Valentine’s Day is about the union of two souls. But sometimes that union of true souls encounters obstacles. For Andre Pshenichnikov, who declared that he wanted to be “part of the Palestinian resistance”, the opportunity to unite with Hamas has ended in an Egyptian jail, where he may find other Islamists to love.
An Egyptian court sentenced an Israeli to two years in prison Monday, months after arresting him for sneaking into the Sinai in an attempt to enter Gaza.
Pshenichnikov, who immigrated to Israel with his family from Tadjikistan 13 years ago, caused a stir last year when he declared that he wished to renounce his Israeli citizenship and adopt Palestinian citizenship.
“I hate Zionism,” he told the Associated Press in June 2012. “I want to be part of the Palestinian resistance.”
Pshenichnikov has been a dubious romantic, pursuing the terrorist objects of his affection, no matter how many times they made it clear that they didn’t want his love.
First he tried to move to a refugee camp to transform himself into a Palestinian Arab. This plan went about as well as you would expect.
Pshenichnikov told The Associated Press. “I call for other Israelis who support the existence of a state of Palestine to do the same, to come live in the West Bank or Gaza as Palestinians.”
Pshenichnikov said he chose to live near Bethlehem in hopes of taking advantage of his fluency in Russian to guide Russian tourists in Jesus’ traditional hometown.
Residents say he was initially treated with suspicion. Many Palestinians suspected him of being an Israeli spy and Palestinian officials eventually handed him over to Israeli authorities. But Pshenichnikov remained undeterred, returning to Deheishe where was apprehended by Palestinian forces and handed over to Israel again.
Despite throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and otherwise trying to fit in, he completely failed at blending in and becoming a proper Palestinian Arab. So then he tried to sneak through Egypt to Gaza.
The Egyptian court, thankfully, overturned a previous decision to deport him and instead sentenced him to two years in jail. Twenty would have been better. But since the Egyptian judicial system is like some kind of insane circus where all the elephants are drunk and there are occasional fistfights, that may not be the last word on this story.
Meanwhile an Israeli-Arab, Ahmad Daif, who also claimed not to want to live under Israeli rule has also been jailed by Egypt.