Dhoruba bin Wahad was a political prisoner in the US for 19 years – 7 of those years in solitary confinement. In 1990, he was cleared of all charges when a New York judge found that US Federal agents had fabricated evidence against him as part of the Counter-Intelligence Program, or Cointelpro, created by the US government to systematically attack and destroy movements for black, Latino and Native American Liberation. Today, bin Wahad is in Amman, Jordan after Israeli authorities denied him entry into the West Bank earlier this week.
Along with Washington DC based independent journalist Naji Mujahid, bin Wahad was detained at the Allenby bridge that crosses the River Jordan and marks the main border terminal between Jordan and the West Bank. Contrary to past signed agreements, however, Israeli forces control the border terminal, and arbitrarily detained the two men for over 11 hours before refusing them entry and forcing them to return to Jordan.
Mujahid told an IMEMC reporter, ‘As soon as we got off the bus, we were immediately singled out by the Israeli Defense Force soldiers that were there. There was a bus full of people, and this was before they even know who we were, our history, what we were there for, or anything. We believe they saw two black men and decided to single us out. They confiscated our cell phones, and took my media equipment and cameras.’
He then described a grueling 11-hour interrogation in which the two men were separated from each other and strip searched, all of their luggage examined piece by piece. Both were separately asked the same questions about their religious and political beliefs, including whether they were Muslim, what type of Muslim, if they had been on a pilgrimage to Mecca, how they felt about the government of Saudi Arabia, and many more questions about their lives and political beliefs.
The two Americans had never been to the Palestinian Territories before, and were on their way to attend a conference in Jericho convened by the Palestinian Authority on the status of political detainees in Israel.
Israel’s denial of entry to certain internationals based on their race, religion or political beliefs has become extremely commonplace since 2006. Although such racial and religious profiling is a direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no foreign government has taken Israel to the International Criminal Court for its actions.