From inside the Israeli border crossing at King Hussein Bridge

At the King Hussein border crossing between Jordan and West Bank going thru Israeli border control.

I’ve been here now for three hours and counting and no telling when I’ll be done. Others have been here for longer than I have. One Dutch girl arrived at 8am this morning and just went through now, almost six hours later.

The scene here is quieter now than it was when I first arrived, I think because the border is closed to new travelers. There are ppl of all nationalities, Japanese, French, American, Jordanian.

The immigration officers here seem to treat everyone here pretty equally.  They are stern, professional and totally uncaring – this seems typical of most border officers I have seen in my life. No visual indications of discrimination although I am sure the immigration officers do racial and ethnic profiling for obvious reasons and they appear to do extensive background security checks. Remember that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency is one of the most highly sophisticated in the world.  There are people here who make this trip on a regular basis but still get stuck for hours waiting to be cleared for entry.

They’ve taken my backpack away. Don’t know when I’ll see it again. I also went through some type of biometric scanning device which blows high-velocity puffs of air at you. Apparently to see what you have under your clothes. Something called Sentinel Express I think.

I haven’t dared to take any photos, mostly because I don’t want to risk having the camera confiscated.

There are paramilitaries here, some of them with huge looking machine guns and dressed in plainclothes and reflective sunglasses. Maybe they’re settlers?

Most of the security / immigration officers here are early twenties, maybe 17-18-19… Regular people just doing their jobs, most of them are probably Israeli Defense Forces doing their two years of mandatory military training. Most of them are women too, many of them extremely attractive, the Eastern European heritage very apparent (i.e. Descendants of WWII immigrants). It’s almost closing time now and getting quieter in here.  Everyone thats still here is waiting for their passport to come back and get cleared for entry. Some of the immigration officers are walking around with walkie talkies and clipboards, and when they’re not busy they stand around just like 19 yr olds do, laughing and talking with each other looking at their mobile phones and probably looking forward to finishing work, hanging out with their friends and going out for drinks.

Youth all over the world, we all think of similar things, across religious lines, ethnic lines, youth everywhere have so much in common (sports, romance, television, parties) it is interesting how some become fanaticised, even the well-educated, the well off, (am thinking of the recent cases of US Somali youth who have fled to join the Islamist rebel cause in their homeland).

I wonder why it happens.

Being here, stuck at the border, probably being scrutinised at this very moment (maybe they are even googling my name and are coming up with ryanrowe.com?), I don’t have a problem with it. It is part of the experience, of learning to appreciate the things that people go through here, on all sides of the conflict. And I don’t want to take sides, I am here to learn and understand, to speak with the people.

Signing out for now…

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