Sunday, May 24, 2009

...and on to the west bank...

Good Morning - 05.26.09 7am

We are on the roof of some coffee shop hanging out and doing some shooting, soon we will embark on wards toward the West Bank: 

To do this we must go from Amman to the Allenby Bridge/King Hussein Bridge (one name for Israel, and one side for Jordan, and if you know your history you can guess which one is which) It is 57 kilometers west of Amman and is the one bridge that does not issue visas.

I wanted to see how long that would take by using trusty Google Maps, but, "We could not calculate directions between Amman, Jordan and Bethlehem, Israel."  Perhaps, this is because it is the "road less traveled" or rather, the "road less traveled by Google target demographic" because apparently The Allenby Bridge can get quite busy, especially in the summer months where hundreds of Palestinians wait hours in 110 degree desert heat to visit their families still residing in the West Bank.

At any rate, the Allenby Bridge or King Hussein Bridge  that crosses the river Jordan and is the closest entry point to Amman. There are two other entry points, but they are both much further away, Aqaba/Eilat(about 4 hours from Amman and then 5 hours back on the other side) and The Sheikh Hussein Bridge (not to be confused with the King Hussein Bridge) which opened in 1999 and is about 2 (fairly costly) hours away, and apparently funded by the Japanese (Sumitomo Construction Co. Ltd). ANYWAY!

So, Joesph can travel from Jordan to the west bank over the Allenby Bridge, but what about us? We will be separated into a different line from Joseph for internationals and Israelis (which will be significantly faster that the one for Palestinians) and will be aggressively questioned as to our reasons for traveling this way.  We have been informed that if we are coming through this bridge the Israeli authorities will want to know where we are going to which we are meant to say Jerusalem. Since we are spending less than a day in Amman, the next question they will be asking us is: Why didn't you fly into Tel Aviv?

This will be the first of many check points we will encounter on our trip, as we travel with a Palestinian in occupied Palestine:  "By September 2008 there were 699 closure obstacles in the West Bank– approximately 130 of these have been added after the Annapolis Conference began in November 2007." source

If we get though, we are instructed not to get our passport stamped, but rather a piece of paper, in case in the future we want to travel to other middle eastern couturiers like Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudia Arabia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen. Even on exit we should be careful to get avoid the getting a stamp at the border because even a Jordian Stamp at the Allenby Bridge (or in the case of exiting) the King Hussein Bridge will indicate us having been in Isreal, and will keep us out of all of these other countries.

But according to the most recent blog I have read, we may not have this option. (recent blog I read)

Perhaps the US government will be nice enough to issue us some new ones, for a price?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this very interesting information about which I know too little. I am looking forward to the coming details.