Trip Start Dec 16, 2013
Trip End Jan 06, 2014

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Flag of Palestinian Territory  ,
Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jericha (Ariha)

In the morning, we left early on and headed westward, using a local taxi costing 20JD ($28) to the Allenby crossing. Along the we conversed with our driver told us in broken English and we in broken Arabic how life is a bit difficult in Amman due to the strong dinar, how much the Israelis are hated in Jordan, how the Palestinians, Israeli Arabs ,and Jordanians are one and the same, and how the Jordanians simply tolerate the Israelis for business purposes but still do not view them as friends. After he dropped us close to Jordanian customs, we took another taxi 3JD ($4.5) to the actual customs. There, we were made to wait about a hour then we boarded a bus, for about 13JD ($18), then crossed into Israeli customs.

I was dreading this portion, since I have heard Israeli authorities are ruthless in questioning and may even deny you entry if they see fit. So the backup plan I had was to return back to Amman in the worst case scenario if they did not let me in. After crossing a disorganized line with luggage strewn everywhere we entered the customs, where we then proceeded to be questioned about our stay in Israel. They asked us the standard spiel that customs do ask but were a little unnecessarily verbally aggressive, to the point where it seemed quite rehearsed. I nodded and answered their questions and then they proceeded to take my passport and run a security check on it. My mom's returned quite fast but my own took a good 1.5 hour to "clear". The people waiting with me were all mainly Muslims from different parts of the world. Even though waiting was a tad annoying, I can’t say it was degrading, humiliating, or uncivilized. They did though ask me strange questions of ethnic origin and what my great-grandparents names were, I told it to them and they wrote it down meticulously.

Afterwards, they told us to sit, continually assured us it was still being check, and returned it my passport to me when it was finished. A Palestinian-American lady beside me mentioned the same thing was happening to her and starting reciting prayers and saying “May God humiliate them like they humiliate us”. I couldn’t help but find that a bit dramatic. We are, after all, in one of the most politically tense places in the world, so a little questioning should come to anybody’s surprise. She got her passport before I did mine and went away to the busses waiting outside. After a while, my mother and I also went outside to the busses departing for Jericho city. When we took the bus, a brief security check took place midway, where we were swiftly checked and told “Welcome to Palestine”. We then boarded a shared taxi to Ramallah for 80 shekels ($23) and then arrived in Ramallah.

Till next time,
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