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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Israel now issuing "PA only" visas

I saw this on a 'Palestinian' blog last week, but having not seen it elsewhere I assumed it was exaggerated. Apparently, however, it is true. Israel is issuing visas to tourists at both Ben Gurion Airport and at the Allenby Bridge crossing east of Jericho that are good for entry only into the 'Palestinian territories.'
Information for travelers posted on the website of the U.S. Consulate-General in Jerusalem confirms the recent change in policy.

“Since the spring of 2009, Israeli border officials at both the Allenby border crossing and Ben Gurion Airport have begun using a new entry visa stamp that permits travel only in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas,” the Consulate-General warns. “Anyone indicating that they either have connections to the West Bank, or are planning to travel to the West Bank, may get this stamp, which does not permit them to enter into (or, in the case of Ben Gurion, return to) green-line Israel. The Consulate can do nothing to assist in getting this visa status changed; only Israeli liaison offices in the West Bank can assist -- but they rarely will. Travelers should be alert, and pay attention to which stamp they receive upon entry.”

The new visa being stamped in tourists’ passports is being criticized for unfairly restricting the movements of visitors with Palestinian relatives or friends whose first stop may be the West Bank but who intend to visit Israel as well. Many Americans of Palestinian origin but who do not have Palestinian citizenship have been turned back on arrival at Ben Gurion airport and told they can only enter from Jordan via the Allenby Bridge.

“For some time, the government of Israel has not permitted Americans with Palestinian nationality (or even, in some cases, the claim to it) to enter Israel via Ben Gurion Airport,” states the website of the U.S. Consulate. “Many are sent back to the U.S. upon arrival, though some are permitted in, but told they cannot depart Israel via Ben Gurion without special permission (which is rarely granted). Families have had to travel separately back to the United States in some cases, and some travelers have had to forfeit expensive airline tickets.”

“To save expense and time, you should travel via Allenby (and be aware of the issue of the "PA-only stamp" mentioned above). Again, this is not something the Consulate can assist with, since it is an Israeli government policy,” is the official advice.

It is not clear when or why the new visas were introduced. The Israeli Defense Ministry directed all inquiries to the Coordinator of Israeli Government Activities in the Territories. Guy Imbar, spokesman for the coordinator, said his office only handled humanitarian organizations bringing aid to the Palestinians and directed inquiries to the Israeli Interior Ministry. The Interior Ministry did not return calls for comment.
Those who complain about the policy do so on one of three bases. First, they complain that it 'violates international law.' That's nonsense. Every country has the right to allow or not allow foreign passport holders to enter. Yes, even having diplomatic relations with a country does not mean that you're required to admit all its citizens. If you think the United States admits all Israelis who wish to enter automatically, go here for an example that shows that's false.

The second argument is that it violates the 'Oslo Accords.' The 'Oslo Accords' have been violated so consistently and totally by the 'Palestinians' that it's very difficult to even make an argument that they remain in effect. Moreover, even if it does violate the 'Oslo Accords,' the aggrieved party that needs to complain is either Israel or the 'Palestinian Authority,' the two parties to the 'Oslo Accords.' An American citizen has no standing to complain about that violation - as the American consulate apparently recognizes. The 'Oslo Accords' didn't have any third party beneficiaries.

The third argument is more nuanced. It says that Israel has the right to protect its security, but if that infringes on someone else's 'rights' that's not allowed. But in light of the two paragraphs above, it's clear that argument doesn't hold water either.

Ironically, the 'Palestinians' have been pushing for their own state reichlet. If they ever - God forbid - get it, what makes them think that there won't be border crossing points between Israel and 'Palestine'? What makes them think that Israel will automatically admit anyone who has received a visa for 'Palestine'? Why on earth would Israel ever agree to do that?

The 'Palestinians' want freedom to travel within Judea and Samaria, and the Netanyahu government has given them that freedom. It cannot allow itself to be put in a situation that requires it to take apart every piece of luggage that every potential ISM sympathizer tries to bring into Israel from the 'Palestinian territories.' Telling people that if they insist on visiting places like Ramallah, Jenin and Nablus - where Israelis cannot go without an IDF uniform - they have to fly to Amman and enter through the Allenby Bridge crossing point, is not an unreasonable way to ensure that sympathizers with 'Palestinian' terrorists do not gain entry into Israel.

And now that it's on the American consulate's web site and in the media, no one can say that they haven't been put on notice.


At 10:42 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Entry into Israel is not a right. It is a privilege. And Israel has every good reason to deny entry into the country of persons who come with the intention of aiding its enemies and disrupting the existence of its citizens. We're not talking about peaceful tourists here. Jews are legendary for their hospitality to strangers but that hospitality ends when it is being turned against the Jewish State to its detriment. Thus, Israel can choose to limit to whom it extends its welcome. And even the US understands Israel is within its right to impose such a limit on any one flying into Ben Gurion airport for the purpose of seeking to enter the country.

At 3:17 AM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Let's see....

Israel is recognizing an entity that controls the palestinian and the lands they currently occupy. And is allowing access thru Israel borders of hostile peoples (to the state of israel) to travel TO the west bank (to us the world's language).

OK, Israel is not permitting guests of that area automatic entry into Israel?

Kiss my ass...


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