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U.S. Welcomes Israeli Changes for Black, Palestinian Visitors

The State Department appeared pleased Monday that the Israeli government has taken steps to meet complaints that some Black and Palestinian Americans are being harassed as they try to enter Israel.

“The Israeli officials have informed us that they are instituting changes to deal with the concerns we expressed regarding treatment of some Black and Arab Americans seeking entry into Israel,” State Department deputy spokesperson Phyllis Oakley said. “We are encouraged that this problem is being addressed and we hope that it can be resolved.”

The Department had expressed “concern” both to the Israeli Embassy here and the government in Jerusalem over charges that some Palestinian Americans who were visiting relatives as well as Black Americans suspected of being Black-Hebrews have been denied entry or had their passports confiscated and were forced to post bond.

The Israel government announced Sunday that it would henceforth allow detainees to make telephone calls and to contact the U.S. Embassy. There were reports that the U.S. threatened to issue a travel advisory for Israel, although the State Department has never publicly confirmed this.

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