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Action Palestine - our partner for University twinnings

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Twinning with Palestine

The Britain - Palestine Twinning Network - "promoting twinning and friendship links"

Activities for the network in 2011 include * Women's visit - March * Twinning Conference in Palestine - April * Visits to Palestine April and October * Conference in Liverpool - November.

Preparing for your visit

On this page; Training course, advice / Currency / Via Jordan / Dates to watch / Learn some Arabic

Related pages; Websites supporters use to book tickets / When in Palestine

Finding information: www.visit-palestine.com / www.thisweekinpalestine.com

There are many misconceptions about visiting Palestine.

The Twinning with Palestine network always has a pre visit meeting so that the various issues can be discussed and questions answered.

Tips and other useful information will be listed on this page to help you plan your trip and make your visit to Palestine a safe one.

The experience of groups who have already visited Palestine, some many times, will be used to advise new groups preparing for a first visit. See the "Twinning Info. / Visit reports” link (right), to see how other groups managed.

Careful preparation is essential. Travelling in a group brings with it many problems unless arrangements are handled properly.

Do not arrive unprepared or tell blatant lies, as you well find yourself on the next plane back.

Anything can happen. The Birmingham experience - Birmingham-Ramallah delegation (pdf file).

Some good advice from one group - Keep the cover story simple (tourism, pilgrimages, etc.) don't admit to going anywhere in West Bank. The obvious question of "why are you visiting now?" This may best be dealt with by giving a religious story - visiting Jerusalem Holy sites for example. If questioned in depth, stick to your story and it should be OK. Don't expand on your answers, try and keep them as simple and short as possible.

Changes are likely to be made for foreigners visiting the West Bank though - www.imemc.org

Training courses / advice

ISM London run a useful course which we recommend for any first time visitor. www.ism-london.org.

There is some good advice on this page - www.palsolidarity.org.

More good advice from Alternative News - www.alternativenews.org

Your Rights at Ben Gurian Airport

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT BEN-GURION AIRPORT ... BUT YOU DIDN'T KNOW WHO TO ASK [SECURITY SEARCHES]

Security checks at border passages are legal in Israel, and even justified for your own personal security. There are however a variety of checks.

Certain categories of persons are submitted to special procedures upon departure from, and sometimes upon arrival to, the Israeli territory:

Arabs, persons with Arab names, persons with "Arab" features, as well as persons suspected of entertaining any kind of "relations" with Arabs.

In 1990, an AIC staff member, Dr. Tikva Parnass, together with Israeli-French film maker Eyal Siwan and Dutch journalist Beni Bruner - the three of them having been systematically subject to special searches procedures - appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court of Justice in order to challenge the legality of such procedures, or alternatively, to know their rights regarding searches of that kind.

After almost two years of hearing, the Supreme Court declared that the searches, as well as the list of alleged suspects, were legal. However, it did so after the Attorney General had submitted a detailed statement in which the procedures of the searches, and the rights of the people searched and checked were well defined. The provisions of the above-mentioned document are binding, and any search that does not conform to the directives of the Supreme Court represents the breach of law and is thereby illegal.

THE BLACKLIST Who is on the Black list?

According to the Prosecutor General to the Israeli Supreme Court, the list is composed of names of people who are suspected of having "relations with people whose life style [sic] or ideology express support to terrorism."

You Have the Right to Know

According to the Attorney General, you have the right to know if you are on the blacklist, by addressing your request to the Central Command of the Israeli police forces (Commander of the Board-Police, Central Command of the Israeli Police, Sheikh Jarah, Jerusalem). The latter is bound to answer your query, specifying both the legal provisions regulating the searches, as well as the occasion at which you are likely to be subjected to the search (arrival, departure, or both).

You Have the Right to Appeal

Twice a year, you are allowed to be cleared from the black list or to change category (for example to be searched only upon departure).

TYPES OF SEARCHES

There are 3 legal frameworks authorising personal searches on the boarder:

I. The Aviation Law (1977): This law authorises searches aiming to prevent hijacking or blowing up of an aircraft or an airport. As such, those searches do not encompass written documents, with an exception of documents that prove the aim of your journey, or indicate how the plane ticket was purchased.

II. The Law for Emergency Searches (1969): This law is less specified that the first above - mentioned one, but based on the same aim (looking for arms or explosives).

III. Emergency Regulations (1945) - Part H: Part H of the (British) Emergency Regulations concerns censorship of documents, about which "the censor may assume that they may hurt the security of the area or the public.." According to these regulations the censor - or anyone appointed by him, can search, take, photocopy, or confiscate any document prone to jeopardise security.

THE SEARCH PROCEDURES

A. Identification and Explanation

The person in charge of the search is required to: first, introduce himself or herself with name and function, second, to explain you why s/he is conducting this specific search, and third, which law or regulation sanctions it. Usually, s/he has a special identification tag specifying (on the reverse) that the search is conducted according to the Protection of Aviation Law. That means that s/he has no right to check your written materials (notes, books, address books, etc.), unless it concerns your identity or the purpose of your journey to Israel.

B. Interrogation

The search is NOT an interrogation. The only questions which they are allowed to ask you, are the ones aiming to ensure that you are neither a "terrorist" nor being used by someone who has a "terrorist life style".

The appropriate questions securing that aim, are for example: "Who packed your luggage? Who bought your ticket? Why did you come to Israel? Which places have you visited during your stay in Israel? etc. If you feel that questions are going beyond the professed aim, you should make it clear that you have provided all the necessary answers, and that you refuse to be subjected to a political interrogation.

C. The Search

You have the right to be present at each stage of the search of your belongings. - You have the right to demand that the searcher will put your belongings back in their original place, neatly folded and clean. 

In a case of a body search, you have the right to demand proper conditions (for example, to be searched exclusively by a member of the same sex, or not to be made stand barefoot on the floor). If you feel that the search is going beyond its official aim (usually, protection of aviation), you have the right to demand to stop it immediately. In such a case, ask to see the supervisor - you have the right to complain and to insist that you will not allow the search to continue, unless it is conducted within the framework of the regulations.

DAMAGES

If your belonging have been broken or damaged, ask immediately to file a complaint. The authorities will have to provide you with a special form in which you will have to specify the damages, as well as demand appropriate form, ask to write your complaint on a regular piece of paper and try to obtain the searcher's signature.

Once you arrive safely to your designation, file an official complaint to the Border's Department of Police, and a request to be compensated for the damages.

A FEW TIPS

Make it very clear from the outset that you are familiar with your rights

Do not be rude or friendly with the searchers

Do not lie

Do not volunteer information

Behave with dignity and they will treat you with more respect.

This brochure was published by The Alternative Information Center

Going in via Jordan?

Access to Palestine via Jordan requires multi-entry visas.

These are obtainable for £21 from The Royal Jordanian Embassy, 6 Upper Philmore Gardens, W8 7HB.

You need a completed visa application form (obtainable via fax on demand - 0906 5540868), your passport, a passport photo and cash.

Open Monday to Friday 9.30 to 12.00am The visa can be collected from 2.00 to 5.00pm.

Visa Office: 0207 937 3685 ext 225/227/229

Visa applications made in person (or courier service) dealt with within 2 days, Up to 10 days for applications by letter etc.

No requirement for vaccinations.

This information available on 0906 5266668 (£1/min.)

Currency

U.S Dollars, Jordanian Dinars, and the Israeli Shekels are accepted in Palestine. Also, the Egyptian Pound is accepted in Gaza. There are currency conversion offices throughout Palestine. You can also draw cash from local banks using major credit cards. Tourists paying in foreign currency are exempt from value-added tax (VAT) at their hotel. Most hotels accept major international credit cards. Personal checks are generally not accepted.

Dates to watch - more

Ramadan is best avoided as are the major Jewish festivals. Try and plan your visit outside of these times.

Try to avoid entering Israel or the Occupied Territories on a Saturday.

If you have a problem when in the Holy Land contact the British Consulate in Jerusalem.

Safety

The U.K. Foreign office often issues advice on the safety of U.K. citizens. This is the link for Palestine: www.fco.gov.uk

It is worth noting that they advice visitors to register with the Consulate General in Jerusalem for "immediate, specific information about planned demonstrations or any other events which may affect the local security situation."

Learn sone Arabaic

i-cias.com/babel/arabic/ - An online course in Arabic. It teaches you basic sentences, how to write, how to count and introduces Arabic grammar. All with sounds! This course will teach you about 400 of the most common words in Arabic.

Contact us

Events in 2011

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Women's Tour March 2011

Conference Palestine April 2011

Conference - Liverpool November 2011

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Help us develop the Twinning with Palestine network

Group Membership - Supporters

Join the Twinning with Palestine Groups facebook page for the latest news and events. www.facebook.com

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Please support our work - click here

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Would you like to visit Palestine? We regularly organise tours to Palestine. Book for the October 2010 tour now!

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Greeting Cards (Eid / Xmas)

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Gallery

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The Israeli Apartheid wall "security barrier"

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Twinning Banner

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Zaytoun Olive Oil

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Getting there - Airlines activists use

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