Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

PA Only VisaWashington, DC, August 21 -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today welcomed the intervention by the US State Department describing new restrictive Israeli visas as "unacceptable." Reports suggest that the new visas, which are marked "Palestinian Authority only" and restrict access to areas Israel considers under Palestinian jurisdiction, are being issued at the Allenby Bridge crossing mainly to Palestinian and other Arab Americans. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, "Those who have received the stamp are mainly citizens of countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel, from Europe and the United States, and are mainly those who have family in the West Bank, work or study there."

The State Department has stated that, "the United States expects that all American citizens be treated equally, regardless of their national origin or other citizenship. We have let the government of Israel know that these restrictions unfairly impact Palestinian and Arab-American travelers, and are not acceptable." At a State Department briefing on August 19, spokesman Ian Kelly reiterated that, "we expect all American citizens to be treated the same regardless of their national origin. And these kinds of restrictions we consider unacceptable." He promised that the United States, "will continue to protest" the practice.

ATFP urged the United States government to continue to press Israel to end this unacceptable and discriminatory practice, and ensure that all Americans are treated equally by the Israeli authorities. ATFP President Ziad J. Asali said, "we are gratified that our government is taking a firm stance on this issue and defending the rights of Palestinian Americans to equal treatment by the Israeli government. We hope that in addition to continuing to formally and publicly object to this unfair treatment, the State Department and the rest of the Administration will be able to ensure that it stops."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017