[Tel Aviv, Israel , July 28, 2007 ] I left the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem: Occupied Territory at 8 AM and arrived at Ben Gurion Airport fifty minutes later.
I only hire Palestinian drivers whenever I travel in Israel Palestine, and for the first time in all my five journeys, my Palestinian driver did not have to leave his car and go into the interrogation building. Security asked me politely for my passport and to get out of the car and identify my luggage in the trunk. I did as I was told and then security returned my passport with a round blue sticker and the number 78 on the back cover. The sticker marks one as being with a Palestinian and triggers a more in-depth interrogation inside the terminal.
I told Samir, my driver, "I am not removing the sticker this time. I am livid to the point of over boil at all I have seen and heard these past two weeks and I will not shut up until I get it all out. I will be writing for the next week about what I have learned and I am going to tell airport security exactly where I have been and that I have been reporting it all on the web. I am flaming mad at my government and pathetic mainstream media who do not tell the truth about what is really going down in the Holy Land, which is all in pieces; Bantustans! Bush and Olmerts concept of a contiguous Palestinian state means connecting the unconnected enclaves with underground tunnels while the illegal settlers; colonists; squatters get to use the well paved apartheid roads and my tax dollars support this occupation and injustice! I am totally pissed off and whipped and worn out with misery and grief at all I have seen, heard and it has gone to my gut; my heart in other words, and I will not be silent; I cannot shut up."
Samir just shrugged.
The very first Ben Gurion employee, who questioned me, was the very same young trainee I had encountered in November 2006, but I didn't tell her that I remembered her. Eight months ago she was hesitant and apologetic in her questioning, but she had now mastered the routine, and there was no joking around. She was very concerned if anyone had given me anything that could be a bomb.
I told her nobody gave me anything except coffee, tea, water, soda, cookies, fruit, hummus and bobaganouh during my visits in Palestinian homes in Ramallah, Bethlehem, and in the Dasheish, Aida and Jenin refugee camps.
"How many times have you been to Israel?"
"This is my fifth trip."
"Do you have family here?"
"Not blood family, but friends who have become like family."
"What was the purpose for your trip?"
"I am an Internet reporter and I came to investigate what my government and the USA media doesn't talk about."
"So, have all your trips here been for business?"
"You could say that."
She then led me to the first x-ray machine, and after my bags passed through, she returned to me accompanied by another young woman and a young man in a suit.
He asked me; "How many times have you been to Israel?"