On Petition for Review from an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (D.C. No. 0090-1: A73-623-415; D.C. No. 0090-1: A73-623-416)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cowen, Circuit Judge
*Caption amended pursuant to Rule 43(c), Fed. R. App. P.
Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) May 27, 2004
BEFORE: RENDELL and COWEN, Circuit Judges and SCHWARZER *fn1, District Judge
Said Al-Fara ("Petitioner" or "Al-Fara") and Bahya Safi*fn2 petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA"), which summarily affirmed an Immigration Judge's ("IJ") decision to deny Al-Fara's applications for asylum and withholding of deportation under the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA" or "Act"). Al-Fara challenges the propriety of the BIA's summary affirmance in his case. For the following reasons, we will deny the petition for review.
The IJ found Al-Fara to be credible regarding his subjective narrative. The facts below are accordingly taken largely from his testimony.
Petitioner was born on June 24, 1947, in Khan Younis, a town located in the area known as the Gaza Strip of what was then Palestine. During the War of 1967, Israeli forces occupied the Gaza Strip, and entered Petitioner's house by force. In response, Petitioner attacked one of the Israeli soldiers with a stick. Recalling a fearful memory from the 1956 Sinai War where he had witnessed Israeli soldiers lining up and shooting a group of Palestinian youths, Al-Fara fled as the Israeli soldiers shot at him. Petitioner believed that the Israeli soldiers had come to destroy his home, and that if he remained in Gaza they would arrest and kill him in retaliation for his attack on the Israeli soldier. He escaped to Jordan.
From 1967 through 1976, Israeli soldiers approached Petitioner's parents and other family members demanding his whereabouts. Specifically in 1976, Israeli soldiers forced Al-Fara's parents from their home and demolished it. As a result of this ordeal, Al-Fara's mother became mentally ill and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where she passed away in 1991. Other relatives were killed by Israeli authorities. Petitioner's cousin, a judge in the Gaza Strip, was tortured and killed by Israeli authorities for refusing to impose unlawful judgments against Palestinian youths. According to Petitioner's testimony and an affidavit from the office of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Petitioner's cousin Essam Al-Fara was arrested during the Great Intifada in 1987 but managed to escape. Petitioner testified that Essam was tortured.
Petitioner remained in Jordan until October 1968, when Jordan agreed to issue travel documents to any Palestinian refugee willing to leave. He traveled to Kuwait, where he succeeded in receiving a sponsorship from a Kuwaiti citizen. His residence permit, however, expired in 1983 and the sponsor refused renewal. He next lived in Iraq until December 1985, but returned to Jordan to establish an importing business. Petitioner operated his business from July 1986 until December 1989.
During this period he entered the United States on several occasions for business purposes. After his business in Jordan came to a close, Al-Fara traveled to Syria, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Yugoslavia. He spent five and one-half months in Egypt, where he married his present wife in 1990.
Petitioner testified that Israeli authorities will not permit him to return, and that the Palestinian Authority is powerless. As corroborated by a letter dated March 15, 1997, from the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, the Palestinian National Authority denied his application for reunification with his family in Gaza, because they were not processing applications at the time. He does not possess a Palestinian passport, but has a traveling document from Jordan. His wife, who was also born in Khan Younis but raised in Egypt, has a traveling document from Egypt. Although he may enter Jordan, his wife cannot, and he will be asked to surrender his passport to Jordan authorities. ...