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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Flipping us the Israeli peace sign

There is a lot of talk about the restarted peace process and the differing opinions on how great things are in the West Bank or how dismal, depending on from which side of the fence you are looking. I'm undecided on whether the talks will go anywhere. One thing is clear. Israel is flipping us what I will euphemistically call the Israeli peace sign.

This link referenced these two items below, the US Passport and the 1951 Treaty of Friendship. The link is old, but the problem of Israel mistreating US citizens persists to this day.

The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection.


The 1951 Treaty of Friendship could explain the reason for the continual reference to an "unbreakable bond" between the US and Israel. I have tried and failed to understand, but perhaps we are obligated by contract. I wonder if we are obligated to abide by it even if they don't? Too bad it's just another agreement they don't bother to honor. I'd say we do a pretty good job- listen to Congress and look at how much we spend on them, how much intelligence we share and how many violations of international law we overlook.

“to travel therein freely, to reside at places of their choice; to enjoy liberty of conscience…and to bury their dead according to their customs”

prohibits “unlawful molestations of every kind”

guarantees U.S. citizens “the most constant protection and security.”


Now, for the reality. My father-in-law was "hassled" this week on his way out of the West Bank to Jordan by Israel. So I go online and check out what exactly the State Department has to say about our dearest friend and ally and its obligations. Essentially, Israel is supposed to treat US citizens equally and grant the right to travel freely, but don't expect it and basically there's nothing the US can do to make the situation better. Some friend!

This doesn’t sound at all like “pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection” or “to travel therein freely, to reside at places of their choice; to enjoy liberty of conscience” :

U.S. citizens are advised that all persons applying for entry to Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza are subject to security and police record checks by the Government of Israel, and may be denied entry or exit without explanation.

If you are “suspected” of being Middle Eastern or Muslim origin, look out. Just the terminology used gives you the idea that that’s your crime.

If you’re a missionary- forget it. People often make it sound like Arab countries are the only ones who don’t allow proselytizing. Wrong.

And if you’re an activist- you might as well be an Arab or a terrorist- they are synonymous in Israel.

And if you bring electronic equipment- laptops, cameras, etc, prepare to have it confiscated, probably returned, and likely damaged.

If you’re Palestinian, they won’t recognize you as a US citizen (below, possible=certain):

“It is possible that Israeli authorities would consider as Palestinian anyone who has a Palestinian identification number, was born in the West Bank or Gaza, or was born in the United States but has parents or grandparents who were born or lived in the West Bank or Gaza. Any such U.S. citizen may be required to travel to Israel using his or her PA passport, regardless of whether he or she holds U.S. citizenship. Without the PA passport, such Americans may be barred from entering or exiting Israel, the West Bank or Gaza, or they may face serious delays at the ports of entry.”

Read the US Passport and 1951 Treaty of Friendship. Dissonance.

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