journalists and photographers who started to take pictures as soon as we stepped foot outside the plane. A policeman asked for our passports and we were asked to go on a bus, along with ten other passenger. We were also photographed on that ride.

We arrived to what looked like an empty storage room, which made me nervous. “Where am I?” , I thought to myself. We finally arrived to a room where we were offered water and then were asked for individual interrogation. I was asked the reasons for which I came to Israel, to which I answered that I was simply here to visit the country and will be in Jerusalem.  We finally were released, when they finally returned our passports accompanied with a rose. 

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