Mr. President – I Need My Money Back!

April 18, 2010
Mr. Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C.


Subject: Mr. President: I Need My Money Back!
As an American Tax payer who part of his hard labor is deducted annually since over 45 years to give for free as a grant, as annual donations, to the largest recipient of American Foreign Aid, to Israel, I need my money back along with the compounded interest going back 45 years.
On February 23 and March 7th, 2010, I was, as an American Tax payer, whose country gives most generously and unconditionally to Israel, I was denied entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, my place of birth, by the Israeli Occupying authorities. As I frequently visit the Occupied Territories to assist duly registered business enterprises, specifically Financial Banks, in the development of their businesses, I was denied entry for the sole excuse of frequent visits that duly stamped by the Israeli immigration authorities.
Somehow, Mr. Obama, I feel you would, as an Afro-American most relate to me in my plight of discrimination and denial of basic human rights.  However, my plight, Mr. President, remains a miniscule in comparison with the enduring plight of the average Palestinian in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 
Mr. President, my plight is further accentuated by a wrenching sense of a sad irony; of the travesty of the position of our Government that while professes strict adherence to human rights, I am denied entry to my place of birth, the place where I had grown up until the age of adulthood, until the age of 18, as hordes of American Jewish settlers, mostly recent immigrants, move in droves to occupy illegal settlements right next to my hometown, Nablus, in the West Bank, Nablus.  As known to you, Mr. President, these new American Jewish immigrants  enjoy full right of entry, residency, and, according to the Israeli Apartheid “Law of Return,” as immigrants of the Jewish faith, granted automatic right of Israeli citizenship with all the attendant equal social benefits accorded long-time Jewish Israeli residents.  That’s the kind of Apartheid Israel where my tax money is going.  That’s the discriminatory Israel, Mr. President, that your government elects to look the other side when it violates the very basic principles of human rights that our great American constitution stands steadfast in defending.
Mr. President, it all started on December 15, 1966, nearly 44 years ago, when I first left my home town, Nablus, in the West Bank, to pursue my University Education in the U.S.A.  It never occurred to me, then, six months before the start of the Six-day June 5, 1967 war that my home town, then part of the Sovereign Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, would be occupied by the Israeli forces.  Even then, I thought, to my great naivety, Mr. President, that the Geneva Conventions would be observed and that it would be totally inconceivable that I would be denied the right to return to my home town, my place of birth, for the simple technical problem that when the Israelis moved to occupy my city I was not there to be counted in the Israeli arbitrary and ad hoc system of deciding right of residence and the “Right of Return” of absentee students.
A few years ago, Mr. President, while made to wait at the Israeli immigration booth at the Allenby Bridge Crossing of the Jordan Valley, I jotted on November 6, 2006, the following down deep-heartedly felt musings:

“Upon arrival at the booths of the Israeli immigration at King Hussein/Allenby Bridge at the Jordan Valley, the first challenge to one’s sanity and self-composure pops unattended and most defiantly.  Teen age, near 18 years of age, Israeli officers scattered over six to seven booths, command over the process of determining the eligibility of a visitor for admission into Historic Palestine and the occupied territories. 
“As I was questioned by a Russian-born of these teen-age officers, and as she intermittently reached to her other Ethiopian (Flasha) companion teen-age officer sharing the same booth for clarification inquiries over some details, my mind wandered, took a long trip to a recent past. Mind over body maintained full control over this most defying anomaly.
“Here two recent teen-age immigrants from far away lands to my homeland, place of birth, question and determine my eligibility, a sixty years old native, for a short visit of my homeland. 
“As the teen-ager Russian born officer continued the cross examining of the purpose of my visit, the place, persons and addresses of my destination, I did a little fast calculation as to how far back I belong to the place of birth these two alien teen-agers grilling me with absurd questions to determine if they should allow me entry.  I fast-tracked part, a small part, of my genealogy as committed to ready memory.  I began: Rajai – Rafiq – Ali – Munib – Darwish – Hussein – Yaseen – El-Masri. That fast-tracked recollection amounted to over 300 years of ancestry that I knew and at times visited their graves in my hometown in Nablus.  Compounding my irking the realization that according to an official documented Family Tree of the Masris, my family goes back to at least 600 years of uninterrupted existence in Palestine.  This, mindful of the fact that during the rule of 1400 years of Islamic Caliphate, residents of the empire were never hindered in their movements and selection of residence in the expanded realm of the Caliphate. Here I am before two teen-age recent immigrant Jewish officers screened for eligibility to enter my birthplace as a visitor.
Dear Mr. President, for two months now, I tried every possible legal channel to relate my case to and request their intervention to solving this problem.  Most disappointedly, the office of the American Consul General in Jerusalem brushed the case aside as that’s a Sovereign Israeli matter they can not do anything about it.  When I faced him, on the phone, with the fact that Israel enjoys a unique and exceptionally privileged treatment of the U.S. Government, and that Israel applies selectivity and discriminatory rules favoring Jewish Americans, the U.S. Consul General never responded.
Mr. President, I know that you could do nothing about my plight as a Palestinian American, and to that effect nothing to alleviate the plight and the enduring suffering of the hundreds of thousands, rather millions, of other Palestinians as a result of the U.S.A.’s UN-Evenhanded policies as amply highlighted in a recent report by General David Petraes, however, it is my rightful claim, Mr. President, that as a tax payer whose part of his hard labor goes in aid to Israel, and as an American who is discriminated against by the Israeli authorities, I need that part of my money back with a compounded interest stating since over 40 years.  
Rajai Masri


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