Palestinian journalist Mohammad Omer, from Rafah, was harassed by Israeli border Authorities on his way back from a speaking tour in Europe.
Upon arrival to Jordan, he was informed by the Dutch embassy that he is not welcomed in Israel. However, the Dutch embassy coordinated his entry with the Israeli Authorities and thus he proceeded to King Hussein terminal on Thursday.
Israeli border police stopped him and detained him for interrogation, Omer told IMEMC over the phone that he was beaten by the Israeli intelligence officers. He also said that the officer asked him, “Why did you come back? we allowed you to leave because you, like other Gaza youth, dream of leaving the Gaza Strip.”
“Why do you leave a good life like in Europe, to come back to Gaza, there you have water and electricity and many things that you do not have in Gaza,” the officer said.
Omer, who was hardly talking on the phone, as he was tired, told IMEMC that he was humiliated by the intelligence officer because of his “writings that expose Israel's aggression against the Palestinian people.”The main purpose of Omer's trip to Europe was to receive an award he won for his articles that he writes from the Gaza Strip.
Omar won "Martha Gelhorn Journalism Prize 2008" for articles he published in the Washington Report magazine, describing the hard living conditions the Palestinian people are facing due to the ongoing siege on the Gaza Strip.
Omer was also invited to speak at the House of Common in the UK and other parliaments in Europe.<br /><br />
The "Martha Gelhorn Journalism Prize 2008" is a prestigious award founded by Martha Gelhorn trust. British journalist Robert Fisk, was awarded the same prize in 2002.
Gelhorn is an American novelist, travel writer, and journalist, considered to be one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century. She reported on virtually every major world conflict that took place during her 60-year career. Gellhorn was also the third wife of American novelist Ernest Hemingway, from 1940 to 1945. At the age of 89, ill and nearly completely blind, she ended her life by taking a poison pill.
Omer is founder of Rafah Today, a website that includes images and reports from the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.