Statement: APN Welcomes House Letter Demanding Equal Israeli Treatment of US Travelers

Americans for Peace Now welcomes a letter sent today by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), together with 19 members of the House of Representatives, urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to address the discriminatory treatment of US citizens attempting to travel to Israel and the West Bank and to assure that Israel meets the reciprocity requirement before allowing Israel to join America’s Visa Waiver Program.

The letter was sent less than a week after the new draconian Israeli government regulations regarding entry of foreign nationals into the West Bank came into effect. 

Israel’s discriminatory regulations chiefly impact American citizens of Palestinian origin. These Americans are already not afforded the same basic rights as other American passport holders when traveling to Israel and the Occupied Territories. These discriminatory practices have now been codified by the new regulations.

Until now, the US has denied Israel admission to the program due to its failure to give reciprocal treatment to US travelers. The formal implementation of Israel’s new discriminatory set of regulations regarding travel into the West Bank moves Israel further from eligibility for the Visa Waiver Program.

Americans for Peace Now’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said “we support Israel’s admission into the Visa Waiver Program, but if, and only if, Israel meets all of the requirements. Currently, it does not. Before Israeli passport holders can receive special treatment from the United States, Israel must treat all American citizens equally.”