Israel Tells Foreign Visitors to Stay in West Bank
If they’re of Arab descent, ‘Forward’ says
The Forward has a story on an Israeli policy, enacted earlier this year, in which visitors with a declared intention to visit the West Bank are given a stamp on their passport that prevents them from entering Israel proper. Catch is, the only people who’ve reported receiving the stamp—at least among American travelers—are those of Arab descent (and a few non-Arab activists from the International Solidarity Movement). After months of petitioning on the part of Arab American organizations, a State Department spokesman announced in August that “we have made it known to the Israeli government that we expect all American citizens to be treated the same regardless of national origin, and these kinds of restrictions we consider unacceptable.” Israel has responded, the Forward reports, that “visiting the West Bank does not necessarily provide the right to visit Israel and that Israel does not have to allow foreign nationals wishing to visit the Palestinian Authority to go through its territory and its airport”—though why this would apply only to ethnically Arab visitors is not addressed.