WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel is on a list compiled by U.S. immigration authorities of countries that might harbor terrorists.
The Department of Homeland Security list of 36 nations does not fault government policies and instead recognizes the likelihood that a suspect traveler from that country might have terrorist ties.
If a traveler from one of the countries is detained, the country’s inclusion on the list triggers a special check by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division.
The list, attached to a May 10 document from the DHS Inspector General’s office, was first reported this week by CNS News, a conservative news service.
An ICE spokeswoman, Gillian Christensen, told CNS that appearing on the list did not suggest a country backs terrorism.
"The U.S. does not and never has considered Israel to have links to terrorism, but rather they are a partner in our efforts to combat global terrorism,” Christensen said. “Countries may have been included on the list because of the backgrounds of arrestees, not because of the country’s government itself. The United States maintains close intelligence-sharing relationships with many of these countries in order to address security issues within their own borders and in our mutual pursuit of safety and security around the globe."
The list includes a number of other close U.S. allies, like Turkey, Bahrain, Morocco and Philippines, as well as nations beset by internal fighting, like Sudan and Somalia.