I'm not in Israel

Israeli Border Form

I'm in Ramallah and am filled with thoughts. Here is a simple one: Upon traveling from Amman to Ramallah yesterday, had a long hassle with Israeli authorities at Allenby Bridge; I had to fill out their form if I wanted to enter. It "asks": "IS IT YOUR FIRST VISIT IN ISRAEL." I responded "Yes" since I have been inside Israel in the past and wanted to get past the border military personnel; but I was going from the Allenby Bridge, near Jericho, to Ramallah. I am not going "in Israel." Which begs the question: What does Israel have to do with this; why are they controlling the border?

[originally published at husseini.org on April 20, 2006]