Israel Targets Arab-American Doctor, Seizes Medical Equipment
WASHINGTON, DC — Israel has once again singled out a U.S. citizen of Arab ethnicity for special security scrutiny and without reason seized $20,000 worth of medical supplies intended for the Palestinian population of the Occupied Territories. Dr. Sammy Hassan, Arab-American anesthesiologist, was detained and deprived of his medical equipment while passing through Israeli Airport Security with his colleagues in a delegation of international doctors. The team of doctors belongs to Cardiostart, an international non-profit medical relief organization and were traveling on a medical mission to treat Palestinian children. Dr. Hassan’s equipment, $20,000 worth of donated medicine and other supplies, remains confiscated by Israeli security personnel for unspecified ‘security reasons.’ None of the other doctors were subjected to special scrutiny or had their supplies seized.
In a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, ADC Vice-President Khalil E. Jahshan urged him to intervene personally with the Israeli government to immediately release the confiscated medical supplies. Jahshan wrote that the Bush Administration must impress upon Israel to cease and desist from targeting Arab Americans for abusive treatment at all ports of entry.
Israel’s history of systematic discrimination against Arab-American travelers is demonstrated by its continued abuses at check points and at Airport security. Security and immigration personnel routinely refuse to honor American passports held by citizens of Arab origin, and have informed hundreds of Arab Americans that they will not be allowed to leave Israel without first obtaining Palestinian travel documents. In addition, ADC and other organizations have documented dozens of cases in which Arab Americans have been detained without charge, tortured and convicted by military courts in the same abusive manner in which Palestinians living under Israeli occupation are treated.
Dr. Hassan’s case displays Israel’s persistent policy of targeting American travelers of Arab heritage for measures that are abusive and are based solely on their Arab ethinicity. ADC has repeatedly urged the State Department to ensure that Americans of Arab origin are accorded the same treatments by Israel as all other US citizens and that Israel not be allowed to single out Arab Americans for abuse.