Questions asked by Israeli border officers in Tel Aviv

tel-aviv-immigrationQuestions asked by Israeli border officers in Tel Aviv: If you come to Palestine, you might be wondering about what Israeli border officers will ask you relating to your visit to Palestine, and what you should respond? Should you tell the truth or lie to them in order to get to Palestine?

Since Palestine is still under occupation and is not yet a state, it does not possess control over its own borders, and visitors to Palestine must pass through Israeli borders, either through Tel-Aviv airport or through Jordan at the Allenby Bridge crossing. You will deal with Israeli authorities in both cases. The Israeli authorities will ask you several questions, as would any border authority. Some of these questions are quite normal but others may be more specific or personal.

Israeli authorities are keen to control its borders and know who are visiting and what is their purpose, due to the security situation in the Middle East. In the last 10 years, many internationals have come to Palestine to participate in demonstrations or other political activities, to show their solidarity with Palestinians. However, Israel has imposed strict bans to forbid such politically charged visits to Palestine.

Although in a few cases, the authorities might ask you more questions than you expect, that does not mean that it is hard to enter, they are just interested in getting more information about foreign visitors to Palestine. Usual questions include; why are you coming to Israel; for how long; what places will you visit in Israel? More personal or specific questions may be asked to those who have an Arabic name, or if they suspect you are not really coming to visit Israel. They may ask where your parents are from, what they do, and whether you have Arabic origin.

What should I do?

If you can avoid saying that you are coming to Palestine, this may be easier as Israelis are sensitive to visitors to Palestine. Try to mention places you want to visit in Israel, such as Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa or Akku. If you want to tell them about coming to Palestine, we recommend you say West Bank or the Palestinian territories.

Some people come to Palestine to study Arabic, to teach English or to volunteer at a Palestinian institution or university. In this case, you should tell the border authorities this. In short, the Israeli authorities in Tel Aviv are concerned about any possible engagement in political actions against their occupation, so if your activities are not political they will most likely allow you through.

Finally, this article (Questions asked by Israeli border officers in Tel Aviv) has not been written to show how difficult it is to enter Palestine, but simply aims to make you more informed about the situation once you arrive at Tel Aviv airport, and make you feel more prepared to answer their questions.

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