The question was raised yet again, and answered properly by Deror, but I would like to add some information:
Israel is more accessible to Palestinians than many other countries. When Wikimania was held in Alexandria, Egypt, a Palestinian citizen was denied visa by the Egyptian authorities. Many Palestinians from the West Bank have permanent entry permit to Israel. Those who don't, can apply for a permit at the offices of the Palestinian Authority (the PA sends the request to Israel). In the unlikely event that this process fails, the Palestinian participant can contact the organizers and ask them to apply for a permit on his/her behalf. Palestinians from Gaza can visit Israel, but unfortunately, the process of approving their visit is time consuming due to the fact that the Hamas government does not recognize Israel. Also, the authorities in Gaza don't always approve visits to Israel or even to the West Bank (I know that because I talked with Gazan Palestinians who came to Israel)
I personally published an announcement in Arabic on the Arabic-language Wikipedia calling upon Palestinians and citizens of Arab countries to attend Wikimania 2011. In that message I gave details about the process of obtaining a visa or an entry permit.
Of course all this is irrelevant to Palestinians and Arab people who are citizens or residents of Israel (including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights). They can visit Haifa just as a Dutch person from Amsterdam can visit Rotterdam (as Deror have already explained).
There are a lot of imaginary stories about the West Bank Barrier. I won't get into politics, because this is hardly the place for it, but the fact is that the barrier prevents ILLEGAL entry into Israel. The Green Line is a border, per Israeli and international law, and crossing it has always been subject to limitations, with the barrier or without it. Entering Israel unlawfully was unacceptable before the barrier was built just as it is today. Those who wish to enter Israel lawfully can do it today just as they always have.
I was in the organizing team of a competing candidacy for Wikimania 2011
in Barcelona and we decided to withdraw it before the jury decision.
I think that deciding Israel for Wikimania 2011 was a decision based on the
quality of the candidacy and the capacity of the organizing team.
I wish all decisions in wikimedia movement be taken based solely in the best
proposal no mater of political considerations.
I will attend Wikimania in Haifa and I hope people from all over the world
won let any political consideration to stop us from promoting free knowledge
and wikimedia projects everywhere in the world.
On Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 1:50 PM, matthew satchwell
> > Please dont hold you conference in Haifa
> > If so I will be obliged to boycott you
> > I was brought up in South Africa
> > --
> > Matthew Satchwell
> > Box 217
> > Riebeek Kasteel
> > 7307
> > 083 6610220
I will answer to the point - The answer is "YES".
All Israeli Arabs, as well as Palestinians in East Jerusalem may visit the
conference without a problem. There are no borders inside Israel.
Palestinians who live in the West Bank need a permit to cross the border. These
need be asked for in advance but it is easier to receive such a permit than to
receive a visa into Israel. Thousands of Palestianians cross the border every
day to work inside Isreal. We contacted the foreign ministry and were told that
such permits will be given to active wikipedians known to the foundation, if the
permit is requested by them enough time in advance (now is a good time to
register and request a permit).
Sent: Thu, March 31, 2011 6:03:41 PM
Subject: Wikimania-l Digest, Vol 60, Issue 2
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1. Re: Israel = apartheid (Tomer Shalev)
2. Re: Israel = apartheid (matthew satchwell)
3. Re: Israel = apartheid (Nathan)
4. Re: Israel = apartheid (Gerald A)
5. Re: Israel = apartheid (Federico Leva (Nemo))
6. Re: Israel = apartheid (matthew satchwell)
7. Re: Israel = apartheid (Austin Hair)
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 14:27:40 +0200
From: Tomer Shalev <shalev.tomer(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Israel = apartheid
To: "Wikimania general list (open subscription)"
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
You are most welcome to come to
Haifa<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haifa#Demographics>and experience a
city which is one of the last places in the middle-east
where Jews, Christians, Muslims, Bah?'?s, Druze and people from other
religious live in peace and harmony together. I would like to suggest that
you accommodate in Haifa University
and conduct your own unbiased demographic survey to challenge your axioms of
I advise you to extend your stay in Israel, and visit Nazareth and other
Arab cities in Israel, and also cities in the west bank: Jericho, Nablus,
Bethlehem and east Jerusalem. I encourage you to be impressed by the level
of freedom, education and economics of people living there, and to compare
it to the level of those living in other counties in the Middle-East and
I don't want to flame this discussion further, but as a Haifa citizen I
couldn't leave this unanswered.
On Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 1:50 PM, matthew satchwell
> Please dont hold you conference in Haifa
> If so I will be obliged to boycott you
> I was brought up in South Africa
> Matthew Satchwell
> Box 217
> Riebeek Kasteel
> 083 6610220
> Wikimania-l mailing list