by: David Harris-Gershon on April 22nd, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Israel has been told by the United States that, unless it stops discriminating against Palestinian-Americans (and Americans of Middle-Eastern descent) trying to enter the country, Israel will continue to be denied entry into its visa waiver program.
Israel would like to gain entry into the program, which grants visitors to the United States from approved countries visas of up to 90 days. However, American officials remain concerned about the high percentage of Palestinian-Americans who are refused entry into Israel.
In March, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister told U.S. officials that Israel would stop discriminating against Palestinian-Americans if the U.S. granted Israel entry into its visa waiver program. However, its seems the State Department is not interested in promises alone, but rather wants to see a pattern of concrete actions.
For years, discrimination against Palestinian-Americans entering Israel has been a main obstacle against Israel’s joining the program … The State Department has repeated this concern a number of times in recent years, including last month.
“The Department of Homeland Security and State remain concerned with the unequal treatment that Palestinian-Americans and other Americans of Middle Eastern origin experience at Israel’s border and checkpoints, and reciprocity is the most basic condition of the visa waiver program,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters at a daily briefing in March.