(Al Jazeera Online) – On his first visit to Jerusalem, Al Jazeera’s Showkat Shafi saw how daily life is completely segregated for Israelis and Palestinians.
Of all the places I wanted to visit, Palestine has always been at the top of the list. So when I got an opportunity to go there on a reporting assignment, I was very nervous.
I had heard horror stories about Israeli security checks and intense interviews, and as a result, I was anxious about the visa application process.
My travel agent, who had helped me obtain visas for Europe, Brazil and South Africa was clear; as a Kashmiri Muslim, my chances of getting an Israeli visa were slim.
Nevertheless, I travelled from Doha to New Delhi to apply.
After two days of waiting, I got a call asking me to attend an interview the next day at the Israeli embassy in New Delhi.
I was told not to carry any belongings with me. A friend accompanied me, and we stopped some 500 meters before the embassy. I gave him my phone, laptop bag, and wallet and kept 100 rupees with me.
The moment he left, a member of the security team ran towards me and told me to call him back.
Since my friend had already walked some distance and I didn’t have my phone, I had to shout until he heard me.