Why Palestinians aren’t surprised by the humiliation of Rashida Tlaib

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). (photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images)
While Palestinians might have gotten used to constant Israeli discrimination and humiliation, these only increase the Palestinian resolve for an independent state or a shared state with equal rights.

By Daoud Kuttab | The Washington Post | Aug 17, 2019

Travel to Palestine, a country recognized by 140 members of the United Nations, shouldn’t need Israeli approval. If anyone still had any doubts that Palestine is a country under occupation, what the Israeli government did to the US representatives proves precisely the point that the Trump administration has been trying to deny.

Whenever my Palestinian American cousins come to visit us, in Jerusalem, they always come prepared. In addition to the family-size package of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, they bring books and an all-important set of playing cards. From past experience, they know that at the Israeli-controlled terminal of the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge they will be subjected to a long wait before getting the approval to enter. Instead of allowing this Israeli humiliation to consume them, my relatives play cards as they wait for hours.

Unlike most American visitors, Americans of Palestinian origin are routinely discriminated against. They are forced to wait long hours and to undergo rigorous and humiliating searches and questioning.

Of course, not all Palestinian Americans are allowed in, as we have seen with the case of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). The humiliating letter she was forced to sign, where she asks for “humanitarian” consideration to visit her 90-year-old grandmother in order to get the Israelis to allow her to visit, is par for the course for Palestinians who have experienced the travel blues for more than half a century. Small wonder that she has now rethought her decision by deciding to withdraw from the trip.

Whenever my brother — a lawyer in his sixties who is a member of the New York state and Israel bars — is stopped at an Israeli checkpoint, he follows the orders of the 18- or 19-year-old Israeli army conscript religiously. “I respect your gun,” he sometimes says, after responding to whatever ridiculous question the soldier manning the checkpoint would ask.

Naturally, many who were born in or who wish to visit Palestine don’t even bother trying. It’s not only because they don’t want to experience Israel’s arbitrary exercise of its “sovereign” rights, but also because they can’t stand seeing their homeland under occupation.

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