Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gaza scans - tunnel vision

Wondering what those body scans reveal to Israeli border guards at the northern Gaza checkpoint at Erez? The naked truth about whatever you might be packing.

Once you make it through the Mad Max tunnels and place your feet inside the futuristic "backscatter" tube, you invariably are asked to take off your jacket and raise your hands high. The young border guards often reverse the conveyor belt and send your laptop crashing to the cement floor, but eventually a disembodied Israeli voice will instruct you to wait while a short blast of ultrahigh frequency radio waves tickle your front and back. They penetrate most clothing, but won't go through skin to reveal bone like x-rays do. The idea is to bounce off any illicit items or weapons a border-crosser might be trying to smuggle in.
It's quite revealing, so wear your best undies and be prepared for weird looks if you happen to have peculiarly placed piercings. Palestinians consider this type of scan intrusive and intimidating, particularly for pregnant women crossing into Israel for prenatal care. Many people object if these rather intimate scans are not immediately destroyed. Very few Palestinians use this Erez checkpoint anymore, so pressure for decorum has decreased. The press or humanitarian aid workers don't squawk about this humiliation much.

Following Israeli success with this backscatter scanning system, Heathrow airport and some British prisons are experimenting with it, and now Arizona state will follow suit at Phoenix's Sky Harbour International Airport.


balagan babe said...

Is she a bald nun, or do the scary rays go through the hair too?
This truly creeps me out

Anonymous said...

What was sinead oconnor doing at Erez crossing ????
hairless in Gaza

Anonymous said...

When I was scanned at hethrow I just assumed they were sniffing me for explosives, I didn't know they might be snicking at my privates,