Palestinian Activists Demand Israel Not Be Included In US Waiver Program

(Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), an advocacy organization, created a petition to attempt to prevent the U.S. from allowing Israel to join its Visa Waiver Program.

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on July 19, starting a trial run for the Jewish nation to adhere to the terms of the agreement for up to six weeks before being fully admitted into the program, which allows citizens of certain countries to travel in the U.S. for up to 90 days without needing a visa, according to Axios. AMP started a petition on Tuesday protesting the State Department’s decision and demanding that Israel be immediately disqualified for its alleged “discriminatory policies” against Palestinians in Gaza, according to the press release. (RELATED: ‘Completely Inappropriate: Jewish Community Blasts Trump Campaign’s Indictment Comparison To Nazi Germany)

Petitioners signed onto a letter listing five reasons that Israel does not meet the standards necessary to be included in the program, arguing that the current agreement would reinforce Israel’s “apartheid policies.”

“The MOU reinforces separate-and-unequal Israeli practices for Americans visiting or residing in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, who face no restrictions, and Palestinian-Americans with West Bank IDs visiting or living in the same territory,” the letter reads. “And by excluding the besieged Gaza Strip from the VWP, the US reinforces Israel’s illegal collective punishment and contributes to its fragmentation of Palestinians. By concurring with Israel’s apartheid policies toward US citizens in the West Bank and denying access to Gaza, the MOU may violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.”

Palestinian youths burn tires during a protest near the Israel-Gaza border east of Jabalia refugee camp, on February 23, 2023. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

Palestinian youths burn tires during a protest near the Israel-Gaza border east of Jabalia refugee camp, on February 23, 2023. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

AMP also complained that the public currently does not have access to the full MOU, saying that it was “inconceivable that the US would not make public a document that negatively impacts the rights of many US citizens.” The group also noted that the complaints listed in the letter were based on an “unverified, unofficial copy of the MOU.”

The MOU requires Israel to allow Palestinian, Iranian and Arab Americans to have access to all points of entry into Israel for the trial period before the U.S. will agree to reciprocate, according to Axios. Another point of contention was that the agreement, however, reportedly did not include points of entry into the Gaza Strip, barring U.S. citizens who live in the area from entering Israel, according to the letter.

The MOU also allegedly requires Palestinian Americans to use an Israeli app that AMP claims “compromises their security.”

“Google Play provides developer contact information and a privacy policy that links the app to Israel’s Coordinator Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a military authority governing the West Bank under martial law,” the letter reads. “The policy notifies users that their information may be accessed, including contacts and GPS tracking. The app, which has been in use for some years, has already been subject to privacy complaints. Requiring Palestinian Americans to use the app compromises their security.”

AMP and the State Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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