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What is Behind Allenby Bridge

by: Feras SSA

Allenby Bridge a strange and unknown name for a lot of people around the world but for Palestinians it is a well known name.

It is the name of the bridge which connects the West Bank with the outside world. It is located between Palestine and Jordan on the Jordan River. The important thing is that it is the only road that we know to travel outside Palestine from the West Bank side.

But what are the Violations behind This Bridge?
Only few kilometers between Palestine and Jordan need 10 hours at least to be crossed. The story starts when you reach Jericho and suddenly you are faced with hundreds or maybe thousands of Palestinians standing there and waiting their turn to ride the bus which they will share the trip along the bridge.

First, the Palestinian Authority checks you. Fortunately this check does not take a lot of time. Then same bus carries you to face an Israeli check point, and the driver of the bus says “Please all of you go out to be checked any metal you have to put it on table.” An Israeli soldier sitting in a small room will check you and check if you have ID or passport. Then you ride another bus which leads you to the main station of Israeli military where they inspect your body more closely. When you go down from the bus you face an electronic inspection machine where you must put all metal on the table, then you enter the main building. Same as before you have to put every thing and enter.

All these procedures take a lot of time. Maybe all these procedures seem normal but when you go and give the Israeli border police your passport the situation will be different. What you feel that this person who is sitting in this small and modern room controls your life and your future. It is not a fear only it is the truth because if he says to you “Ok you have to sit on the chair and wait until we call you”. This means that maybe you will not be allowed to go outside Palestine because of security reasons so your hopes for work or study or even tourism outside will disappear in a moment.

The story does not end here, sometimes the Israeli intelligent request you stay on the bride for hours, in this case you stay there until they close the bridge then you must go back later to try again to pass the bridge to Jordan.

In last time I traveled with my friend from Hebron, it took from us 12 hours to reach Amman. It was a very hard day all people are racing to finish and reach first to the other end of the bridge. I waited with my friend whose name is Tareq in Jericho from 8:00 to 12:00 to have a seat in one of the buses which transfers us over the bridge. I tried to enjoy my time, but it is not easy to wait for four hours because you are very tense because you do not know if you will cross the bridge or not before the day is finished.

I told Tareq that we must go and sit away from this crowded and hard situation so I took him with me to sit under a big tree and listened to Fayrooz songs from my laptop. We slept after a while and the time ran faster than before. We hoped to stay all our day under that tree but in the same time we have to continue our trip before bridge closing. We rode the bus after our turn came and the trip over the bridge started. It seems that the bus walking 1 km/hour. All the people were looking ahead to see how many buses are in front of them. The Israelis check all people in the buses at three different points so the trip takes a lot of time.

We waited until we reached the main point where Israelis take passports to check them on the computer. Tareq was a problem because they stopped him and I had to wait for him at the same time. So we were delayed more and more. Fortunately they did not make an interview with him because they did it just month ago when he entered from Jordan to Palestine so we were happy to a cross the Israeli check points safely.

This long travel requires a lot of patience from any one who tries to travel outside Palestine. But all these harassments will not prevent us from hoping and continuing our life. Everything that is going on at these borders is just a stupid waste of time and procedures that aim to degrade Palestinians and make their life in their country like a prison.