A Thank You Letter for Hurryyat
Dr. Abdallah Jarrar
My name is dr. Abdallah Jarrar and I work as a dentist in the city of Jenin. I began suffering with the prevention of travel in June 2009, one month after I was released from Israeli prisons after a detention period that lasted 19 months.
In 2007, while I was returning to the Faculty of Dentistry at Damascus University, I was arrested at Al-Karama crossing. Three months later I was sentenced to 19 months in prison. After my release, I tried to travel so that I could complete my studies at Damascus University, but I was turned back and informed that I was forbidden to travel abroad without specifying a period. As a result, I joined Al-Quds University so that I would not miss the academic year and complete 4 years of dental education at the university. In addition to the injustice and oppression I was subjected to at the prison, I was prevented from traveling and had my involvement in the labor market and working life delayed as a result.
The travel ban makes you feel that you are in a massive prison. You are cut off from the outside world. Even if you do not have any need to travel, this prohibition deprives you of your most basic rights. Which is the freedom of movement, which makes you feel that you are still inside the cells and walls of prisons in the Negev and Majedu.
After getting my bachelor’s degree in 2013, my ambition was to complete a master’s degree in dentistry which was not available in Palestinian universities and I tried to travel to start preparing for this subject but was returned again without mentioning the reasons.
I started the year in an excellent condition and started processing to open my own dental clinic in Jenin. I would often feel very upset whenever I see my colleagues’ doctors traveling to participate in scientific conferences abroad and achieve their ambition in their scientific and professional development and I am deprived of this right. In 2015, I tried to travel again to attend a scientific course abroad but was denied entry. After this attempt I gave up and haven’t tried to travel again for three years.
In 2007, my mother became ill, forcing her to travel to Jordan for treatment and stayed there for a year. I felt pain as I could not stand by her side in a time when she needed me the most, and I was only able to bring her comfort through speaking to her through the phone. This makes you feel that this prohibition is only an attempt to avenge the person all the way even if he got out of prison and served his sentence, he is still under their rule and oppression.
In 2018, I tried again to break this curse. However, even nine years after my release, they still considered my travel to be prohibited, knowing that during this period I have not been arrested or interrogated even once. What was the reason for the ban?
Hope finally came in the middle of 2019 when I was complaining to a relative in a wedding that I had missed dozens of conferences, courses and educational opportunities due to the travel ban as well as being prohibited to support my mother during her illness. He told me that there is a human rights organization called The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat” who provides legal assistance for cases similar to mine and focuses on lifting the travel ban.
I called the director of the center, Mr. Helmi al-Araj, and explained my situation to him and he encouraged me to apply and give the center a shot, so I visited the center in a last attempt to hope to succeed this time.
When I arrived, the treatment was respectful, and I sensed their seriousness towards my case. Taking upon themselves the burden of pleading and defending me at no cost.
Two months later, I was told that my problem had been solved, that the ban had been lifted and that I was able to travel wherever I wanted. My happiness at hearing this news was indescribable and my joy was equal to the happiness I felt when I got out of prison and on my graduation day. I traveled to Jordan and this is just the beginning to compensate for what I missed in previous years.
I call on everyone to support The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat”, Civil Rights organizations and other like-minded centers for their humanitarian and legal services related to travel and other matters, and to provide media coverage and sponsorship to such centers in order for them to be able to reach a wider audience and help as many people as possible.
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Tal – Nablus
Those who do not thank people are not thanked by God; to those who have removed the darkness and suffering from me, the words are racing to thank them… the words are racing to form a thank you letter that is only worthy for those who deserve it (The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat”). The Center took the initiative to support and stand by my side and help in lifting the unjust travel ban which caused me a great deal of suffering. The ban prevented me from traveling in which I was deprived from visiting religious sites and my siblings in Jordan. Your leading institution has come to alleviate this suffering by lifting the travel ban, where I felt a great deal of happiness I had not felt before. Having Hurryyat contact me and inform me of the travel ban being lifter was one of the happiest moments of my life. That was the happiest moment of my life. I want to say thank you on behalf of my family and I for what you have done. Many thanks and God bless you and your support for all you do to those who are oppressed.
Bahja al- Sa’ady
Never in my life was I ever banned from traveling which is why I was shocked upon first hearing about my ban. Freedom to Movement is a basic right that was stripped away from me.
For a long period of time, I felt that I was a prisoner in my own country, and every passing flight above my city was a reminder of my situation.
This travel ban has harmed me on more than one level, occupational, psychological and medical.
Occupational: I wanted to travel outside Palestine to attend courses to raise my qualifications in Dubai, Turkey and Jordan, but I missed many opportunities and invitation as I was not able to.travel and attend them.
On the health level: I used to be treated in Amman but had to stop treatment because of the ban.
On the psychological level, I will never be able to forget the sight of my family passing through the Karama crossing border for a vacation in Amman. The Israelis separated me from my family, and I had to return to Ramallah by myself, reinforcing the feeling that I was trapped in this country and limited to these procedures.
In order to solve the problem, I went to several parties and institutions seeking legal advice. The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat” worked hard to lift the ban and was able to do so on April 18th, 2019.
To make sure, I went to Jericho to check that the ban had been lifted. I bought the exit tax and boarded the bus from the Jericho break. At Al-Karama crossing I was beyond happy when they opened the gate for me to board the bus that would take me to the Jordanian side. When I got there and did the necessary work, I passed the duty-free shop and bought a pack of cigarettes and waited for my entry. Just to make sure that the ban has been lifted indefinitely.
What I wished for came true…
I will try to use the time to catch up with some of what I missed. I will go to Amman to spend the Eid holiday with the family and visit my doctor for a checkup.
In September, I was able to join an advanced workshop to improve my work in Jordan.
A thanks is sent to all those who extended a helping hand to help me lift the travel ban and travel after suffering for three years. In particular, the center of Hurryyat represented by Helmi Al-Araj and the lawyer, Abeer Baker, on their continuous and determined efforts to reach a positive result. I hope that this role will continue for Hurryyat and other civil society organizations in highlighting this important issue and providing legal assistance to those affected by the occupational policies and violations of human rights, especially those affected by the travel ban as it is a basic right according to international law. It especially affects their right to work, treatment and social communication with their family and relatives, as it happened to me. My experience with the center has been successful and fruitful, and I hope that the Center will continue its role in serving Palestinian citizens and helping those who are prohibited from traveling, because after the harsh experience that I have experienced over the past 3 years I have become more knowledgeable and aware of the suffering of those who are prohibited from traveling and the harm done to them and their families and therefore demonstrating the importance of such institutions to provide service and assistance to those affected.
Bahja al- Sa’ady