(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — 'The journey didn't end with me reaching Palestine, the journey will end when Palestine is free,' Swedish human rights activist Benjamin Ladraa said in Amman on Saturday, after being denied entry into Palestine — the final step of his 5,000km journey to raise awareness on the Israeli apartheid.
Ladraa's 11-month walk to Palestine was put to an end on Thursday evening, after a 12-hour walk from Amman to the border, where Israeli forces rejected his entry to the country following six hours of interrogation.
Ladraa decided to start his walk of awareness on the unjust situation in Palestine and the Israeli occupation after a visit he made to Hebron for a concert. Since August 2017, he has crossed 13 countries, walking from Sweden's Gothenburg to his final destination: Palestine.
'It began after I met some Palestinians in Sweden; we became friends and I became interested in where they are from and what is happening in Palestine," the activist recalled.
Ladraa said that Israeli occupation forces provided two reasons for denying him entry to Palestine: the first was their claim that he intended to organise a demonstration in Nabi Saleh village, where Ahed Tamimi's family resides; the second was the Israeli forces' belief that he "wasn't telling the truth throughout his interrogation".
Being denied entry allowed him to experience the life of a Palestinian, 'since most Palestinians are not allowed to enter their country', he said.
'Monsters thrive in the dark; they shut the lights of transparency… I think this is the reason for Israel not allowing human rights activists that would bear witness and the reason for them discussing a new law that would forbid anyone from taking photos or videos of the soldiers, while they are carrying out the atrocities against the Palestinian people,' the activist said at a press conference.
The 25-year-old continued: 'I see Israel's rejection of my visit as the ultimate proof that my activism is working. I see the rejection paper they handed me as one of the finest diplomas you can get as an activist, because it means they fear your activism. To be able to make an oppressive state react to your actions means you are doing something right.'
Commenting on the normalisation of ties with Israel, he said: 'Calling for normalisation with a state that is committing human rights violations and has been doing so since its inception is the opposite of mounting pressure towards realising human rights.'
'I've learned a lot during my journey, I can take all this knowledge and experience I've gained during this year to improve my future projects and hopefully start bigger and more effective projects to continue the struggle against human rights, for freedom, peace, equality and a little nicer tomorrow for everyone,' he told the audience.