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ADC and AAI Deliver Letter to Secretary Rice Regarding American Entry Into Palestinian Territories

Washington, DC | March 17, 2008 | www.adc.org | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in coalition with the Arab-American Institute (AAI) and 29 Arab American organizations have sent a letter to US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice expressing continued concern over the treatment of Americans attempting to legally enter the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Government of Israel. The letter states the signatories‘ concern regarding the ongoing burdensome bureaucratic requirements, harassment, and humiliation that Americans of Arab (and particularly Palestinian) descent often face when trying to enter Israel or the Occupied Territories. Many Americans of Palestinian descent have deep ties and family connections to the region, ties that are in jeopardy because of these procedures. 19 local ADC chapters affirmatively signed-on the letter including: ADC-Austin, ADC-Baltimore, ADC-DC Area, ADC-Greater Chicago, ADC-Philadelphia, ADC-Cleveland, ADC-Kentucky, ADC-Los Angeles, ADC-Minnesota, ADC-New Jersey, ADC-Nevada, ADC-New Orleans, ADC-New York, ADC-Orange County, ADC-San Diego, ADC-Seattle, ADC-Tucson, ADC-Pittsburgh, and ADC-Wisconsin.
ADC and AAI will hold a conference call for reporters on Wednesday, March 19 at 10:30 a.m. regarding the letter, the broader issues surrounding the difficulties our citizens face, and next steps to resolve this issue. Kareem Shora, JD, LL.M., National Executive Director of ADC, and Dr. James Zogby, President of AAI, will lead the teleconference discussion on Wednesday.
To join the conference call, please RSVP by Tuesday, March 18 at 2 pm by calling AAI at 202-429-9210, and speak with either:
Christina Zola, AAI Director of Communications
Andy Sabino, AAI Public Affairs Coordinator
BACKGROUND:
In October of 2006 ADC noted increased reports indicating Israeli discrimination against US citizens and other foreign nationals by denying them entry or re-entry into the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel. ADC began collecting information on this troubling practice; the first hand accounts helped to document and demonstrate the impact of the discriminatory practice. ADC also raised concerns with Secretary Rice; on October 11, 2006 Sec. Rice promised to “continue to do everything in my power?to ensure that all American travelers receive fair and equal treatment.”
The denials fall into two categories. The first group includes US citizens and foreign nationals, either short or long term visitors wishing to visit family or conduct business, who don‘t hold an Israeli-issued Palestinian ID entry into or residence in Palestine. The second group includes individuals who have applied for family unification, as per Israeli-defined regulations, who have been unable to gain permanent residency. The majority of this group are Palestinian ID holders petitioning for their spouse or children to become residents in the West Bank or Gaza.
ADC continues to encourage those who have been denied entry to file a report with ADC at:
https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2980&no_cache=1&sword_list[]=Entry&sword_list[]=Denial
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NOTE TO EDITORS: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non sectarian and non partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980, by former Senator James Abourezk to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States and to promote the cultural heritage of the Arabs. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.
The ADC Research Institute (ADC-RI), which was founded in 1981, is a Section 501(c)(3) educational organization that sponsors a wide range of programs on behalf of Arab Americans and of importance to all Americans. ADC-RI programs include research studies, seminars, conferences and publications that document and analyze the discrimination faced by Arab Americans in the workplace, schools, media, and governmental agencies and institutions. ADC-RI also celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Arabs.