Gaza Mom » Blog Archive » I don’t exist!

I don’t exist!

…well, at least not according to British Airways. I was attempting to enter in my “passenger details” and country of citizenship and residence on their website for a flight I have booked next month (from Cairo, 8 hours and a border crossing away, since the Gaza airport is incapacitated-much like Sharon, and the Tel Aviv airport is off limits to Palestinians), but guess what…I don’t exist!

Palestine/Palestinian Territories (territories, what territories?..maybe “Palestinian bantustans”)/OPT/Gaza Strip/Palestinian Authority..well, none of the above mentioned options are present, and since I am the holder of a Palestinian Authority passport (which one can only get based on having an Israeli-issued ID card, or hawia…) I am a non-category.

Needless to say, I was distrought. Where in the world is Laila El-Haddad (maybe with Carmen Sandiego, hee hee) if not in Palestine, I thought? Certainly not in Israel (as one of many customer relations reps suggested). I immediately sent an email of complaint to BA, humbly suggesting that BA add Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Territories, or Palestine to their list of countries, “since there are several million Palestinians who live here and unfortunately they do not have a category in your list.”

and several days later the reply I received was: “I am sorry, we are unable to assist you with your query via email…For further assistance, please call your general enquiries department on then SELECT YOUR COUNTRY from the drop down list.”

Um, ok, I realize you don’t need a phd to work in one of these posts, but i assumed it was farily self-evident from my first email that MY COUNTRY IS NOT LISTED in the drop down list. I explained this to “Diana” in a subsequent email, and was told to contact my “nearest general enquiries department” (if I was to take that literally, that would be Tel Aviv).

Instead I opted for customer relations in the UK. My “inquiry” was pushed from one phone operator to the next until I was finally patched through to web support, who, surprise, surprise, “forwarded my request”.

“When can I get a definite answer?” I asked earnestly. “Well, that could be one week or one month, we don’t really know. To be honest we may not get a definite answer”.

“And why not? What is so complicated or conroversial about adding my country or territory or even geographic location to your list?”

“I honestly don’t know” came the reply.

Well, I do. As my friend joked this morning, “there’s no definite answer, because we aren’t definite people.”

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  1. I don’t think he meant anything was wrong by it. Nothing is wrong with Algeria flying a crescent and a green colour for Islam. It was just an example. The point I think is that sometimes here there is a double standard here – it is okay for Algeria but when Israel flies the flag and the official religion is Judaism then that is wrong, even called racist- but it is always never wrong when Arab and Islamic people do it.

    It you are looking for brutality look to Africa, the entire world is silent on a lot of conflicts in this World and there are many. The Palestinain & Israeli conflict gets the majority share in news and world debate – way out of proportion to it’s size and population. Other countries with conflicts with deaths in the hundreds of thousands are downplayed and do not get as much attention.

    And for your information, very few people in these countries even have the words “Human Rights” screamed at them, nothing is guaranteed. Forget clean water and the right to go to school, earn a living. Children lives are just a useful tool of the ruling force, drafted and forced.There is no right to childhood because in alot of these places there is no childhood.

    You must come from a western country when you shout human rights. UN resolutions are for what country?!

    And I know my saying this does not make it right that some ethnic group occupies another, I just want to point out that it happens. Looking at the Palestinians and Israelis, they will one day have to say yes to peace and give up violence and then maybe they will respect each others culture and religion. I don’t see a problem with a Palestinian Islamic State and Israeli Jewish one side by side if they want that – as long as they are tolerant and repectful of the other. Wilson

  2. becauase saudi arabia at its inception is a very homogenous society, while israel is not

    when saudi arabia was created- much like the vatican- it was for a purpose and the people of the land were ALL of the same religion

    however, when israel came to existence, much of the population was not, and a major part of it is still not does not.

    besides last time I checked Saudi Arabia does not claim to be a democracy, especially one that transferred hundreds of thousands of people from there home, then claims to be the exclusive homeland of the Jews, and institutionalizes policies to maintain the Jewish majority at any cost.


  3. Would I be cynical in thinking BA doesn’t want any Palestinian passengers for “security” reasons? This would surely be a quiet way of doing it…

  4. Y,

    So if Israel stops claiming to be a democracy you won’t mind what’s going on anymore?

    The terminology is the main issue here?

    institutionalizes policies to maintain the Jewish majority Banning all non Muslim worship is exactly that.

    Again, the issue here is not Saudi Arabia, it’s the one sided arguments used against Israel which are not only untrue, but also extremely hypocritical.

    Frankly, I don’t care what goes on in Saudi Arabia… Just don’t tell me you are against a state based on Religion and claim Saudi Arabia is anything but…

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