Monday, June 05, 2006

America acknowledges but doesn't stop Israel's ethnic cleansing of Americans

I've just seen this report in the Palestine Media Centre that suggests that Israel is carrying out a mini-ethnic cleansing campaign against Palestinian Americans. Not only that, it seems to be happening with the connivance of the US government. It's a long article. Here are some extracts about one case and the more general aspects.

The Israeli authorities have denied a re-entry visa to an American mother and wife, separating her from her family and a business in which she has invested a lot of money and effort since 1975, as part of a campaign targeting Palestinian Americans and restricting their free travel and movement, a fact officially acknowledged by the US Administration, which has nonetheless taken no action so far to protect its nationals....

...Palestinian Americans sent the US Consulate in Jerusalem a memorandum protesting the Israeli measures, with copies to media and human rights organizations.

They requested protection also from the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), reminding the authority that many of them came in as investors.

Immigration is still processed by the Israeli Occupying Power in the Palestinian territories, which the Jewish state occupied in 1967. It should be processed by the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Americans say......

US Administration Acknowledges Israeli ‘Obstacles’

The US Administration officially acknowledges the Israeli restrictions, but does nothing about them.

A travel warning by the US Department of State on Thursday, June 1, 2006, read: “Palestinian Americans may be subject to special restrictions. Palestinian Americans are advised to read all sections of this sheet very carefully for special regulations that may affect their travel.”

Going into details, the State Department said:

“Occasionally, the Government of Israel has declined to admit individual American citizens or groups who have expressed sympathy with the Palestinian cause, sought to meet with Palestinian officials, or intended to travel to the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. Persons who, upon arrival, seek immigration court hearings to contest decisions that they not be permitted to enter Israel may be detained for prolonged periods while waiting for such hearings to be convened.”

“Bearers of Palestinian passports or identity numbers who have become naturalized United States citizens … are subject to restrictions on movement between Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and within the West Bank and Gaza that are imposed by the Israeli Government on all Palestinians for security reasons,” the state department warned.

In the West Bank and Gaza, “Except during periods of heightened security restrictions, most U.S. citizens may enter and exit the West Bank on a U.S. passport, but only with an Israeli entry stamp placed in the passport at the port of entry. U.S. citizens who hold a Palestinian ID number or whom Israel considers to have residency status in the West Bank or Gaza are advised to please read the next section entitled ‘Palestinian Americans’ very carefully,” the travel warning added.

The travel warning cited some of the Israeli restrictions and violations of human rights:

“U.S. citizens arrested by the Israeli Security Police for security offenses, and U.S. citizens arrested in the West Bank or Gaza for criminal or security offenses may be prevented from communicating with lawyers, family members, or consular officers for lengthy periods. The U.S. Consulate General and the Embassy are often not notified of such arrests, or are not notified in a timely manner. Consular access to the arrested individual is frequently delayed. U.S. citizens have been subject to mistreatment during interrogation and pressured to sign statements in Hebrew that have not been translated. Under local law they may be detained for up to six months at a time without charges. Youths over the age of 14 have been detained and tried as adults. When access to a detained American citizen is denied or delayed, the U.S. Government formally protests the lack of consular access to the Israeli Government. The U.S. Government also will protest any mistreatment to the relevant authorities.”

Palestinian Americans Criticize Their Government

Palestinian Americans criticized their government’s inaction.

“It is strange that the US Administration officially gives in to Israeli discrimination among US citizens, dividing them into two categories,” said a Palestinian American.

“Singling Palestinian Americans out under a subtitle in a US official document” proves the helplessness of the US Administration vis-à-vis its Israeli strategic ally, he added, declining to identify himself.

Other Palestinian Americans complained of a “double-standards” US policy in comparison with their Israeli-American compatriots.

Israeli-Americans are allowed residency even in the illegal Jewish settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, they say, but travel and movement of Palestinian-Americans are banned or restricted not only in Israel, but also in their ancestral homeland in the West Bank.
It's remarkable that when they're not accusing Israel's critics of antisemitism they complain of one-sidedness. What is this American policy if not one-sided? And what is Israel's policy if not ethnic cleansing?