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This Palestinian Artist Just Missed The Opening Of His Show In New York After Israel Refused To Let Him Leave

Khaled Jarrar says he does not know why he was blocked from leaving.

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This is Khaled Jarrar, 38, a popular Palestinian artist in Ramallah whose work on Palestinian life in the West Bank has been shown across the world, including Haifa, Israel. He had two exhibits planned for New York this July — and just missed the first.

Courtesy of Khaled Jarrar

Here, Jarrar poses with a soccer ball he made out of the West Bank separation wall that was part of his solo show "Whole in a Wall," showcased at Ayyam gallery in London in 2013. In June, 2013, the Al Midan Palestinian center in Haifa screened Jarrar's movie, "Infiltrators." Jarrar did not attend the Haifa showing. Israel denied him the required entry permit.

Jarrar left Ramallah on Sunday for the border crossing between Israel and Jordan, from where he planned to catch a plane to New York. To his surprise, Israeli security denied his routine exit and forced him to turn back and miss his flight.

Courtesy of Khaled Jarrar

This is Jarrar's passport with an Israeli sticker denying his exit. Next to the word "Reason" there is just a straight line.

Israel gained control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967, and has since imposed strict limits on Palestinian movement, citing security concerns and a history of terror attacks, including suicide bombings.

Jarrar told BuzzFeed he still does not know why he was barred from exiting. He said his documents were in order and he had just attended an art event in Paris in June. Israel has tightened security at all of its borders since fighting between Israel and Gaza renewed on July 8. Jarrar was one of a number of Palestinians turned back late Sunday night after six hours waiting at the border.


Jarrar had planned to attend the July 15 opening of "Here and Elsewhere," an exhibit at the New Museum featuring contemporary art from and about the Arab world, where his award-winning film, "Infiltrators" is being played.

"Infiltrators" documents Palestinians who illegally sneak into Jerusalem across the wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. Jarrar follows Palestinians seeking to visit their families in Jerusalem, to look for work, and other aspects of daily life. Since Israel built the wall after the bloody second Palestinian Intifada, some Palestinians have also illegally entered Jerusalem to attack Israeli civilians.

Jarrar has crossed from the West Bank into Jordan many times before with the right permit and no trouble. But his work has centered on continued Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement both inside and outside the Palestinian Territories.

Courtesy of Khaled Jarrar / Via

Jarrar created another art installation called "State of Palestine," to reflect Palestinian opposition to the restrictions on movement and the hope for an independent state. Last month Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiations collapsed, followed by an outbreak of violence between Israel and Gaza.


Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at

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