When I was a small child, I moved from the US to Palestine. I moved to my father’s village of Kufr Malik, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
My father has a Palestinian identity card or hawiyye. My mother, however, was born in Jordan to a Palestinian refugee family, so she carries a Jordanian and a US passport.
My parents both decided early on that they wanted to raise me and my three younger siblings in our homeland to ensure that we maintain our language and culture. Up until 2006, Palestine was my home.
In early 2006, our family came to the US for better job and education opportunities. We planned to keep our house in Palestine and come back for the summers, at least.
But when I tried to visit Palestine in the summer of 2008, I was denied entry and banned for five years. This was because of a technicality — the Israeli airport security personnel apparently found in their system that my mother at one point overstayed her visa when she was in Palestine trying to raise me and my three siblings.
I was being punished for something I had no idea about as a child.
In 2012, I finally attempted to try and enter the country again. Fortunately, I was allowed in.
It was during this visit when I met Marjan, who I fell in love with. She eventually became my fiancÃ©e.
Throughout the past two years, Marjan and I planned to have a beautiful wedding celebration with our family and friends in Palestine on 11 August this year. I planned on bringing her with me back to Chicago after the wedding.
Back in the US and working to save up for our wedding, I was excited to come to Palestine this summer to marry Marjan. My mother, youngest brother Wael and younger sister Yasmin were set to go to Palestine ahead of me to help us with wedding preparations.
Unfortunately, my mother was denied entry, even though it was her first time coming in seven years. During interrogation in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, Yasmin was put into a different room than my mother and Wael.
Yasmin was questioned about why she was visiting Israel, and she told them she was coming for my wedding. After a short interrogation, she was allowed in.
But my mother and Wael were not allowed in. When airport security officials found out that my youngest brother was born in Palestine and was eligible to get his hawiyye, they informed my mother they were not going to let them in.
Read the rest of the story at Electronic Intifada.