Palestine Chronicle - Kris Petersen: ‘Welcome To Gaza!’
As I discovered, getting into Gaza is a convoluted, Kafkaesque process and is virtually impossible if you are unable to provide a “good” reason to the Israel Defense Force; indeed, many qualified people are barred from entry without explanation almost as a matter of routine. Under the terms of the 2005 Disengagement Plan, Israel retains total control over Gaza’s borders (including surveillance of the Rafah crossing at the Egyptian border), Gaza’s coastline and airspace. This means that the final say over an individual’s entrance into the Strip, Palestinian or not, is in Israel’s hands.
Inevitably my choice of destination led to some special treatment from Israeli officials. When I arrived at Ben Gurion airport, for example, I was immediately flagged by customs officials and questioned extensively about my intentions and contacts in Gaza. “Why are you interested in going to Gaza? Were you coerced into coming? Do you hate Israel? Are you planning to criticize the Israeli military? Were you coerced into coming? Haven’t you packed a little light for your stay? Do you support Hamas?” And once again for good luck: “So you were coerced into coming?”