Johannesburg – Speaking to the media at a press conference at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Thursday, Shashi Naidoo explained what happened when she was interrogated in Israel and denied passage into the Palestinian Territories.
The model says that the entire ordeal did not just start at the border, and that she had been warned before travelling to Israel that there may be complications. “We know now that I had been flagged before I left, but from the beginning of me walking in, I was targeted.”
Shashi went into detail about what happened when she was interrogated by Israeli officials. “I was made to sit on a chair and then I was searched. And then I went to another area, pulled aside again,” she says, adding that the situation was like “mental warfare.”
She went on to to say: “In the beginning I was actually offered a Fanta and I thought, okay this is not so bad. But then we sat down and as the interrogation went on they obviously knew who I was and what was happening but it got more and more intense, and after about two hours [of] interrogation, by the end of it I was in tears.”
The star says she was called a liar and had been accused of wanting access into Palestine to attend a BDS conference.
Showing her passport with the red stamps she received in Israel, Shashi says she was told at the border that she has been banned for 10 years. “I don’t know what travel implications this has for me travelling anywhere else, because obviously whenever you apply for any other visa they ask you have you been denied a visa by another country. So, I think this is going to have huge travel implications for me.”
A CHANGE IN PERSPECTIVE
Although she did not get the opportunity to visit the Palestinian Territories, Shashi was able to visit a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan and says that it has had a huge impact on her. “After seeing what I’ve seen I have had a massive change in perspective. Because you go and you can’t unsee the things that you’ve seen,” she said, describing the state of the camps as “shocking, saddening, and disheartening.”
The model says she encourages anyone who wants to learn more to take a trip to see one of the refugee camps or visit the Palestinian Territories if it possible for them to gain entry. “It’s never too late, and once you do see there’s no way you wouldn’t want to get involved.”