On Tuesday, March 21st, 2023, AJP Action hosted its first in-person briefing of 2023 in Congress, focused on Israel’s mistreatment of U.S. citizens. It featured experts on Israel’s COGAT regulations and the U.S. Visa Waiver Program who spoke to Israel’s discriminatory track record. The briefing also featured victims of Israel’s discrimination speak to their experience of mistreatment while trying to enter Palestine, or when moving from the West Bank to Jerusalem. This timely briefing hosted dozens of staff members and will lead to continued advocacy on the issue.
The significance of this briefing is that it comes amid Israel’s efforts toward being admitted into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. The U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of certain countries to enter the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. Israel is currently undergoing the process of entering the program. However, it maintains a track record of a lack of reciprocity (one of the top demands of entering the VWP) via its COGAT regulations which make it difficult for Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and any Americans with pro-Palestine views to enter the occupied territories of Palestine. Generally, Palestinians face tremendous challenges in obtaining travel permits from Israel, including long wait times, bureaucratic hurdles, and discriminatory policies that restrict their ability to move freely within their own country.
Last month, AJP Action launched the Israeli Discrimination Hotline to combat this exact issue. With this crucial hotline, AJP Action hopes to support Palestinian Americans, or any U.S. citizen, in navigating any challenges faced at the Israeli borders or within the occupied territories. Watch this short message from Advocacy Coordinator, Neveen Ayesh, to learn more.
If you or a loved one faces mistreatment by Israeli authorities and need support, please contact AJP Action’s Israeli Discrimination hotline by dialing (844) 939-0921 or filling out our incident form.