For 48 hours I shared a small space - tucked in somewhere behind the tax free shop in terminal 1 - with around 15 Palestinians from Gaza. They had all been stopped on their way back to Gaza after visiting other Arab countries, and are being held without explanation - a few of them for as long as three months - with no or little contact with their families. Several has not been allowed back to Gaza since the summer of 2007. One had not seen his wife and 4 year-old son in two years.
For me, as a westerner, being subject to arbitrary exercise of power in this way is an exception. For them, as a people under occupation, it is an ever-present aspect of life. Despite the sharp contrast between our expectations for the future - I knew I would be sent back to the freedom of my own country in a matter of days - they were the ones who kept cheering me up, making the complete isolation from the outer world bearable with their good spirits and generosity. This is something I will never forget.