According to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), “The Biden Administration’s decision to admit Israel into the Visa Waiver Program explicitly condones and enables the Israeli government’s discriminatory practices towards Americans requesting entry, including hours of detainment and interrogation.”
On Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Israeli citizens will no longer have to obtain a visa to visit the U.S.
On September 8, fifteen U.S. senators urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to delay Israel’s entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program because “Israel is not expected to fully implement one system that all U.S. citizen travelers can use for purposes of visa waiver travel until May 1, 2024, well beyond the September 30, 2023 deadline for meeting program requirements.” The Senators argued that “Such a two-tiered system of entry inherently violates the Administration’s own standard for reciprocity.”
It all comes down to the sad fact that some Arab visitors enter Israel to kill Jews, as we reported last July (US Visa Waiver Deal Harbors Security Traps and Pitfalls for Israel). One of the US administration’s key conditions for ratifying the agreement is that American citizens entering Israel will receive the same treatment as Israelis entering the US. This must apply to “Palestinians” with American citizenship visiting the PA and the Gaza Strip, as well as to Arab Americans coming from countries that are hostile to Israel. The US will not put up with discrimination against its citizens due to their place of residence.
Also, Americans whose visa expires in Israel will be able to renew it if they go to another country and come back. The US is obligated to warn Israel about the planned entry of
terrorists and criminals, but Israel’s tough, no-nonsense security officials warn of the glaring loopholes such a turnstile is inviting.
But wait, there’s more: the US demands that Israel exempt from a security check “Palestinian” Americans with a VIP card issued by the Palestinian Authority. The Americans initially estimated there were 5,000 such VIPs, but a thorough examination revealed that there are at least 20,000 VIP “Palestinians” that Ramallah vouches for. Netanyahu’s government will have a hard time explaining this to its voters, some of whom might be fired on by those VIPs, God forbid.
In August we reported that Israel’s security services estimate that more than 12 thousand “Palestinian-Americans” living in the Palestinian Authority have entered Israel in recent weeks thanks to the easing of limits on their movement, as part of the effort to comply with the US visa exemption program. Israel’s security establishment believes there are tens of thousands of “Palestinians” with American citizenship living in the PA.
Or, as Tlaib put it: “The far-right Israeli government routinely discriminates against Americans seeking to enter the country, even denying myself and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar entry in 2019,” and now the Biden administration “enables further racist practices and violence towards Americans including the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh. The United States has yet to hold the Israeli government accountable.”
“The Visa Waiver Program requires that all U.S. citizens are treated equally. I have received consistent reports of discrimination against Americans attempting to enter Israel. No one should be discriminated against due to their national origin, ethnicity, or faith,” Tlaib insisted, and added: “By moving forward with this decision, the U.S. government is allowing a foreign government to discriminate against its own citizens based on protected class.”
“The Israeli government has not and will not uphold reciprocity,” she suggested.
They better not. Israel has enough Arabs roaming the highways looking for Jewish victims, it does not need to start importing new ones.
One US official told Haaretz: “In the case of American citizens who are flying in from abroad, there is an opportunity for the Israeli government to vet those individuals based on information provided in advance of the flight for Americans who are in the West Bank.”
Let’s hope so. And as to “reciprocity,” the Israeli government should commit to keeping to a minimum the number of Israeli terrorists flying to the US to murder innocent civilians there.