Tuesday, October 17, 2006

U.S. Lodges "Vigorous Protest" Over Entry Restrictions

US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones, Losing Patience (and thinking
that maybe the food at the Independence Day celebrations should have been kosher after all)

Aluf Benn writes that
The United States government has lodged a vigorous protest with Israel over its restrictions on the entry of Palestinian-Americans into the territories.
Kishkushim has previously blogged about the denial of entry to Palestinian-Americans, which hit new highs (or lows) shortly after the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. It seems that the Americans have finally had enough of Israeli foot-dragging on the matter. Although the U.S. has declared several times that it respects Israel's right to determine who may enter the country or territory controlled by it, American officials must have found it difficult to countenance the thought of some of their citizens being discriminated against at the border in this manner. The "diplomatic source" quoted by Benn as saying that the "individuals involved have been blacklisted for security reasons, based on targeted intelligence" is full of it. If we were only talking about such individuals, the U.S. would not be complaining. Certainly Israel is justified in denying entry to suspected terrorists, even those with American citizenship. But the large majority of those Palestinian-Americans being denied entry have no connection to terrorism. In fact, their investments in the local economy may some day provide alternatives to the regime of the militias (for the pessimists or realists out there, I said "one day").

ADDENDUM: My sources tell me (thanks guys!) that the embassy has complained many times previously about this issue, apparently at fairly high levels. At an October 11, 2006 keynote address delivered at the American Task Force on Palestine Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice also implicitly referred to the problem:
I realize that the continuing problems of security are also a great challenge for many Palestinian-Americans living in Gaza and the West Bank – and for so many others, including many of you, who travel there often, who work for greater tolerance and understanding, and who invest your time, and your knowledge, and indeed your capital in the Palestinian territories. People like you have a vital role to play in the Middle East, and I will continue to do everything in my power to support your good work, and to ensure that all American travelers receive fair and equal treatment.

1 comment:

davod said...

I hope that the Israeli Government lodges a vigorous protest at the latest effort to arm Abbass. But then again, maybe the government agrees with the US.