On February 3rd, 2014, I was denied entry into Israel after being interrogated by over a dozen different Israeli security officials and agents and kept in a holding cell in the Tel Aviv airport for two days before being escorted by security onto a plane headed for JFK.
During interrogation processes, a man who told me (more like screamed at me, red-faced) that he was an Israeli secret service agent and that he knew everything about me and my "terrorist" intentions in Israel. He than read to me emails I had sent to loved ones a year ago while I was in the West Bank, he read to me reports I had written, and than proceeded to show me pictures taken of me by Israeli soldiers preventing an old man from being arrested for planting an olive tree.
Here is a little background...
One year ago, in February 2013, I spent one month in the Israel-occupied West Bank of Palestine. I worked in a peace team under the umbrella of the DMCW Rachel Corrie Project http://rc.dmcatholicworker.org/ and Meta Peace Team http://www.mptinpalestine.blogspot.com/ doing third-party non-violent intervention work in the West Bank. During my stay our team was asked one morning by local Palestinians to accompany them as they planted trees on their property. The trees they had planted a few months prior had been burned down by Israeli soldiers, who claimed the land was a "closed military zone" even though UN maps proved clearly that the land belonged to the Palestinian Authority.
Our team accompanied a small group of Palestinian farmers, along with a handful of additional international peace activists, and as we began planting olive trees we were met by soldiers. At this point our entire team was detained in an illegal Israel settlement holding facility and questioned by soldiers.
See full report regarding the 2013 detention here:
Once detained at the Airport on February 3rd, 2014 all individual rights were suspended. I was given a full body search because I was a 'bomb threat' and might have 'bomb making materials on my body". I was not give a chance to make a phone call or right to an attorney. After being escorted onto the plane by Israeli security from a separate entrance for all to see, after all other passengers were boarded, seated and belted in, My passport was passed on to be held in the cockpit until deboarding the plane at JFK.
My biggest disappointment not being able to join DMCW'ers Julie Brown and Aaron Jorgensen who are in the middle of a war zone taking in tear gas, dodging rubber bullets and live ammunition. Please keep them in your thoughts and hearts, as well as the Palestinians, who are resisting the horrendous occupation conditions created by Israel. And the folks at ISM http://palsolidarity.org/ doing a great job with way too few people.
As for me, my future plans are uncertain at the moment. I am regrouping and refocusing my efforts toward other areas of international peace work.
Jessica Reznicek (Meta Peace Team member since 2012)