Act Now: Israel is trying to prevent us from visiting Palestine

Rep. Rashida Tlaib and other progressives are pushing back against Israel’s new procedures


Americans for Justice in Palestine Action

Did you know that new Israeli procedures set to be implemented next month will greatly restrict our ability to travel to the West Bank, live, work, teach, study, and reunite with family members there? They’ll even force U.S. citizens to provide Israel with incredibly intrusive information about the personal details of anyone we plan to visit in the West Bank, as well as any property our family stands to inherit. 

These procedures are meant to cut off relations between Palestinians in the West Bank and everyone in the outside world, deepen Israel’s pervasive surveillance of Palestinians, and to further dispossess Palestinian Americans of their land. 

Fortunately, some Members of Congress, led by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, are pushing back against these procedures and demanding information from the Biden administration to ensure that Israel reverses its discriminatory policies toward US citizens.

TAKE ACTION: Call & Email your Representative
& ask them to sign this Dear Colleague letter

These new Israeli procedures are even more outrageous considering that Israel desperately wants to join the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which would allow visa-free entry of Israeli citizens to the U.S.

However, this program requires that participating countries provide reciprocal, non-discriminatory treatment to U.S. citizens. Instead of ending Israel’s discriminatory policies, these new procedures would dramatically increase the discrimination it metes out to U.S. citizens based on their ethnicity, national origin, religion, and political opinions, something which even the State Department acknowledges has been a huge problem for decades! 

Rep. Tlaib’s Dear Colleague letter seeks to ensure that the U.S. complies with its own laws and refuses to allow Israel to enjoy this privilege at the same time it is ramping up its discriminatory entry policies.

TAKE ACTION today to make sure they join
this important congressional initiative.

How do we know that these procedures are discriminatory? Because they explicitly only apply to Palestinian-Americans, people wishing to visit or live with Palestinians in the West Bank, and study or teach at Palestinian universities. 

Of course, Israel will continue to allow U.S. citizens to live, work, visit, teach, or study in illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. Another example of Israeli apartheid in action!

We can’t let this stand. Let’s build political pressure by getting your Representative to oppose these discriminatory Israeli policies!

Thank you for taking action against injustice and standing for Palestine; we won’t stop until it’s free. 

Sincerely,
Americans for Justice in Palestine Action

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ENSURE ISRAEL NO LONGER DISCRIMINATES AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS

AJP Action calls on Secretary Blinken to demand Israel end the disparate treatment of American travelers as a non-negotiable condition in the bilateral relations between the two countries.

The United States has consistently provided unlimited and unconditional political, economic, and military support to Israel, in violation of international law, international humanitarian law, and the laws of the United States. No country, let alone a beneficiary of American taxpayer dollars, should get a free pass for discriminating against American citizens based on their origins and political views. This, alone, MUST immediately and unequivocally disqualify Israel from being admitted to the US Visa Waiver program.

Join us in making this demand by signing our petition!
TAKE ACTION NOW

AJP Action’s stance on Israel’s admittance to the US Visa Waiver program is clear: states that engage in egregious human rights abuses, uphold apartheid, and maintain an occupation cannot and should not participate.

In February 2022, Israel’s Coordinating Office for Government Affairs in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli Defense Ministry’s military administration responsible for issuing orders and policies concerning the entry of foreign nationals to the occupied Palestinian territories, published a 97-page mandate called “Procedure for Entry and Residence for Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Area.

Effective May 22, 2022, the mandate complicates and formalizes previous written and unwritten restrictions for entry and requirements for foreigners wanting to visit, do business, reunite and reside with their Palestinian families, work or volunteer in those parts of the occupied West Bank under Palestinian Authority (PA) civil and security administration, or study or teach at Palestinian academic institutions.

The new rules represent a clear Israeli intention to restrict, track, and trace the travel of foreign nationals to the occupied Palestinian territories, control Palestinian population growth, and keep data on the land claims of Palestinians holding foreign nationality. They blatantly differentiate between Americans of Palestinian origin, those with roots in the occupied Palestinian territories, and other Americans. In addition, they differentiate between travelers visiting Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and those visiting Jewish residents of Israeli illegal settlements there. Most notably, the new rules no longer treat the occupied West Bank as a separate geographic unit from Israel.

Israel’s record of human rights abuses, illegal annexation of lands, and the institutionalization of a system of apartheid are all contrary to the most basic of American values, let alone international law.

Take action now.
Sign AJP Action’s petition
and pass it on!

December 12, 2021
Online Film: To Treat Kids Like Me in Gaza

Screening & discussion
Sun, Dec 12, 2021, 1:00 PM CST

With severe medicine shortages and an overstretched health care system in Gaza, children in need of medical treatments can only find them outside the strip. Yet Israel’s convoluted, arbitrary permit process leaves them waiting in pain, often missing life-saving care. To Treat Kids Like Me (produced by Donkeysaddle Projects and +972 Magazine) follows the family of Mohamed Saleh and several other children in the Gaza Strip as they navigate the often Kafkaesqe process of getting permission from the Israeli army to leave the besieged strip for medical treatments that are unavailable there.

The 5th offering in DSP’s Freedom Film Series will be followed by a discussion with filmmaker Jen Marlowe and special guests:

  • Ghada Majadli: Director of the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel department for Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT); featured in To Treat Kids Like Me.
  • Mohamed Lafi: Public health professional working for the World Health Organization in the OPT, with a focus on access to health care for patients who need to seek care outside the OPT.
  • Fadi Abu Shammalah: Manager of Donkeysaddle’s Palestine Grassroots Distribution Project; has been DSP’s on-the-ground support for Mohamad Salah (who is featured in To Treat Kids Like Me)
  • Miranda Cleland: Communications Manager for Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP). DCIP documents cases like Mohamed’s where Israeli forces kill or injure Palestinian children.
  • Tickets by donation. 50% of ticket proceeds go to Palestine Grassroots Distribution Project, including Mohamad Salah’s medical care.

    Sponsored by Donkeysaddle Projects. Co-sponsored by Just Vision & Defense for Children International-Palestine.

    No To Israel Joining the Visa Waiver Program

    Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | August 27, 2021 – ​​​​The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is calling on President Joe Biden and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to reject Israel Envoy to the U.S. Gilad Erdan’s request for a U.S. Visa Waiver Program deal without explicit guarantees that Arab and Muslim Americans would be provided reciprocal travel privileges.

    Following a meeting with Secretary Mayorkas, Erdan posted on August 16 on Facebook that he expects to see “significant progress” on a U.S. visa waiver deal. Additionally, during Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit to the White House on August 27, President Biden mentioned that he would discuss with the Prime Minister how to bring Israel into the program. The lack of transparency regarding this potential deal concerns ADC and could lead to a unique exemption for Israel.

    If a deal is made without an explicit guarantee of equal treatment, Israel would become the only country participating in the Visa Waiver Program that would be allowed to discriminate against Americans due to their ethnicity or faith. None of the other 39 nations that participate in the program have been granted a similar exemption.

    The Visa Waiver Program enables most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. To join the Visa Waiver Program, the entering country must allow Americans to enter without a visa as well.

    Israel routinely refuses to allow Americans of Arab ethnicity or Muslim backgrounds to enter their country or the occupied territories it controls. According to the U.S. State Department’s website, “some U.S. citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage (including Palestinian-Americans) have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and occasionally hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints.” Additionally, “U.S. citizens have been denied entry to Israel and the West Bank for involvement in and/or expressing support on social media for the BDS movement.” Such a discriminatory practice falls well short of the intent of Visa Waiver Program participation and provides clear ground for rejection.

    In 2013, ADC and other American Arab and Muslim rights organizations defeated an attempt in the U.S. Senate that would have permitted Israel to join the Visa Waiver Program while keeping its discriminatory and restrictive immigration policies.

    June 17, 2021
    One People, Segregated IDs Premiere

    12:30 pm Central

    Join Rabet for the premiere of our latest documentary, “One People, Segregated IDs”.
    Learn more about how Israel’s apartheid policies, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, segregate Palestinians based on their ethno-national identity, issuing different types of IDs for Palestinians depending on their location, each with varying freedoms and rights.

    The event will include a panel dicussion as well as a live stream of the documentary, followed by a Q&A session on the ways in which the tiered ID system segregates Palestinians and impacts their basic human rights.

    We will be joined by the following speakers:
    Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director, Human Rights Watch (HRW)
    Maha Abdallah, International Advocacy Officer, The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

    Moderated by:
    Mayss Al Alami, Research and Advocacy, the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD)

    For more information and to attend please register here.

    Life Under Occupation: The Misery at the Heart of the Conflict

    An eviction in East Jerusalem lies at the center of a conflict that led to war between Israel and Hamas. But for millions of Palestinians, the routine indignities of occupation are part of daily life.


    Israeli soldiers firing tear gas towards Palestinian protesters in the town of Kfar Qaddum. Samar Hazboun for The New York Times

    David M. Halbfinger and Adam Rasgon, The New York Times, May 22, 2021

    JERUSALEM — Muhammad Sandouka built his home in the shadow of the Temple Mount before his second son, now 15, was born.

    They demolished it together, after Israeli authorities decided that razing it would improve views of the Old City for tourists.

    Mr. Sandouka, 42, a countertop installer, had been at work when an inspector confronted his wife with two options: Tear the house down, or the government would not only level it but also bill the Sandoukas $10,000 for its expenses.

    Such is life for Palestinians living under Israel’s occupation: always dreading the knock at the front door.

    The looming removal of six Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem set off a round of protests that helped ignite the latest war between Israel and Gaza. But to the roughly three million Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and has controlled through decades of failed peace talks, the story was exceptional only because it attracted an international spotlight.

    For the most part, they endure the frights and indignities of the Israeli occupation in obscurity.

    Even in supposedly quiet periods, when the world is not paying attention, Palestinians from all walks of life routinely experience exasperating impossibilities and petty humiliations, bureaucratic controls that force agonizing choices, and the fragility and cruelty of life under military rule, now in its second half-century.

    Underneath that quiet, pressure builds.

    If the eviction dispute in East Jerusalem struck a match, the occupation’s provocations ceaselessly pile up dry kindling. They are a constant and key driver of the conflict, giving Hamas an excuse to fire rockets or lone-wolf attackers grievances to channel into killings by knives or automobiles. And the provocations do not stop when the fighting ends.

    No homeowner welcomes a visit from the code-enforcement officer. But it’s entirely different in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians find it nearly impossible to obtain building permits and most homes were built without them: The penalty is often demolition.


    Mohammed Sandouka amid the ruins of his home in East Jerusalem. Dan Balilty for The New York Times

    Mr. Sandouka grew up just downhill from the Old City’s eastern ramparts, in the valley dividing the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives.

    At 19, he married and moved into an old addition onto his father’s house, then began expanding it. New stone walls tripled the floor area. He laid tile, hung drywall and furnished a cozy kitchen. He spent around $150,000.

    Children came, six in all. Ramadan brought picnickers to the green valley. The kids played host, delivering cold water or hot soup. His wife prepared feasts of maqluba (chicken and rice) and mansaf (lamb in yogurt sauce). He walked with his sons up to Al Aqsa, one of Islam’s holiest sites.

    Continue reading

    Progressive U.S. Lawmaker: ‘We Need to Be Able to See What’s Happening in Gaza’

    Wisconsin Democrat Rep. Mark Pocan tells Americans for Peace Now that Israeli policies funded by U.S. tax dollars form an obstacle to realizing the two-state solution


    Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) at a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2017. Credit: CHRISTOPHER ALUKA BERRY/REUTERS

    Ben Samuels, Haaretz, Apr. 22, 2021

    WASHINGTON – Rep. Mark Pocan, one of the most vocal supporters of Palestinian rights in Congress, called on the Israeli government on Wednesday to immediately allow U.S. lawmakers entry into the Gaza

    WASHINGTON – Rep. Mark Pocan, one of the most vocal supporters of Palestinian rights in Congress, called on the Israeli government on Wednesday to immediately allow U.S. lawmakers entry into the Gaza Strip.

    The Wisconsin Democrat told a webinar for Americans for Peace Now, a nonprofit whose stated aim is to help find a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that he is particularly concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Strip. He described the coastal enclave as an “open-air prison,” and lamented the conditions he says are radicalizing Gazan residents.

    Pocan decried both the general ignorance of the humanitarian crisis as well as the Israeli government for preventing U.S. lawmakers from entering Gaza. He said he is “almost obsessed” with the situation; in 2016, he, along with Reps. Hank Johnson and Dan Kildee, attempted to enter the Gaza Strip during a 2016 trip to Israel, but was denied access. The Israeli government did not give him a reason why.

    “The last member of Congress to enter Gaza was Keith Ellison more than a decade ago. That is crazy. That is completely unacceptable,” he said. “They can’t block American policymakers, especially with the friendship and assistance we give. We need to be able to see what's happening and we need to be able to share those stories.”

    February 13, 2021
    Love in the Time of Apartheid

    10:00 am CST

     

    How will many Palestinians be spending their Valentine’s Day?

    For a lot of us in the UK, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and romance; to show our affection through gifts, cards, and flowers. Or we may choose to avoid the hyper-consumerism in the Hallmark holiday, shun the ritualistic exchange of commodities, and simply spend time with those we hold dear.

    For Palestinians, however, February 14th comes as a reminder of Israel’s suffocating restrictions on their movement, cutting them off from their loved ones. A coercive matrix of ID cards, blockades, borders and prisons means many Palestinians are separated from their Valentines, simply because they are Palestinian, and live under a discriminatory system of rule amounting to the crime of apartheid.

    For those living under Israel’s brutal military occupation of their land, even the act of buying a gift is fraught with difficulty. Segregated roads, soldiers and checkpoints can make going to the shop a difficult affair.

    Don’t miss this fascinating free online talk and film screening to learn more about how many Palestinians will be spending Valentine’s Day. We’ll be joined by Palestinian journalist and filmmaker Elia Ghorbiah, as well as more speakers to be announced.

    Film: The Present by Farah Nabulsi (2020, 24′) 
    Yusef and his daughter, Yasmine, set out in the West Bank to buy his wife a gift. Between the soldiers, segregated roads and checkpoints, how easy would it be to go shopping?

    Register here to join us on Saturday 13th February, 10 am Central!

    July 27, 2020
    Pandemic and the Creative Response

    JULY 27
    Pandemic and the Creative Response: How can art pave the way for justice?

    In recent weeks, we’ve witnessed a global cry for justice in face of systemic racism. How can art be a catalyst for social change? We’ll hear from students and faculty of Dar al-Kalima as they share how art provides a social justice lens in which to critically reflect on reality while imagining new futures. Learn how the students are navigating the unique challenges and opportunities of a pandemic learning environment.

    Join our Bright Stars team and friends in Palestine for a Virtual Summer Series: Palestine During Double Lockdown.

    The series title, taken from Rev. Dr. Raheb’s latest book, speaks to the additional layer of oppression that the pandemic has inflicted on Palestinians. Hear from Bright Stars co-founder and Dar al-Kalima University President, Mitri Raheb alongside students, faculty, and scholars from the university.

    We’ll be highlighting how our friends in Palestine are unlocking hope amidst this “double lockdown.”

    Limited space available. Registration required. Free. For more information and to register, visit Bright Stars of Bethlehem.