RAMALLAH, July 23 (JMCC) - US activist Laura Durkay describes what happened
when dozens of pro-Palestinian activists tried to travel from Europe and the US to the West Bank on July 8.
Detained at Israel's main airport, some activists were beaten before being transferred to a nearby jail facility.
We’re brought into a large open room to wait while we are processed for detention extremely slowly. Around 1am, after nine hours of detention, we’re finally given some food, which the guards film us eating so they can demonstrate how humanely they’re treating us. We’re allowed to keep our carry-on luggage with us, although our IDs, money, credit cards, and any media and electronics are confiscated. Those of us (like me) who had been stupid enough to check a bag have not been reunited with it, and therefore have no toiletries or change of clothes. I’m finally processed and put in a cell with five other women around 2:30am—only to be woken up for a headcount at 6:30 the next morning.
It doesn’t matter how “humane” the conditions are—waking up in prison sucks. There’s a lot of anxiety on the first day, since no one knows how long we’ll be here and how the guards might treat us. At one point, a rumor goes around that they’re trying to photograph and fingerprint us and we must all resist because we are not criminals. I imagine being in a room full of guards, alone, outnumbered, having to physically resist being fingerprinted, and get quite scared. That threat turns out not to materialize—either the rumor wasn’t accurate or they gave up that project after they realized we were all going to resist. But it’s a shaky first day or so.