Old friends of CADFA may remember our visa equality campaign – How appalling for the British government to accept the apartheid divisions imposed by Israel on the Palestinians, that is to accept Israeli settlers into Britain with no visas while they put the Palestinians living in the same place through a long and humiliating visa experience, and even treat Jerusalemites in a different way from West Bankers!
Now we are back to organising visits again, this campaign will need to start again. Our first thoughts are
– that it is outrageous that an Israeli settler living on the West Bank could come to Britain tomorrow if she or he wants to, while a Palestinian from the West Bank has to start the horrible, time-consuming visa process around two months before she or he needs it…
– that getting a UK visa is a long process of humiliation and time-waste. Our youth worker guests coming next month filled in their applications and then had to book a time to have fingerprints made. FINGERPRINTS? We don’t do that to go there. Let’s have equality all round.
Then they got to Ramallah to do the fingerprints – and the machine was broken. In particular for people outside Ramallah, this was a waste of a whole day – travelling along the congested roads of the West Bank (pictured), queuing at the checkpoints – and even worse, on that day in particular, it was Land Day and the Israelis had thrown up even more checkpoints than usual. And all for nothing.
They had to rebook, worrying more about the visa coming on time, and wasting yet more time in traffic. This time to discover that the hand gel used for Covid stops the fingerprints being taken easily….
For our group, though, this stage is done! Now… when will the visas come? Please, on time!!