'Last permit' stamped in three languages
Last Tuesday, August 29, the American-Palestinian business community got a clear message that hope for their "immunity" from the new Israeli policy was false. Sam Bahour, a founder of the first shopping mall in Ramallah and an economic consultant to international development organizations, went to the Civil Administration in Beit El to get his visa extended. For 14 years he has lived on a tourist visa in Ramallah where his family has resided for generations.
In fact, the visa in his American passport was renewed this time too, but only for a month instead of three. Moreover, the official wrote on the stamp in long hand in three languages "last permit." In one month, he would have to leave his home, his family and his friends in Ramallah. Bahour wrote a letter that was circulated on the Internet. "If I only had the e-mail of the multilingual occupation soldier that wrote 'last permit' on my visa, I would send him the attached pictures of my two girls, Areen, 12, and Nadine, 6. I wonder if his/her children look any different on the first day of school," Bahour wrote. He ended the letter with thanks to those who had assisted him and the Israeli friends "who understand that those being denied entry are those that have come to build bridges, not walls. We have come to invest and create a new reality - a reality that ends this racist occupation and brings a brighter future, a joint future, to both Palestinian and Israeli children." (A.H.)