The US is tolerating Israel's mistreatment of US citizens of Palestinian origin, Arab-American advocates are saying. Israeli authorities have recently refused entry to several Palestinians with US passports, including an outspoken activist.
When Nerdeen Kiswani tried to cross into the West Bank at the Allenby Bridge crossing, she was interrogated for 15 hours, and then denied entry based on her"hostile behavior towards Israel."
Kiswani, a student at CUNY Staten Island and Hunter College in New York City, has crossed without much trouble in 2013 and 2014. Last month, however, Israeli border guards interrogated her about her political activism, including the involvement with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Her US passport meant nothing to the Israelis, Kiswani told RT.
"It doesn't matter to them what passport Palestinians hold
," she said.
"I think simply being a Palestinian in itself is a threat to Israel, because it challenges their narrative
," said Kiswani, who believes she was singled out because of her outspoken activism.
Palestinians not involved in activism have faced similar treatment, however. George Khoury, 70, was a deacon from San Francisco on a pilgrimage, while Habib Joudeh, 62, was a Brooklyn pharmacist headed for a family wedding. Both flew into Ben Gurion international airport last month, and had to fly back at their own expense, according to James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute.
Writing in The Hill
, Zogby blasted the US government's position on the issue, which he said amounted to quiet consent. The State Department's travel advisory page
for Israel simply notes that "Israeli authorities consider anyone who has parents or grandparents who were born or lived in the West Bank or Gaza to have a claim to a [Palestinian Authority] ID."