U.S. raps Israel on Arab-American entry

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration complained about Israel’s restrictive entry requirements for Americans of Palestinian ancestry.

"We have repeatedly told the Government of Israel that the United States expects that all American citizens to be treated equally, regardless of their national origin or other citizenship," said a statement issued Tuesday by the State Department in response to a press question. "We have let the Government of Israel know that these restrictions unfairly impact Palestinian and Arab-American travelers and are not acceptable."

Israel holds that, according to the Oslo agreements, Palestinian nationals must enter Israel and the Palestinian areas with Palestinian documents. Arab-American groups  have complained for years that Israel has extended that requirement to Americans it deems to be of Palestinian descent, whether or not the individuals have any official Palestinian status.

In recent months, there have been reports that Israel has restricted such travelers either to the Palestinian areas or to Israel, but has not allowed them to travel from one to the other. .

The State Department on Aug. 14 updated its travel advisory for Israel and the West Bank to alert Arab Americans to the difficulty.

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