Jared Malsin, a 26-year-old American-Jewish journalist for a West Bank-based news agency, flew to New York today after being denied entry into Israel and detained a week ago. The Ma’an news agency, for which he was English-language news editor, said he was deported; Israel says he left voluntarily (albeit under the circumstances of being denied entry pending a court hearing). What’s agreed is that, eight days ago, Malsin—who hails from Hanover, New Hampshire, and graduated from Yale University—was detained at Ben Gurion International Airport along with his girlfriend as the two of them returned from vacationing in Prague (the girlfriend was released two days later). According to Ma’an, Malsin was interrogated over his articles and his beliefs, which are allegedly critical of Israel. Israel said he refused to cooperate.
Malsin also had slightly overstayed his tourist visa (and, clearly, his welcome). He was registered as a journalist with the Palestinian Authority; Israel had denied his request for a press card, on the grounds that he was based in the West Bank. So: although the only way Israel would allow him to access the West Bank is, presumably, via Israel, the West Bank is not Israel enough for Israel to consider someone who works there under its jurisdiction. Didn’t Joseph Heller write a novel about this?