Israel & Italy block travel for Palestinians

I’m making plans to visit Italy in mid- June to attend the International Making Cities Livable Conference in Rome.  I’m excited.  I’ve never been to Italy.

Two colleagues from Gaza, an engineer and an architect, worked with me earlier this year to research and write a paper for the conference.  We submitted it, and we’re very pleased that it was accepted. We’ve been invited to present our paper to this group of academics, planners, urbanists and architects.

As an American, I can travel to Italy without first securing a Visa, so I’m busy looking for the cheap flights, cheap accommodations in Rome, and a cheap rail pass while traveling in Italy. There are many bargains.


My colleagues from Gaza must apply for a Visa from the Italian officials, and for permission to exit the Gaza Strip from the Israeli officials. A double whammy. Here’s what Italy wants:

  • Entry visa application form
  •  recent passport-size photograph
  •  valid travel document whose expiry date is three months longer than that of the visa requested
  •  return ticket (or booking) or evidence that the applicant has their own means of transport
  •  proof that the applicant has sufficient means of subsistence as required by the Directive of the Ministry of the Interior dated 1st March 2000
  •  supporting documentation in relation to the applicant’s social and professional status
  •  health insurance covering a minimum of €30,000 for emergency hospitalisation and repatriation expenses, valid throughout the Schengen area
  •  proof of accommodation (hotel booking, Declaration of hospitality, declaration whereby accommodation costs shall be borne by the person inviting)

My colleagues have complied with these onerous requirements. One was rejected by Israel, the other was rejected by Italy.

I’m traveling to Italy with a heavy heart, angry that this bureaucratic red-tape and BULLSHIT are preventing my colleagues from joining me. This presentation will not be the same without them.

I’m trying to think of ways to use my privileged status as an American to highlight this unfairness and injustice.  Any ideas?



Filed under Gaza, Israel, Occupation, Politics, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Israel & Italy block travel for Palestinians

  1. Hi Lora,
    Sorry to hear that your colleagues are having trouble traveling to Italy. It sounds like you have an interesting perspective as an American abroad. We’d love for you to share your travel experiences in Gaza on Pink Pangea ( If you’re interested, feel free to get in touch at


  2. Dear Lora
    Your latest story about your 2 co-presenters being denied visas from Gaza makes my blood boil. So sorry.
    Have you any advice on sending books (in this case children’s books) to Gaza?. Thy never arrive though sometimes parcels of toys, clothes, and school material do – about 1 out of 3 and always late. I saw a picture of a friend taking books into Gaza from Jerusalem in a red back pack when you were there.Are you still in touch with her? Could she be our courier and if so could we have a post address in Jerusalem? Abed studies hard and loves horses and his English is good already. We are having no luck in sending him the Black Stallion books, 2 patcels disappeared.
    Please let me know
    Heather (

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