“Your blood isn’t German, right? Your blood is Palestinian.” That was the fourth question that an Israeli Shin Bet security service interrogator asked Nadim Sarrouh, a 34-year-old German citizen. https://t.co/DmxGyFXk2o pic.twitter.com/XRLcmpyhBK— The IMEU (@theIMEU) August 25, 2018
In the latest account of Israeli border police questioning travelers entering the country, a German man was reportedly detained by Shin Bet agents and interrogated endlessly about his ties to Palestine.
Nadim Sarrouh, a 34-year-old computer scientist from Berlin, was making his way into Israel from Jordan with his family when he was detained at the border and questioned for five hours about his family background, political stance and views on the Israeli occupation of Gaza.
Acting in a rather discriminatory manner, one of the Shin Bet guards who was interrogating Sarrouh reportedly berated him for his “Palestinian blood” and refused to accept that he was from Germany.
“Your blood isn’t German, right? Your blood is Palestinian,” Sarrouh was asked.
The 34-year-old painstakingly explained to the guards the trajectory of his family’s displacement after they were expelled from Haifa, Palestine, following Israel’s occupation in 1948.
His family was resettled in Lebanon, Sarrouh recalled telling the guard, and later moved to Berlin in 1968 where he was born.
However, the Shin Bet guard did not seem to be in the mood to buy his back story.
The line of questioning then changed, and the official asked him about his feelings on the latest tensions in the Gaza strip.
When Sarrouh refused to speak much on the issue, the guard threatened to deny him entry into Israel. As is the case with colonial forces, anti-immigrant rhetoric easily seeped into her tirade against Sarrouh.
“We can actually do anything. We are not Germany! We are not letting in refugees just like that, like your Merkel is doing! We check who we let in!” the investigator said, according to Sarrouh.
Sarrouh was briefly released back into the waiting area, and then called back in for a second, and what he termed as a more “aggressive” round of questioning.
The Israeli forces seemed intent on coaxing some kind of confession out of him. The guard threatened him that they had apparently surveilled him and had video footage of him that could be used against him. The guard also threatened him with his wife’s arrest. He was also asked about any link he may have with extremist organizations in Syria.
After five hours of questioning, Sarrouh was let go.
The Israeli border police has denied the man's account of the incident.
The statement released by Shin Bet referred to him as an “uncooperative” traveler who was found to have links with “hostile” organizations.
In recent times, many reports have emerged of the Israeli border police being less than welcoming to people they deem as critics of the state, sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, or bearing Palestinian blood in their veins.
The first to have emerged in this latest spate of such accounts was from journalist and Israeli government critic, Peter Beinart.
Beinart, who was traveling to the country for his niece’s bar mitzvah, was detained at the airport and questioned about his suspected links with “organizations that could provoke violence, promote anarchy, or threaten Israeli democracy”.
At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had condemned Beinart’s detention and deemed it an “administrative mistake."
Benjamin Netanyahu has half-apologized for my detention yesterday at Ben Gurion airport. I'll accept when he apologizes to all the Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans who every day endure far worse https://t.co/k2TYqmHulF— Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart) August 13, 2018
Following Beinart’s disclosure, Iranian-American scholar and author Reza Aslan also shared his account of detainment. Reza likened Israel to a police state, and claimed the border police had accused him of “hating Israel."
(THREAD) Peter’s experience has spurred me to share mine.— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) August 14, 2018
2 weeks ago, as I was crossing back into Israel from Jordan, I was separated from my family and detained by Shin Bet. “We can make it so you don’t see your kids for a long time” I was warned.
This is what happened next https://t.co/syxVj23BNx
Following months of fresh violence in Gaza, Israel’s PR machinery has expectedly gotten a little antsy, even more vigilantly policing people who can visit Israel and document the apartheid violation of human rights the state sanctions.
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